The Canadian Competitions Catalogue (CCC) is the digital and bilingual library for architecture, urban design, and landscape architecture projects designed in the context of competitions in Canada. The CCC is published by the Research Chair on Competitions and Contemporary Prac-tices in Architecture at the Université de Montréal (www.crc.umontreal.ca). Professor Jean-Pierre Chupin, Ph.D, directs the updating of this library.
The Canadian Competitions Catalogue (CCC) was created in 2002 by 3 researchers at the Laboratoire d’étude de l’architecture potentielle (www.leap.umontreal.ca ) (Jean-Pierre Chupin, Denis Bilodeau and Georges Adamczyk), in order to facilitate comparative research on contemporary architecture. In 2006, the CCC became partially accessible to the public, gradually becoming a true collective resource with few equivalents worldwide.
This vast library of projects now comprises information and documentation on over 209 of the 455 currently listed competitions, which corresponds to nearly 5,540 projects and 52,649 documents related to projects imagined and/or realized in Canada since 1945. This collective resource is regularly updated in accordance with the advancement of research projects, but its updates are more and more frequent thanks to the generosity of professional firms and competition organizers across the country.
The CCC remains firm on its principle that every project, even those that are not realized, should be considered as both a source of knowledge and new ideas. Along with this principle the CCC earned much recognition from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) in 2012. While seeking to construct the present, each project anticipates the future while reflecting on the past. The spotlight projected upon the winner of a competition is perhaps what blinds us from seeing that the non-winning projects are not merely the remains of a selection process, but represent 'potential architectures' with an equally important role in the edification of cultures and societies. Submitted to the challenge and rigour of a collective and qualitative judgement, each competition proposal seeks a better way of redefining our living environments, as a manifesto for the quality of our spaces and locales.
Within the framework of a major grant obtained in 2012 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Quebec Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche, de la Science et de la Technologie, but also thanks to funding from the Fonds Québécois de Recherche Société Culture, from the Office of Research and Development at the University of Montreal, and its Faculté de l’aménagement, the Research Chair on Competitions and Contemporary Practices in Architecture has entirely redesigned its relational and documentary database. The new infrastructure, unveiled to the public on February 2014, optimizes and systematizes the study of competitions understood as privileged experimental situations, allowing for a comparative analysis of projects and conception strategies, identifying technical innovation, and contributing to the history of Canada's built environment. The Chair's main vocation being to harness the varied expertise of the researchers at the Laboratoire d’étude de l’architecture potentielle to which it is closely affiliated, this new infrastructure confirms the Canadian leadership in the digital documentation of competitions regarding the various scales of the built environment.
The public website of the CCC offers the maximum information on competitions and projects, and uses the best of contemporary technology in terms of global positioning, visual indexing, search tools and interactive display. A specialized dynamic web-based interface for simple data consultation is now compatible with many mobile platforms, available to researchers, professionals and the greater public (with access restricted to public data). For competitions organized prior to 1995, where documents were not in digital format, the new system allows for the production of on-site digital documentation in firms or archives, which include hemispherical photographic animations of physical models (3D photography by Ortery Technologies).
Considering that in a digital library of projects, each competition is exemplary for conducting scientific comparisons – and in fact constitutes a research project in its own right – and considering, above all, that each architectural, urban planning, design, or landscaping project is a true object of research and of culture, we expect that the new infrastructure of the Canadian Competitions Catalogue will become a unparalleled scientific research resource within a few years. By allowing a cross-comparative analysis of thousands of projects, the CCC resource will grow comparable, relatively speaking, to the great databases that precipitated the dramatic evolution of knowledge in many other fields.
NB. The database, which supports the Canadian Competitions Catalogue, is constantly being updated. The chair holder of the Research Chair on Competitions and Contemporary Practices in Architecture as well as the L.E.A.P. affiliated researchers seek the collaboration of practitioners, competition organizers, and the general public in order to continue building the Canadian Com-petitions Catalogue. If you wish to provide information or documentation regarding currently undocumented Canadian competitions, please contact researchers or research assistants affiliated with the Research Chair on Competitions and Contemporary Practices in Architecture or the L.E.A.P.
Jean-Pierre Chupin, Ph.D.
Professor and director of the Research Chair on Competitions and Contemporary Practices in Architecture