Restoring and converting a listed heritage structure for use as an archive and genealogy centre provided unique design challenges. The specialised requirements of archive storage and management would compromise the heritage fabric of the original building so these have been designed as an extension to it.
Although built to provide town library facilities in the early 20th century, the library required careful conversion to satisfy the programme requirements of reception, research, storage, and administration. This has been achieved without compromising the heritage qualities of the building.
The extension is required to provide archive storage, work areas and secure management of the archival material in controlled climatic conditions. In a manner that is a clear expression of function, current design and technology, the extension adds to the existing building in a complimentary way that enhances its architectural qualities. The planning provides for secure retrieval of required archival material and controlled research and management of it.
Key responsibilities of the Architectus design team have been to:
- Provide for the specialised requirements of genealogy and archival material storage, security, retrieval and management Extend the complex in a manner that retains the visual primacy of the Carnegie Building, addresses the historic streetscape and reflects the innovative spirit that produced Thames buildings like the Carnegie
- Design an archive to current international standards including compliance with ASHRAE standards as developed for the Smithsonian Institute