Canadian Centre for Architecture
Centre canadien d'architecture
Canadian Centre for Architecture is located in Montreal
Canadian Centre for Architecture
Location of the centre in Montreal
Location1920, rue Baile
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Coordinates45°29′27.6″N 73°34′42.8″W / 45.491000°N 73.578556°W / 45.491000; -73.578556
TypeArchitecture museum
Visitors67,666 (2011)[1]
DirectorGiovanna Borasi
Public transit access at Guy-Concordia station at Georges-Vanier station

The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA; French: Centre Canadien d'Architecture) is a museum of architecture and research centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It is located at 1920, rue Baile (1920, Baile Street), between rue Fort (Fort Street) and rue Saint-Marc (Saint-Marc Street) in what was once part of the Golden Square Mile. Today, it is considered to be located in the Shaughnessy Village neighbourhood of the borough of Ville-Marie.[2]

Phyllis Lambert is the founding director emeritus, Bruce Kuwabara is chair of the board of trustees, Giovanna Borasi is the director.[3]

The CCA contains a large library and archives, and is host to various exhibits throughout the year. It is also home to a study centre open to the general public. The CCA provides educational programs and cultural activities.

The CCA was designed and built by Peter Rose. It has an architectural garden located on the southern side of René Lévesque Boulevard. The sculpture garden was designed by architect Melvin Charney.


The CCA was founded in 1979 by Montreal architect Phyllis Lambert.[2] The purpose of the centre was to promote public awareness of the role architecture plays in society, as well as to encourage scholarly architectural research and to foster innovative design practices.[4]

The CCA was designed and constructed between 1985 and 1989 by Montreal architect Peter Rose.[2] The design of the museum incorporates the Shaughnessy House mansion, built for Thomas Shaughnessy, a Second Empire-style mansion that Lambert purchased in 1974 to prevent its demolition.[5]

The CCA received the Honor Award for Architecture from the American Institute of Architects and the Governor General's Medals in Architecture in 1992.[6]


Shaughnessy House, built in 1874

The current building, which opened in 1989, surrounds Shaughnessy House and was designed by Peter Rose, in collaboration with Phyllis Lambert and Erol Argun. The historic Shaughnessy House, located at 1923 Dorchester Street West (today René Lévesque Boulevard), was built in 1874 according to plans by William Tutin Thomas.[7] It is one of the few nineteenth-century mansions in Montreal that is accessible to the public.

The CCA building, with a surface area of roughly 12,000 square metres (130,000 sq ft), is home to exhibit halls, the Paul Desmarais Theatre, a bookstore, the library, and a study centre in the Alcan Wing. It also contains restoration laboratories and conservation offices.[8] The work of conservation and restoration of Shaughnessy House, with a floor area of over 1,900 square metres (20,000 sq ft), was carried out under the direction of Denis Saint-Louis. Also inside is the Devencore Conservatory and reception rooms.[8]

Due to its size, location and use of traditional and modern materials, combining structural aluminum with grey Montreal limestone, the CCA building's architecture blends past and present. Its landscapes, including the CCA sculpture garden facing the building on the south side of René Lévesque Boulevard, were designed according to the ecology of each location.[8] Most of the rooms at Shaughnessy House have been restored to their original 1874 state.

The "Van Horne / Shaughnessy House" was listed as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1973,[9] and as a Historical Monument of Quebec on 6 February 1974.

Collection and exhibits

The CCA has largest collections of books and artifacts touching on the built environment and certain aspects of industrial design. Within the general collections it has special collections such as those pertaining to architectural games for children, universal exhibitions and their architecture, and significant architects including Ernest Cormier, Peter Eisenman, Arthur Erickson, John Hejduk, Cedric Price, Aldo Rossi, James Stirling, and the artist Gordon Matta-Clark.

The centre mounts regular shows made up of research on thematic subjects, different aspects of its collections, and hosts touring exhibits from other museums. The centre offers tours adapted to specific groups and educational programs for children. It also has a bookstore, a concert hall, and gardens. The sculpture garden which lies across René Lévesque Boulevard offers a full scale ghost-like lower shell of the bottom part of the Shaughnessy mansion, and assorted modernistic sculptures or constructs which are developed around the theme of architecture.

The centre's research library is open to the public by appointment. It celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2009.[10]

Lectures series

Over the years, CCA has organized a variety of lectures and presentations,[11] for example by Evgeny Morozov and Johannes Grenzfurthner.

Sculpture garden

Melvin Charney's sculpture garden, in front of the CCA
CCA display in Montreal's Underground City

The mansion faces a sculpture garden by Melvin Charney on the south side of René Lévesque Boulevard. Located in between René-Lévesque Boulevard and the Ville-Marie Expressway, it is a park, Esplanade Ernest Cormier, in an area of heavy traffic and is at the edge of a cliff. The park contains a set of sculptures that depict aspects of architecture, and include a reproduction of the base of the facade and size of Shaughnessy House. The vegetation is mixed with sections of open walls. Architectural fixtures and furniture items are placed on pedestals.


The Museum is affiliated with: CMA, CHIN, and Virtual Museum of Canada.

See also


  1. ^ "Base de données 2011 - Attraits/Attractions". Tourisme Montréal. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Wagg, Susan. "Canadian Centre for Architecture/Centre Canadien d'Architecture". The Canadian Encyclopedia / The Enclopaedia in Canada. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  3. ^ Bozikowivic, Alex. "Giovanna Borasi new director of CCA". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Institutional Overview". Canadian Centre for Architecture. Archived from the original on 1 February 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  5. ^ Klein, Julia M. (19 August 2010). "Joan of Architecture Speaks". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  6. ^ WAGG, SUSAN. Rose, Peter Douglas. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011.
  7. ^ Pound, Richard W. (2005). 'Fitzhenry and Whiteside Book of Canadian Facts and Dates'. Fitzhenry and Whiteside.
  8. ^ a b c "CCA Building". Canadian Centre for Architecture. Archived from the original on 1 February 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  9. ^ "Van Horne / Shaughnessy House". Directory of Designations of National Historic Significance of Canada. Parks Canada. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Où futur et passé s'embrassent" (in French). CBC/Radio-Canada. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2009.
  11. ^ List of CCA's past lectures and events