Dalhousie Architectural Press began as Tech Press at the Technical University of Nova Scotia in the mid-1980s, publishing regional and international development studies, exhibition catalogues, and monographs on significant Halifax landmarks.
The Press was recreated as TUNS Press in 1994 with the publication of a monograph on the work of John and Patricia Patkau. It arose out of a vision to achieve two objectives: to bring Canadian architecture into the general architectural discourse and to document leading works from the viewpoint of the design process and the student of architecture. The result is a series of monographs on the work of leading Canadian architects, which offers clear documentation of significant projects, using plans, sections, elevations, and key images to make them accessible for study.
The Press did not set out to be a commercial undertaking serving a general market; this role has been well-inhabited by commercial publication enterprises. Rather, our publications have aimed to discover the significance of architectural works, guided by an intuition of their quality. To articulate that intuition brings it to the realm of discourse and advances the range of architectural communication. This goal necessitates a fundamental and growing theoretical platform. For the Press, two planks of this platform are the process of design and the study of architecture. In this sense, the Press is a scholarly undertaking, one which allows diverse contributions and debated positions.
The inherent challenges and practical implications of this position are not difficult to imagine. To search for what is emerging, rather than what is already in public display, requires close and constant observation and familiarity with emerging practices. Our publications on the Patkaus and on Brian MacKay-Lyons were the first studies of practices that subsequently received much wider exposure. These early monographs have a degree of elegance, depth, and intensity that continue to guide us in our publishing program.
As we move into the next decade, we will continue our focus on documenting works of architecture from the perspective of the discipline, as distinct from the viewpoint of the general reader. This distinction, while subtle, has served the Press well and guarded it from following commercial market trends in its choice of topics and the design of its publications. While we continue to follow our founding vision, we have broadened the scope of the Press to include significant works and ideas in Canadian architectural history, and thematic investigations into global architectural culture. In this way, we aim to preserve and nurture the distinct identity of the Press as we meet future challenges and opportunities.
26 March 2016