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Press kit - Press release - The CCA honors the memory of Melvin Charney, 1935-2012 - Centre Canadien d’Architecture (CCA)

The CCA honors the memory of Melvin Charney, 1935-2012

Montreal, Canada

Centre Canadien d’Architecture (CCA)


Montreal, Canada, 2012-09-20 - The CCA is saddened by the passing of Melvin Charney on Monday. Over the course of his career, artist-architect Melvin Charney was involved in many projects that united the fields of art and architecture. His work took both a celebratory and critical perspective of the urban environment.

A native of Montreal, Charney studied architecture at McGill and Yale University before moving to work for different firms in Paris and New York in 1961. In 1964 he returned to Montreal to accept a position in the architectural department at the Université de Montréal. Appointed associate professor in 1966, he created and directed the Faculté d’aménagement from 1968 to 1972, and the Unité d’architecture urbaine from 1978 to 1992. He subsequently authored numerous studies in urban design and architecture and was a visiting critic at universities around the world.

His work came to international attention following his proposal for the Canadian pavilion for the Osaka World Fair in 1970. Though the proposal was not accepted, it was widely acclaimed. He soon after launched a series of photo-based paintings
: Un Dictionnaire… (1970s-2001), Le Trésor de Trois-Rivières (1975), Les maisons de la rue Sherbrooke (1976) and Room 202 (1979). He received the Prix Borduas from the government of Québec (1996), was named a Chevalier of the Ordre National du Québec (2003), Commandeur of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2006), and received an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from McGill University (2009). He was chosen to represent Canada at the Venice Biennale both in art and architecture (1986 and 2000).

The CCA exhibition
Parables and Other Allegories: The Work of Melvin Charney 1975-1990 (1991) assembled works from various public and private collections to permit a comprehensive analysis of Charney’s artistic process. He was an artist who believed that the cultural, scientific, and political spheres are experienced in their interweavings and mutual relationships.
In 1987 he began developing the CCA’s sculpture garden, a process which took two years. His other well-known public works include the prize-winning entry for the Canadian Human Rights Monument in Ottawa.

"Charney occupied a prominent place in contemporary art and architecture as a vibrant fusion of disciplines that encapsulates the essence of the urban environment. Encompassing a vast territory both physically and philosophically, his contribution was especially appreciated in France" stated longtime friend and collaborator, Phyllis Lambert, architect, Founding Director and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Centre of Architecture.

