After the conversion to digital data processing, the State government of Lower Saxony and the Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg decided in 2009 to create a joint Land Registry and document archive. Up to this point, cooperation in archiving across State boundaries had not been done before. However, the old Stade State Archive of Lower Saxony, which dates from the 1960s, did not have the space required by law for archiving the Land Registry volumes and documents of the north-east of Lower Saxony and of Hamburg. In addition, the building did not have adequate facilities to meet modern requirements for the storage of archive material. The new modern building with its clear layout structure has provided the solution.
50 kilometres of archive shelving for the Federal States of Hamburg and Lower Saxony
The new building provides the required capacity and optimal conditions for protecting the archived material; in addition, it is notable for its short routes, state-of-the-art equipment, transparency and sustainability. The new Stade State Archive is a composition of monolithic building volumes located on a mixed development site between railway tracks, industrial buildings and residential units of different sizes. The new building is understood as the first step of the future urban development in the quarter around the railway station. Its external appearance features a brick facade and windows/mullion-transom elements with dark grey aluminium profiles. The red bricks of the facade of the Stade Archive are typical of the location, thus ensuring that the building is in keeping with the general urban surroundings. Of course, brick as a material is also extremely durable. The new building is sub-divided into two building tracts – the storage building and the building in front with functions serving the public/administration and archiving services. The building tracts are served by a central concourse, which extends from the entrance area through to the storage building. The building volumes create clearly defined spaces, including the delivery yard to the west facing the industrial railway track and the large courtyard with landscaping in front of the reading rooms on the east side. The main access to the building is identified by a forecourt.
The generous entrance area with its glazed facade presents visitors with a view to the foyer on the inside and its open, main staircase. This area can also be used for exhibitions.
The ground floor also contains a reading room, which can be sub-divided and which faces towards the north to a landscaped courtyard. With its acoustically effective separating wall, which is integrated into the overall space concept, the room offers visitors quiet surroundings for studying documents. In future, the room is also intended to be used for events and lectures. The first floor accommodates additional administration and multi-functional offices and production rooms with limited access for the public. This is also where contaminated archive material is processed.
The new building is sub-divided into two building tracts – the storage building, and the building in front with functions serving the public/administration and archiving services. The building tracts are served by a central concourse, which extends from the entrance area through to the storage building. The building volumes create clearly defined spaces, including the delivery yard to the west facing the industrial railway track and the large courtyard with landscaping in front of the reading rooms on the east side. The main access to the building is identified by a forecourt.
The building part with two corridors either side of a central area, to the west of the concourse, accommodates delivery area, workshop and archive material preparation room. The workshop rooms are also used for the restoration and drying of archive material. The first floor accommodates the other functional units, including a reference library, storage rooms and a reprographics workshop for producing digital reproductions. The apartment of the in-house technician is located on the second floor.
The key part of the State Archive consists of the five-storey storage tract to the north of the site. This part of the building can be easily reached by the employees of the State Archive via the concourse, which extends from the building tracts for the public/administration and for archiving technology. The design of the storage building presented some special challenges with respect to the requirements for climate, lighting and access control.
A self-regulating constant room climate has been achieved with a passive air-conditioning system. This keeps the operating costs low and satisfies ecological criteria with respect to sustainability. In order to protect the archive material from damaging daylight and sunlight, as well as from thermal radiation, the building has no windows and access is via air locks. The surfaces of the walls and ceilings in the storage area have been left untreated in order to make full use of the supporting effect for regulating relative humidity. In order to provide sufficient space for the archive material of both States, the storage building was equipped with 50 kilometres of shelving. Of these, 20 kilometres are used by the Hamburg State Archive. These were needed for the relocation of the 21,000 Land Registry volumes and documents archived in the State Archive at Hamburg Wandsbek.