Flanders has its own architecture archive. On 1 January 2018, the Centre for Flemish Architecture Archives (CVAa) and the Architecture Archives of the Province of Antwerp (APA) will merge to become the Flanders Architecture Archives. The Architecture Archive will operate as the heritage department of the Flanders Architecture Institute. It will thus become a fully-fledged specialist institute for architecture, with the largest collection of architecture archives in Flanders.
The Flanders Architecture Archives is the reference point for the archives and heritage relating to architecture and urban planning in Flanders, with the immensely rich APA collection as its foundation. At the same time, the Architecture Archive has the ambition to continue the service-provision role that has been developed by the CVAa.
- Sofie De Caigny
A natural marriage. The streamlining of the provinces was the reason for the integration of the two institutions, but there has long been a desire for closer collaboration. The roots of the Flanders Architecture Archives date back to the late 1980s, when the Province of Antwerp established Architecture Archives of the Province of Antwerp. Today, the APA manages a collection that documents the history of the built environment and architectural practice from 1800 until the present day. In addition to the private archives and libraries of architects, it also preserves the cultural legacies of individuals, organisations and companies that are active in the fields of architecture, spatial and urban planning, monument preservation and interior architecture.
Since its establishment in 2003, and working under the auspices of the Flanders Architecture Institute, the CVAa has played a coordinating role for the architecture archives that were preserved outside the APA, for example in various government archives, documentation centres, research institutions, etc. The CVAa has recorded this material in a central database (www.architectuurarchieven.be) and initiated large-scale thematic projects (maquettes, the heritage of urban development and spatial planning...) that have brought new research to a wider audience.
Towards an open archive. Through the merger of the two organisations and the embedding of the Architecture Archives within the Flanders Architecture Institute, we aim to expand the existing dynamics and forge links between the spatial issues of the past, present and future. The Architecture Archives will therefore continue to focus heavily on growing the collection of architecture archives for Flanders, but also on their visibility and public accessibility.