Introduction to the Asian Architectural Archive Center
Initiated by academician Zhang Guangjun, former President of Southeast University, and Professor David Leatherbarrow, Foreign Dean of Architecture Internationalization Demonstration School of Southeast University, the Nanjing Municipal Government and Southeast University entered into an agreement to jointly support the construction of Asian Architectural Archive Center. The initial phase of its development began in January 2019, and the site, an old but now renovated building on Sipailou campus of Southeast University, covers an area of 860 square meters. The Archive premises will be further extended in the future and associated with the planned renovation and reuse of the former residences of Yang Tingbao and Tong Jun. The Archive was inaugurated on August 27th, 2022.
The Asian Architectural Archive Center is the first international architectural documentation and archive center in China. The selective collection of archival materials and the support of research topics will be based on the scholarly and professional study of architectural history and theory, considered and valued within the global academic horizon, anticipating and enriching the development of the discipline. Collection development will be guided by the Archive’s Director. All manner of pertinent documents will be archived: drawings, models, photographs, paintings, texts, correspondence, and so on. Its primary collections will include:
1) important archives and documents in the fields of architecture, urban design and landscape architecture in modern China, which are facilitated by the School and University’s existing resources in architectural history and theory, building upon the historical standing and existing advantages of the architecture faculty, researchers, and students of Southeast University.
2) materials of significant international scholars/designers and institutions. These materials will be kept in separate spaces and constitute the core of the Archive, an example of which is the Rykwert Library. It is the first acquisition of the Archive and a collection of international importance, which will lay the cornerstone for the Archive.
3) documents and archives of or from Asian countries and countries along the “Belt and Road,” including some documents from the Secretariat of the UNESCO Asian Academy for Heritage Management.
The Asian Architectural Archive Center is oriented toward architecture in China and Asia, but will build its collections, support research, and foster dissemination of knowledge globally. It upholds the values of integration in its functions, collaboration with openness in its operations, and exchanges among diverse groups. It is a facility that allows scholars to consult, copy, and transcribe materials; provides space for exhibitions and seminars; and shares knowledge on and off campus by making it accessible to the public. Through its diverse functions and extensive collections, the Archive promotes the engagement of architectural culture in the “China-Asia-Global” context, and will make great contributions to architecture, arts, humanities and education locally and nationally.
As a far-reaching project and an essential part of local and national cultural construction, the Archive will promote cultural exchange and mutual learning among civilizations. It will serve as an academic center for students and teachers of Southeast University, and scholars from at home and abroad. The continuous construction of the Archive will also contribute to Southeast University’s academic mission, and help Nanjing develop itself as an innovative city with vital international influence.