Created in 2016 at the initiative of the Brussels-Capital Region, the CIVA Foundation brings together within a single structure the resources, knowledge and know-how of several cultural associations active in Brussels in the fields of architecture, town planning, landscape and the study of ecosystems: the Archives d’Architecture Moderne, the René Pechère Library, the Fonds pour l’architecture, the Paul Duvigneaud Centre and CIVA asbl, now dissolved.
Through its cultural project, the CIVA Foundation contributes to the development of an architectural, landscape and urban culture as a basis for facing contemporary challenges, with special emphasis on Brussels.
In successfully fulfilling its missions and addressing a wide public (adults and children, students, researchers, architects, landscapers, garden and nature lovers, politicians, etc.), the CIVA Foundation organises numerous events and activities at various locations, including temporary and permanent exhibitions, conferences, debates and exchanges of opinion, educational activities. It also makes available to the general public exceptional archives (architects’ and landscapers’ documents: plans, sketches, models, furniture, etc.) and libraries containing almost 40,000 works and journals on architecture, town planning, the history of towns and cities, landscapes, gardens and urban ecology.
These activities and materials are designed to arouse the curiosity and interest of all in our living environment, whether built or living.
The CIVA Foundation is organised into the following departments:
The CIVA’s Modern Architecture Department consists of collections assembled since 1960 by the AAM that has preserved and saved from destruction hundreds of thousands of archive documents to constitute one of Europe’s largest collections.
This collection, which passed to the CIVA Foundation in 2016, consists of plans, drawings, decorative objects, models and also a collection of architects’ furniture.
It includes works by Jos Bascourt, Ernest Blérot, Fernand Bodson, Victor Bourgeois, Renaat Braem, Fernand, Gaston and Maxime Brunfaut, Louis Herman De Koninck, Albert and Alexis Dumont, Jean-Jules Eggericx, Lucien François, Paul Hankar, Paul Hamesse, Georges Hobé, Victor Horta, Léon Krier, Henry Lacoste, Robert Mallet-Stevens, Paul-Amaury Michel, Antoine Pompe, Le Corbusier and Henri van de Velde.
We also house special collections, such as the stage costumes of the dancer Akarova, the glass plates of the photographer Willy Kessels and the Blaton company archives.
The department also offers:
• A documentation centre with biographies, press and journal articles referenced per architect and theme.
• An image library with thousands of old prints and negatives, black and white photographs, ektachromes and scans of the principal documents contained in the various archives collections.
• A library containing some 30,000 works, antiquarian and recent, many collections of rare plates from Belgium and abroad and an exceptional collection of journals on architecture, town planning and the applied arts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
To ensure that our collections are seen by as many people as possible we loan our documents in Belgium and abroad, regularly organise exhibitions and publish books.
Since 1988 and 1991 respectively, the René Pechère Library and the Paul Duvigneaud Centre have been welcoming in Brussels lovers of garden art, landscape architecture and urban ecosystems. Their resources have now been transferred to the CIVA Foundation’s Gardens, Landscapes and Urban Ecosystems Department.
The result is a specialised documentation centre that provides visitors with a unique resource of almost 15,000 references in many languages covering more than four centuries of production. Its library has numerous international publications (books and journals) while the extensive archive section (including the René Pechère and Jules Buyssens collections and the IFLA archives) is notable for the variety of supports available to researchers: written archives, original plans, photographs, models, audio and audiovisual documents for which the department applies the most reliable conservation methods and technology.
The Gardens, Landscapes and Urban Ecosystems Department also seeks to be an active cultural centre. In organising original exhibitions of historical or contemporary content, garden visits, literary prizes, conferences and other events the department helps draw attention to its collections and promote garden art and landscape architecture as a mode of artistic, social and cultural expression as well as encourage the study of urban ecosystems.
Finally, the CIVA Foundation’s Gardens, Landscapes and Urban Ecosystems Department has inherited a digital catalogue of its collections of books and journals created in 1996. Every year this ergonomic site is enriched with new content and modes of consultation. You can access our catalogue online.
The CIVA Foundation’s Education Department (formerly part of the Fonds pour l’Architecture) aims to make young people more aware of architecture, the patrimony, the city and all the arts that touch upon the built environment. It organises a variety of activities for children, whether individually or in groups, schools, youth associations and families:
• Interactive visits for young people and guided visits for families of the permanent exhibition La Cité des enfants and hundreds of temporary exhibitions, at the CIVA Foundation, the Atomium and the ADAM (Art & Design Atomium Museum), devoted to architecture, town planning and design.
• Guided tour of the streets of Brussels (3-16 years)
• Architects City projects (visiting schools to talk on subjects linked to the immediate environment of the children: classroom, playground, local area).
• Archi’didactiques Days (one-day introduction to architecture on selected themes)
• Creative workshops
• Courses for children during school holidays (from 4 years of age)
• Birthday parties (from 6 years of age)
The Education Department also has a number of teaching aids (game booklets, teaching files for teachers, etc.) which allow children to discover in a fun and lively way certain temporary exhibitions at the CIVA Foundation, the Atomium and the ADAM and thereby awaken their curiosity and improve their powers of observation.
A fun but educational approach to make the public more aware of architecture and the city, an inexhaustible heritage that is fascinating to contemplate and rewarding to investigate.