La Selva County Archive

An urban building, an exercise in integration

The challenge of this project lies in inserting the structure of a facility like an archive into the urban fabric of a historical town center of low homes and narrow streets. The decision to put the County Archive within the existing urban fabric of Santa Coloma de Farners was a result of the desire to bring value to this activity, which is normally located in suburban areas, by giving it a privileged spot, visible and accessible, integrating it into the life of the town. This location, however, isn’t only meant to house the activity of the archive, it also aims to showcase it and invite a more public use of the building.

Also taking into account that two-thirds of this type of building is used for document storage, a function that requires closed spaces that are protected from the outside and nearly hermetic, putting such an opaque building on this highly urban corner requires an adaptation to the existing structures that converged in a decision on how to design the façade and, on the other hand, a clear separation of uses that led to the creation of an open, public ground floor.

The roof starts by enveloping the third and final floor, which sits back from the façade. It disappears. So, the ceramic wall covering between the three lower framework sections, the true façade, adapts to the height of the neighboring buildings, sacrificing part of its possible height.

This adaptation becomes clearer when the volume maintains the alignment in contact with the neighboring structure (at Carrer del Centre 1). This realignment, at the same time, provides a solution on Carrer Hospital, which the façade of the archive looks onto. This section of the wall also reflects the rhythm of openings on the neighboring building, creating a transition between architecture on two different scales.

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Start Date 12/2006
End Date 11/03/2015
Title La Selva County Archive
Mission Pre-project, Preliminary project, Executive project, Side management
Typology New Construction
Location Santa Coloma de Farners, Girona
Area 1,570 m2
Developer Santa Coloma de Farners City Council
Budget €2,702,276 (PEM)
Architects BOPBAA, Eva Serrats
Collaborators Laura López (project), Soledad Armada (project), Stefan Kalbarch (project), BOMA S.L. (structure), AJ Enginyeria S.L. (systems)

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