Tuesday, 18 August 2015


Empowering Research: 8 Extraordinary Archives Across the World
By Eric Baldwin,
Architizer, 17 August 2015.

The way we store our digital and physical artefacts is changing. Advancements in technology and big data have allowed us to rethink how we access and disseminate information, as well as the methods by which we research. Today, architecture doesn’t have to house people; designers may be equally concerned with the health, safety, and well-being of servers and machines. Look no further than the massive data centres built by Google or Microsoft: services have migrated to the internet, where the cloud has helped further engender new spatial typologies for storage. So how do we begin to understand the architecture of the modern archive?

Predicting changes in digital and physical storage is proving to be increasingly challenging. Designers are trying to tackle issues of public space, preservation, and access while anticipating how technology will drive recording methods. Many museums have begun making their collections viewable online, and the debate over print and the relevance of traditional libraries is on-going. The following collection brings together a number of different archive designs that examine the formal, spatial, and material language of storage.

1. Jiangsu Provincial Art Museum by KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten - Nanjing, China


The Jiangsu Provincial Art Museum by KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten - built for traditional Chinese art - was created in Nanjing within close proximity of the Presidential Palace.


The design includes temporary exhibition space and a permanent collection, as well as an archive that meets strict technical conservation requirements. Two interlocking u-shaped buildings make up the museum, both of which are clad in a travertine natural stone façade with narrow window indentations.

2. RMIT Design Hub by Sean Godsell Architects - Melbourne, Australia


Providing accommodation for diverse research and post-graduate programs under one roof, the RMIT Design Hub by Sean Godsell Architects was designed as a series of “warehouses.”


These open-plan spaces allow teams to tailor work environments to their individual needs. The hub also includes an exhibition space and design archive as public interfaces, both serving to facilitate high-level exchanges and forums.

3. The Wellin Museum of Art by Machado Silvetti - Clinton, New York, United States


The Wellin Museum of Art by Machado Silvetti is located on the campus of Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. It is designed as part of a new arts quad.


The new building includes galleries, admin offices, seminar rooms, and a monumental two-story glass archive hall. This “cabinet of curiosities” showcases the college’s unique collection.

4. Messner Mountain Museum Corones by Zaha Hadid Architects - South Tyrol, Italy


The Messner Mountain Museum Corones by Zaha Hadid Architects focuses on the discipline of mountaineering atop Mount Kronplatz. Fluid, interconnected volumes are carved into the mountainside, informed by the site’s topography and geography.


The museum showcases Messner’s archive, including images, objects, and tools. See how ZHA climbed to new heights with our in-depth feature on MMM Corones over here.

5. The Rothschild Foundation by Stephen Marshall Architects - United Kingdom


The Rothschild Foundation building by Stephen Marshall Architects was also created as the new home for the Waddesdon Archives.


The new scheme broadly follows the existing farm buildings on site. The courtyard, unique materials, and building grouping all maintain strong references to the site’s agricultural past.

6. Haus der Essener Geschichte by Scheidt Kasprusch Architekten - Essen, Germany


The Haus der Essener Geschichte archive by Scheidt Kasprusch Architekten was a reconstruction project that was converted into a library, admin offices, exhibition area, and storage space.


The new design was created with precision and formal organization, while the old structure was carefully handled to accommodate new functions.

7. Herbarium, Library, Art and Archives Wing by Cullinan Studio - London, United Kingdom


The Herbarium, Library, Art and Archives Wing by Cullinan Studio houses a botanic library with specimens collected for over 150 years. The new extension is a modern archive for both existing and future sample acquisitions.


The building’s materials were selected to meet the functional requirements of the highly controlled archive environment while respecting the existing context.

8. Cultural Centre Eemhuis by Neutelings Riedijk Architects - Amersfoort, Netherlands


The design of the Cultural Centre Eemhuis by Neutelings Riedijk Architects is organized as a stacking of cultural programs.


It combines a library, school for dance, music, and visual arts, an exposition centre, and a heritage archive. The archive volume hovers above the library space and forms the ceiling atop the reading and study areas.

Top image: The Messner Mountain Museum Corones. Credit: Wist Haler via Dezeen.

[Source: Architizer. Edited.]

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