International Congress on Architectural Archives

Professional  Experiences  in  a  Cultural  Diversity

International Congress on Architectural Archives

Professional  Experiences  in  a  Cultural  Diversity


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«Architectural documentation is a key element of our cultural heritage, being the testimony of how architecture has been created, built, managed, and used and is, in some cases, the only record of the existence of former structures or of un-built projects» . This statement can be extended to records produced in other areas related to the built environment (engineering, urbanism, urban design) which also fall within the remit of the Section on Architectural Records (SAR) of the International Council on Archives (ICA).

At the time of their production, the importance of documents is obvious, but there is also a need for their long-term preservation and for ongoing access to the information they contain. Whether preserved by their producers, by specialised archives, or by other institutions or services, records maintain a relevance and value related to the purpose for which they were created as well as and for other cultural purposes, scientific research, the preservation of collective memory and the protection of the rights of citizens. 

Just as the context of their creation and use varies, so architectural documents can be found in a wide variety of locations from specialised repositories to personal, business, and public services. They may be kept by their creators but also by the clients of architectural and related professionals, and by regulatory authorities to which they have been submitted. Often purely architectural collections also contain documents from other activities such as contracts, maps, or political programmes, as well as from other activities of producers that are particularly important in architectural archives.

New technologies applied to the production of documents, and their management, pose challenges in all areas of human activity. The specific characteristics of new and evolving forms of architectural documentation, their production and management, demand a particular focus on archival acquisition, preservation, access and use by future generations.

In the current global context, so diversified in terms of technological practices and organisational cultures, the Section on Architectural Records of the International Council on Archives and the Arquivo Distrital de Braga of Universidade do Minho propose this Congress with the aim of examining issues relating to the production and management of records from architecture and the built environment , their preservation, authentication, and use in the service of humanity.

The Congress will take place in Braga, Portugal, from 25 to 27 September 2019. It will bring together archivists and other professionals concerned with architectural archival heritage from around the world, with diverse cultural backgrounds, experiences and work traditions.


The Congress Programme Committee invites you to submit proposals for papers, presentations or case-studies with the aim of encouraging discussion and debate throughout each session. 

Proposals should reflect theory and practice in archival activities as they relate to the acquisition, preservation, and management of architectural records.

Without excluding any relevant approaches, the focus of proposals should be on the following topics:

• Arrangement and description (paper-based, digitised and born digital documents)

• Management of born digital architectural records (archival treatment; digital preservation)

• Digitising architectural records (standards, workflows, methodologies)

• Conservation issues (different support materials)

• Appraisal. What should we keep other than drawings?

• The place of archives in architectural heritage and sustainable development

• Access, dissemination and reproduction. Standard views. Copyright

• Big data and legal electronic architectural documents.


Roden_House, Irish Architectural Archive


Abstracts (for papers and posters) of no more than 300 words should be submitted in plain text (.txt), rich text (.rtf) or Word (.doc) via email to before 30 April 2019 (new deadline; was 31 march).

Please include complete contact information with each submission (name, institution, postal address, email) and a brief CV (no more than 200 words) for each participant. 

Presentation should not exceed 20 minutes.

The languages of the Congress will be English and Portuguese.

Communications presented at the Congress will be published electronically and deposited, in open access, in the RepositoriUM of the University of Minho.




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