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Architype completes archive for Imperial War Museums in Duxford

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The 1,240m² ‘paper store’ has been designed to Passivhaus standard and features a façade clad in perforated Cor-ten panels 

Architype has completed a paper store, designed to hold records under the care of the Imperial War Museums, at Duxford in Cambridgeshire. IWM commissioned the purpose-built store to meet its responsibilities to preserve more than 100 years’ worth of collections in suitable environmental conditions. The central repository contains more than 14,000 linear metres of IWM’s records, including a collection of artwork, photographs, letters and diaries covering the history of warfare during the last century.

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The building forms a single-storey box clad in a perforated Cor-ten façade. Oxidised steel was chosen to complement the brickwork of existing historic buildings on the site. Each ground-to-roof oxidised steel panel has been individually designed to reference every year of archived collections, from 1914 to 2019. The perforations in the panels signify the quantity of collected documentation – the years during both world wars are more heavily perforated in accordance with the volume contained.

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The team implemented a Passivhaus strategy into the store’s design. This was chosen as it offered the opportunity to use a low-energy method which also guarantees stable environmental conditions for lower running costs – allowing optimal temperature and humidity tolerances within the building to be maintained very carefully.

The paper store is the second completed Passivhaus archive for Architype (it is awaiting certification) and has achieved an airtightness figure of 0.03ach. 

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Project data 

Start on site December 2017
Completion January 2019
Gross internal floor area 1,240m²
Form of contract or procurement route Intermediate Building Contract with contractor’s design (JCT ICD 2016)
Construction cost £2.86 million
Architect Architype
Client Imperial War Museums
Structural engineer Momentum
M&E consultant E3 and Elemental Solutions
QS Avison Young
Subcontractor Rackline
Project manager Fraser Randall
Main contractor Fabrite
Annual CO2 emissions 3.83kg/m²
Predicted air tightness levels 0.03ach
Predicted energy demands 7.39kWh/m²

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Readers' comments (1)

  • It would be interesting to know how long after construction the exterior cladding photos were taken, and to see the subsequent appearance of the building after the oxidising process has stabilised.

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