The archives of architecture in France, a recent and fragile heritage


  • David Peyceré Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, Centre d’archives d’architecture contemporaine



Archives, architectural archives, architectural archives History


Archives of architecture, and more particularly archives of architects, were identified and collected in France from the 1980s onwards, as a result of an awareness accelerated throughout the 1970s by the combined effect of different factors - crisis in architecture education, institutionalisation of heritage research, controversial demolitions of certain buildings. The French Institute of Architecture (Institut français d'architecture) then became a major protagonist in this area, with its Centre of archives of architecture of the 20th century (Centre d'archives du xxe siècle) endowed with its own premises in 1989; thus, for a decade or two, it will have the role of federating the actions of associations of archives of architecture from all over the country. Growing in notoriety and volume, the management of the collection becomes progressively more difficult until the recent move to new premises (2021). The article analyses the initial causes of the valorisation of architecture archives in France, the stages of the archives centre's existence and our challenges today, as well as the current challenges of all research in architectural history.


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