- 30 -


Media contact
  • Centre Canadien d’Architecture 
  • Isabelle Huiban, Media relations
  • ihuiban@cca.qc.ca
  • 514 939-7001 poste 2607
Press kit | 756-05 - Press release | The CCA honors the memory of Melvin Charney, 1935-2012 - Centre Canadien d’Architecture (CCA) - Event + Exhibition - Robert Burley, photographer / photographe The Canadian Centre for Architecture Garden by Melvin Charney: View of the Esplanade and the Allegorical Columns / Le jardin du Centre Canadien d’Architecture de Melvin Charney: Vue de l’esplanade et des colonnes allégoriques1990chromogenic colour print / épreuve couleur chromogène35.6 x 45.8 cmPH1990:0160Collection CCA/CCA Collection© Robert Burley
Robert Burley, photographer / photographe The Canadian Centre for Architecture Garden by Melvin Charney: View of the Esplanade and the Allegorical Columns / Le jardin du Centre Canadien d’Architecture de Melvin Charney: Vue de l’esplanade et des colonnes allégoriques1990chromogenic colour print / épreuve couleur chromogène35.6 x 45.8 cmPH1990:0160Collection CCA/CCA Collection© Robert Burley
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Press kit | 756-05 - Press release | The CCA honors the memory of Melvin Charney, 1935-2012 - Centre Canadien d’Architecture (CCA) - Event + Exhibition - Robert Burley, photographer / photographeThe Canadian Centre for Architecture Garden by Melvin Charney: View of the Obelisk-Chimney Allegorical Column showing the Arcade, the Orchard, and the Alcan Wing in the background/ Le jardin du Centre Canadien d’Architecture de Melvin Charney : Vue de la colonne allégorique l’Obélisque-cheminée montrant l’arcade, le verger et l’aile Alcan à l’arrière-plan1990chromogenic colour print / épreuve couleur chromogène37.3 x 48.3 cmPH1990:0145Collection CCA/CCA Collection© Robert Burley
Robert Burley, photographer / photographeThe Canadian Centre for Architecture Garden by Melvin Charney: View of the Obelisk-Chimney Allegorical Column showing the Arcade, the Orchard, and the Alcan Wing in the background/ Le jardin du Centre Canadien d’Architecture de Melvin Charney : Vue de la colonne allégorique l’Obélisque-cheminée montrant l’arcade, le verger et l’aile Alcan à l’arrière-plan1990chromogenic colour print / épreuve couleur chromogène37.3 x 48.3 cmPH1990:0145Collection CCA/CCA Collection© Robert Burley
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Press kit | 756-05 - Press release | The CCA honors the memory of Melvin Charney, 1935-2012 - Centre Canadien d’Architecture (CCA) - Event + Exhibition - Robert Burley, photographer / photographeThe Canadian Centre for Architecture Garden by Melvin Charney: View of the Temple-Silo Allegorical Column with Shaughnessy House in the background/ Le jardin du Centre Canadien d’Architecture de Melvin Charney :Vue de la colonne allégorique Temple-silo avec la maison Shaughnessy à l’arrière-plan1990chromogenic colour print / épreuve couleur chromogène35.5 x 44.7 cmPH1990:0159Collection CCA/CCA Collection© Robert Burley
Robert Burley, photographer / photographeThe Canadian Centre for Architecture Garden by Melvin Charney: View of the Temple-Silo Allegorical Column with Shaughnessy House in the background/ Le jardin du Centre Canadien d’Architecture de Melvin Charney :Vue de la colonne allégorique Temple-silo avec la maison Shaughnessy à l’arrière-plan1990chromogenic colour print / épreuve couleur chromogène35.5 x 44.7 cmPH1990:0159Collection CCA/CCA Collection© Robert Burley
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Press kit | 756-05 - Press release | The CCA honors the memory of Melvin Charney, 1935-2012 - Centre Canadien d’Architecture (CCA) - Event + Exhibition - Melvin CharneyCCA Garden, Column No. 4, Study / Étude pour la Colonne quatre, jardin du CCA1987Pencil on paper / Crayon sur papier27,8 x 21,6 cmDR2007:0084:015:001Collection CCA/CCA CollectionDon de Melvin Charney/Gift of Melvin Charney© Melvin Charney / SODRAC 2012
Melvin CharneyCCA Garden, Column No. 4, Study / Étude pour la Colonne quatre, jardin du CCA1987Pencil on paper / Crayon sur papier27,8 x 21,6 cmDR2007:0084:015:001Collection CCA/CCA CollectionDon de Melvin Charney/Gift of Melvin Charney© Melvin Charney / SODRAC 2012
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Press kit | 756-05 - Press release | The CCA honors the memory of Melvin Charney, 1935-2012 - Centre Canadien d’Architecture (CCA) - Event + Exhibition - Melvin CharneyCCA Garden, Study drawing /Dessin d’étude, jardin du CCA1988graphite on tracing paper with red coloured pencil / mine de plomb sur papier calque avec crayon de couleur rouge28,9 x 21,6 cmDR2007:0084:015:007Collection CCA/CCA CollectionDon de Melvin Charney/Gift of Melvin Charney© Melvin Charney / SODRAC 2012
Melvin CharneyCCA Garden, Study drawing /Dessin d’étude, jardin du CCA1988graphite on tracing paper with red coloured pencil / mine de plomb sur papier calque avec crayon de couleur rouge28,9 x 21,6 cmDR2007:0084:015:007Collection CCA/CCA CollectionDon de Melvin Charney/Gift of Melvin Charney© Melvin Charney / SODRAC 2012
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