The National Archive

Schmidt Hammer Lassen architects as Architects

Function The new National Archive in Viborg is the latest extension of Denmark’s first national archive. The building is a 4,800 m2 is a research institution under the Danish Ministry of Culture. Its main function is to gather and store valuable historical material and make it accessible for posterity. The new National Archive is a public institution, though without public access. It is a closed storage building with an expression of simplicity, which does not resemble the ornate archive buildings of yore. The national archive is a simple box with the clarity and lucidity needed to achieve the optimal rationality in storing the documents and the best functionality in the handling of them.


Common elements with NGS collection store requirements The building is a state of the art archive with all the newest requirements. The building is a low energy class 2020 building, with the focus on acoustic and visually climate and air quality.


Details of area The archive is situated to the west on the site which leaves room for a possible expansion of about 50.000 running metres, which can be established without disrupting the operation of the archive. Inside, the actual archive is placed in the southern part of the building, while the handling of the documents and the staff facilities are placed in the northern part. Access for cars is done from north directly to the front of the building, which minimizes the internal traffic on the site, and with a secondary path for pedestrians and bicycles. This creates optimal conditions, as it separates soft from hard users in the periods when trucks arrive to the archive. The front entrance to the North is divided in two zones respectively for trucks with unloading of materials and parking for staff and guests.


Accommodation The layout of both the grounds and building supports an efficient logistics and logical flow. Already upon arrival the driver with the cargo has full overview of where to access and exit. The archive staff has a direct line to the archive, so if the goods already are sorted and prepared it will be a easy transaction from truck to shelve. If the goods needs to go to the first floors they will be transported through the elevator which is located inside the archive, again to ensure the climate control system.


Setting and public realm Transparency and clarity has been in focus in the disposition. There is a direct line from the entrance through to the end of the garage which creates a direct line of sight through the building. The exterior decoration of the facades is done with careful consideration of the fact that the building will be perceived by the public from the outside. The facades of the building have been unpretentiously decorated through “graphic concrete” with patterns from a graphic template imprinted in the concrete surface. The staff rooms is located to the west with direct view to the entrance hall but also in close contact with the green area outside, which has sunlight from lunchtime and throughout the afternoon.


Sustainability The new National Archive had to be sustainable, simple, modern and minimalistic. An important consideration was to build a well-tempered warehouse plus having the essence of a traditional archive building. The compact building shape helps minimize the use of energy when a stable interior climate in the archives has to be ensured.


Environmental Controls The primary function in the magazines is that documents can be stored under controlled climate conditions. To support these primary functions an analysis of how building design can help lower the level of costs was made. The building’s internal temperature is controlled via control panel in each room to ensure individual control. The combination of north-facing facade, energy efficient lighting and heavy structures ensures that the room temperature maximum exceeds 26 ° C for 100 hours per year, and 27 ° C for 25 hours year. Air quality is established by mechanical demand controlled ventilation in all staff rooms. All material used both indoors and outdoors can withstand intensive use. The emphasis on robust materials that require minimal maintenance in operation and through selected natural materials providing a healthy indoor climate.


Information on distribution The building is designed with clarity and functionality in mind. The archive is located to the south and the handling of records as well as personnel facilities to the north. A narrow passage containing other functions is wedged between the north and the south ends. The interior comes across as light and inviting. A double height archive is installed with an electronic, mobile double-decker archiving system along with a mobile shelf system on two levels, which requires only a small building volume and thus a limited use of materials and consumption of energy.


Details of access + security The new National Archive is an almost closed building – a shrine – without public access. The clean-cut shape optimally supports the functions of the building. The layout is rational and clear. The choice of quality materials both outside and inside makes the building long-lasting and robust. The compact building shape helps minimize the use of energy when a stabile interior climate in the archives has to be ensured.


Brief development + engagement with stakeholders The competition for designing the New Archive was issued by KPC Holding A/S in 2013 and Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects won the project with contractor KPC Herning, engineer Grontmij and head of operations ISS World. Already in the early stage of the brief development each consultant role was clear and the collaboration went smoothly. Hence, the brief development, the concept and the design of the new National Archive is a result of a close collaboration between architects, engineers, client, and other stakeholders. Further the basic design parameters for sustainability was implemented in the early stages. The working method was consistent with sustainability and environmental considerations in construction and incorporated from the beginning.


BIM The BIM model used for the New Archive was built up of objects that had a specific classification that referred to specific specifications and tender lists. This meant that the project was transparent for all the partners including the client, consultants and the contractor. The project was also tendered with quantities where the quantities were extracted from the BIM model. The object classifications were linked and used to visualize the extent of the work and its location within the project. Furthermore, the classification meant the client can use the model for facilities management at completion.


Viborg Landsarkiv, Provincial Archive

Graphic Concrete Ltd. as Manufacturers

The main function of the National Archive in Vibourg, Denmark is to gather and store valuable books and materials. A simple, modern, box in form, challenges of the project were a small budget and various technical aspects such as room humidity and the achievement of the right indoor temperature for documents. The biggest challenge, however, was to create a warehouse that would mean something to people.


Using a ‘graphic concrete’, the architects decided to decorate the entire facade of the building with a large bookcase-like picture. ‘We wanted to add a piece of art to express the purpose of the building,’ explains Rasmus Kierkegaard, a partner of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects. The Viborg Provincial Archives is an excellent example of how concrete can be used to highlight the purpose of the building and to create depth for the building facade. Produced by manufacturer Graphic Concrete, the concrete facade shows dots at different distanced when looking close up. But from a distance, the facade resembles a three-dimensional bookcase.


‘Ultimately, we managed to create something special from a simple building,' Kierkegaard concludes.


More from the Manufacturer:


The Graphic Concrete technology allows you to impart durable patterns and images onto precast surfaces such as facades, walls, spandrels and soundwalls. It opens up a bold wide range of design possibilities for architects, developers and precasters while providing the renowned resilience of precast concrete.


GCPro™ represents unique patterns designed by architects and designers. These patterns are exlusive, designed to match a specific project bringing the design all the way to the concrete surface.


The designer can either choose a pattern from our collection of ready-made patterns (GCCollection™) or create a unique pattern (GCPro™).

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