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contents icamprint 02 | a letter from the president | editorial |
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a letter from the president

by Dietmar Steiner, president (2007)
It is my privilege to welcome you to the second issue of icamprint. To be published twice annually, it is not only to carry subject matter key to icam but also to accompany and document the positions held by and developments of its members. Providing the impetus to have published this journal to a new professional standard, and deserving icam news with it, was the achievement of Michael Snodin, whose predecessor I am honoured to have become in the function of icam president since the elections at the General assembly in Athens in 2006. There was no internal necessity for a change of president; following his retirement from the V&A Michael no longer saw himself as being in a position to fill the post in a professional capacity. We all owe him our gratitude for his achievements as president of icam, and look forward to his continued active support and valuable contributions.

The focus of this issue of icamprint is on the 'market' for private archives. After all, collecting and managing the documentation of architecture history to conform to academic and scientific standards is a complex business, and a core task for most icam members. In this context, whether or not the 'originals' by star architects have an artistic value on the market is only superficially a decisive issue. If one considers the lengths taken by the custodian's of Le Corbusier's estate to secure a suitable new home for what is without doubt a painting of artistic note, and so a market value and with it a place in an art history context, then it is worth waiting to see the place conceded on the art market one day to project-related sketches and drawings by contemporary star architects. The whole history of the conception and realisation of important works of architecture within a context of culture history ought to feature more prominently in the collection policy of icam members to ensure its suitability for research purposes. It remains to be seen what price is attributed to these comprehensive documents, these convolutes, in the competition between private collectors.
This notwithstanding, the 'market' for collecting is just as crucial to icam members as the continuing debate on 'originals', and safeguarding them in times of digital architecture production.
icamprint will focus increasingly on these and related issues, opening the discussion to all of the member institutions, to develop into an indispensable medium providing orientation on key issues for all icam members.