More than 4000 metres of archive boxes full of specifications, plans, photos and letters, an extensive library with books and journals from Belgium and abroad, drawers overflowing with colourful plans, a floor full of mock-ups, prototypes and models … Welcome to the collection of the Flanders Architecture Institute!
The collection is an inexhaustible source of research material for anyone interested in the history of architecture, urban planning and the building industry in Flanders. You will find information on all aspects of the architecture and design practice, from thinking about urban planning policy and design visions to the most technical project details. The plans, photographs and models are unique witnesses to more than a hundred years of designing and building in Flanders. Discover the collection via the collection highlights.
The archives and collections of architects and other organizations form the backbone of the collection of the Flanders Architecture Institute. But there’s more. The collection consists of a number of subcollections with their own history and usage possibilities.
The collection of the VAi goes back to the late 1980s, when the Province of Antwerp established the Architectural Archives of the Province of Antwerp (APA).
During a construction project, an architectural office produces a multitude of sketches, plans, drawings, models and designs as well as emails and letters, specifications, etc. The office builds up a library with documentation, takes care of its communication, takes on engagements in education and the cultural world, etc. All these activities lead to an archive with a range of source material for research, publications and exhibitions.
The VAi safeguards these archives for the future and further expands the collection. Among the archives that have found their way into our collection are those of Eduard Van Steenbergen, AWG (bOb Van Reeth), Jo Crepain, Jos Smolderen, Bataille & Ibens, Christian Kieckens and Léon Stynen. However, we do not only collect archives of well-known leading architects, but also acquire archives with a broad perspective in order to arrive at a balanced documentation of the history of Flemish architecture. Besides archives of architects, the collection also includes archives of researchers, construction companies, consultancies and associations.
Books, theses, journals and other publications document the architectural and urban-planning historiography, the building practice and the development of architectural theories in Belgium. The library of the Flanders Architecture Institute consists of about 5000 books and almost 300 different journal titles. Many of the titles come from the archives in the collection.
The archives also include catalogues and leaflets of manufacturers and sellers of building materials, furniture, lighting, etc. Besides historical product information, these promotional publications also provide descriptions and explanations of contemporary realizations. Given that they conveyed the image of a company, their design often received careful attention. Some specimens are real gems.
The series of advertising leaflets and catalogues in our collection is endless. Only a small part of it is accessible via a list. Volunteers and enthusiasts who want to lend a hand are more than welcome!
Photos identify, study and document buildings. They register the built environment and record an evolving, transient or bygone reality. Visual material occupies an important place in the collection of the Flanders Architecture Institute. The material comprises negatives, slides, prints and films, both in black and white and in colour.
The rich collection of models of the Flanders Architecture Institute contains more than 300 objects. It consists of different types of models from 1920 to the present day, on different scales and made with different techniques and materials.
Models are an important tool for architects during the design and construction process, while for laypersons they render designs more readable. The reduced three-dimensional world is easy to grasp, recognizable and often more accessible than a drawing. As a heritage object, they have a distinct documentary, cultural-historical and aesthetic value.to collection highlight model