The collection was compiled by the University Archives staff to illustrate the construction of Simon Fraser University.
The history of Simon Fraser University is reflected in its world-renowned architecture. Located atop Burnaby Mountain, SFU's design was the result of a competition held in 1963 by Dr. Gordon Shrum, the newly-appointed Chancellor of the University. The goal of the competition was to produce five winners. One architect would be awarded first prize for the overall design of SFU, while four other architects would each be invited to build a section of the University under the supervision of the winner. All entries were limited to applicants from British Columbia.
The informal guidelines for SFU's design consisted of a directive from Dr. Shrum entitled, "Notes from the Chancellor," which was distributed to the applicants. In this directive, Dr. Shrum noted many of the features that he felt were essential to the new university based upon his previous experience at the University of British Columbia. Among his recommendations were that students should be able to move from one part of the university to another without going outside, and that the large lecture theaters should be grouped together rather than scattered over the whole campus. Perhaps the most important of his criteria was that SFU should appear in 1965 essentially as it would look in 1995. In other words, it should look like a finished university, but also be designed for expansion. The design chosen was that of a young UBC architecture professor, Arthur Erickson, and his colleague Geoffrey Massey. The four other winners were William R. Rhone and Randle Iredale; Zoltan Kiss; Duncan McNab, Harry Lee, and David Logan; and Robert F. Harrison. The Erickson and Massey design had been the unanimous choice of the judges, and had met all the requirements that Shrum had outlined in his memo.
The collection consists of photographic prints and contact sheets that illustrate the physical development of SFU including site clearance, excavation, the construction of individual buildings, and completed buildings and interiors. There are a number of aerial photographs. The collection also includes photographs of the University's opening ceremonies and the installation of Dr. Shrum as Chancellor and Patrick McTaggart-Cowan as President.