The Archive

The Archive project image 1

The Archive is located in the former industrial city of Dortmund, Germany. The project establishes culture and heritage as the key drivers for change in the local economy following the decline of the coal and steel industries. The Archive inhabits a network of abandoned WW2 tunnels below a local park; the existing air-vents above the park and around the city are the only indication of their existence. The archival material is a collection of individual time capsules holding artefacts belonging to local residents.

The Archive project image 2

The entrance building houses the objects from four time capsules at a time. The capsules are periodically brought to the surface to be displayed, before being returned to the underground archive. The panelled facade includes twelve motifs, which mirror the ornamental stucco decorations featured on the existing buildings at the perimeter of the site. The ornamental details are incorporated into concrete panels, with the outline subtracted from the surface. Behind the concrete facade is a glass curtain wall and roof structure.

The Archive project image 3

The existing air-vents provide fresh air as well as acting as lightwells, providing natural light down into the archive's circulation areas. Detailed exploration of light diffusion for these lightwells sought to manipulate the light intensity and shadows to animate the space. In order to test various forms and materials, 1:50 maquettes were made using polished and rough acrylic, as well as mirrors.