cepezed and cepezedinterieur have recently designed the 'Depot Amsterdam Noord,' a new repository for the capital's Stadsarchief, the city's archives. The depot almost doubles the existing archive facilities and is completely energy neutral.
With a gross floor area of 2,665 m2 and 45 linear kilometers of shelf space, Depot Amsterdam Noord contains all municipal archives from 1811, when Napoleon introduced the Civil Registry. The pieces from before that time, as well as posters, prints, photos & film material, remain in the monumental De Bazel building in the center of Amsterdam. De Bazel also remains the public center, with room for research, exhibitions, events, and courses.
The new depot does not receive visitors and has a purely functional and efficient design. In addition to the archive spaces, it consists of a small program of supporting spaces for the reception, quarantine, intake, cleaning, and processing of documents. The archive spaces themselves consist of two largely twelve-meter high halls connected by a traffic zone with lifts and stairs. Special is that the halls do not have any structural story floors. The filing cabinets cover the full height and the floors consist of wooden panels between the cabinets. This solution minimizes the use of materials but also makes an important contribution to circularity and efficient climate control.
The depot fills almost the entire lot and is accessed via a narrow courtyard at the rear. This is accessible through an entrance gate on the Internetstraat that looks like a continuation of the façade. The gate forms the first security screen of the building. The courtyard is also the parking place for staff and offers access to the dispatch area. There, the electric delivery van of the Stadsarchief can load and unload safely and dryly.
The look & feel of Depot Amsterdam Noord is fierce and robust. The building block is almost completely closed and from the outside, it does not reveal what it contains. It has a dark, completely flush and anthracite-colored façade with a horizontal band of solar panels in the middle that is also dark grey. The detailing is minimalist. The sleek and basic character of the building makes for a firm landing of the storage place within its surroundings. Strongly contrasting, the three red Andreas crosses from the Amsterdam logo have been placed on the grey façade. These have been magnified to such an extent that half of the lower and upper cross has 'fallen away.' This also contributes to the robust appearance.
The climate is specially tailored to the machine-made paper types that have been used since 1850. These types of wood fiber papers are much more vulnerable than the handmade rag paper from before. Therefore, they require special storage conditions in which, in particular, a stable humidity at a relatively low temperature is important. An energy-efficient climate has been achieved by applying an airtight, highly insulating shell combined with minimal ventilation and a concrete floor that is not insulated but is in direct contact with the ground below it. For the larger part of the year, there is no need for heating, cooling, humidification or dehumidification; both temperature and humidity remain within the permitted margins without regulation. The uninsulated floor acts as a passive heat and cold storage facility: it provides natural warming in the winter and natural cooling in the summer. Adjustment is only required during extremely cold or hot periods.
Photography: Lucas van der Wee