The saai | Archive for Architecture and Civil Engineering is one of the most comprehensive and important architecture collections in Germany. The holdings include over 530,000 plans, drawings and sketches, 680,000 photographs, films and audio documents, 1,100 running meters of construction files, 900 models, 50 pieces of furniture and 400 running meters of journals and books.
The oldest documents date back to the 1700's. The main focus of the collection however is on the 20th century, especially its second half. The saai is home to the archives of Egon Eiermann, Otto Ernst Schweizer, Fritz Leonardt, Günter Wilhelm, Carlfried Mutschler, Rolf Gutbrod, Reinhard Gieselmann, Otto Herbert Hajek, Frei Otto and Günter Behnisch, among others.
The collection was built on a historical stock of the architecture department of the former Polytechnic School Karlsruhe (today KIT | Karlsruhe Institute of Technology). Since the 1970s, the collection has been continuously expanded with important and extensive estates of contemporary architects. Finally, in 1989, the saai was founded by decision of the state government of Baden-Württemberg.
Image: Egon Eiermann and Sep Ruf, German Pavilion at the 1958 World's Fair, Brussels.
New dual leadership for SAAI
Since April 1, 2023, Anna-Maria Meister and Joaquín Medina Warmburg have been jointly directing the saai. As dual directors, they want to strengthen the saai in three main aspects: for the "saai Archive" as a cornerstone, a collection strategy will be developed that brings new voices to the archive and illuminates existing ones with contemporary questions. With "saai Research," the archive will be further expanded as an international research center. And "saai Digital" will develop a strategy for digital estates, future restoration techniques, and conservation of diverse media in an international alliance with other archives and collections, as well as further the digitization campaign.
summer break 2023
In order to be able to answer your inquiries in the future as usual, we will devote ourselves to our internal archive inventory during August and September. We are looking forward to answering your inquiries again as of 2nd of October 2023.