The new building for the State Archive of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bavaria is located on a former factory site in the immediate vicinity of the former archive. With 34 kilometres of shelving, the archive now has more than twice its previous storage space and, in addition, a restoration workshop and rooms for visitors. The archive houses many original documents – including letters by Martin Luther, documents by popes and emperors, and numerous historically important books and paintings – protected by a passive air conditioning system.
The new building consists of two intersecting solid cubes floating above a transparent, recessed ground floor. The structure rises up from a basement plinth about a metre high along the road, which develops into a full storey height along the downward slope towards the south, and is topped with a large terrace enjoying views of the Wöhrder See lake. The composition defines a solitary, sculptural building with principal facades on all sides. It thereby confines the adjacent Zeissstrasse on the one side and the garden of the Theological Seminary on the other. Viewed from across the garden, the new archive building appears as a continuation and extension of the Theological Seminary.
Visitors enter public areas of the archive via Veilhofstrasse. From there they can reach the lecture hall, which can also be used for exhibitions. This hall presents a welcoming public frontage to the corner of Veilhof-/Zeissstrasse. The reading room faces both east and west and is located on the quiet garden side. The offices are located above, on two levels surrounding the archive areas, and provide easy access for staff to the repository. The repository areas themselves occupy four floors above the ground floor, as well as the two lower ground floors. As the first lower ground floor extends out on the slope towards the south, access is available from Zeissstrasse to the workshop and service rooms.
RESTRAINED MATERIAL PALETTE
The plinth of the reinforced steel structure is clad with reddish sandstone, forming a continuation of the existing sandstone wall and anchoring the building in its landscape context. The external walls of the archive are finished in a shiny copper facade with a subtle vertical structure. The natural metal surface will undergo continuing natural oxidisation and colour changes until it finally develops a velvety, dark brown appearance.