The practice won this commission in a design ideas competition and a team interview, and is working in collaboration with Jersey-based practice bdk Architects, engineer Ove Arup and Partners, and quantity surveyor Tilyard Jersey.
The brief includes 700m2 of archive storage for documents, artefacts and photographic material. The publicly accessible facilities will include an exhibition area, education rooms and a reading room with full electronic retrieval systems. Support areas provide bespoke space for the work of conservators and archivists.
The site is a former quarry in St Helier, with high rock faces to the north, east and south. The layout responds to the security zoning of the brief, which ranges from public (exhibition), controlled access (education and reading room), secure (staff areas) and strong rooms (the repository), allowing the creation of several outdoor spaces for the new building to overlook. We have created a small public place facing the road, Archive Place, which will be paved and planted to form a new civic space, overlooked by the exhibition area, thus giving a public face to, and a 'shop window' for, the Archive Service.
The porte-cochere announces the public entrance and way through to visitor parking and the south-facing courtyard. This is overlooked, at first-floor level, by the public reading room which is oak-panelled like a treasure box. To the north is an enclosed garden containing plants from which paper is made.
Several opportunities have been identified for collaboration with artists; for example, kiln cast glass and copper insets to the precast-concrete lawn kerb charting the chronological history of data storage.
The demanding environmental requirements to achieve bs5454 for the repository have been researched by Ove Arup and Partners and will be achieved without recourse to air-conditioning. This is possible by achieving a stable environment using heavy construction, careful location of insulation and damp-proof membranes, and low-level heating and ventilation controlled by the bms.