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archive of Castilla La Mancha

Guillermo Vazquez Consuegra

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The Archive is built on an elongated parcel named Polígono. Suburban landscape, anonymous, far from the beautiful urban factories from the city of Toledo. So, it will not be, then, the conditions dictated for the place which have conditioned the formal order of the project, but rather those others related to the use of the building.

A building which houses the Archive of Castilla La Mancha could be understood as an immense coffer, a safe that jealously guards the cultural heritage, the collective memory of the Community. This has been a desired image for the proposed building: a compact and closed volume, unitary and self-absorbed, that stores inside a valuable treasure deposited there. A building that does not display the diversity of its interior spaces and keeps a discreet relationship with its surroundings without giving up a dense and effective presence. The idea of stratification, the overlap of layers, of strata, so typical in documents, also underlies the figurative image of the proposal. Closed and overwhelming, perceptually lightened by stratification as composition system.

The proposal rejects the idea of understanding the Archive just as silo of documents, as a warehouse of shelves, proposing instead of it, a building implied by its interior space. A fluid and dilated interior space defined essentially by a large vacuum which transits vertically all levels, in which natural light, as is not usual in buildings of this nature, assumes a decidedly protagonist role.

Therefore, a five floors compact building of height on slope is proposed, and one more floor under the quota of the street level. The 7m x 7m module has been used to build, as a fabric, the entire project. The most public common area of the program, as well as the areas of technical process, management and administration of the Archive were developed in low floors and mezzanine, at the same time that spaces destined to the Public Service occupy the floor below level, open to a huge excavated tapestry.

This intervention demonstrate the interest of the project in providing the building with an own exterior space, a quiet and serene space available to library’s multiple and reading rooms. An excavated courtyard, more intimate, that could allow its use for outdoor activities.

The Deposits are located in the four upper floors. The type plant is built on a 42 modules reticulated frame, so that a large central void between the Regional Archive and the Bibliographical Archive, vertically verifies the whole building and manage the relation of these funds with complementary, more public areas, through two vertical communication cores.

The exterior coating of the entire building is solved with ceramic pieces of local tradition. We designed for this project building two types of large ceramic pieces: one flat and one T-shaped, whose combination made possible to solve the distinct requirements posed by the different façades. A curtain wall which is a delicate enveloping of horizontal slats which makes possible to unify all the façades, even the roof, with the massive use of a single material, which at the same time in function of the weather conditions and natural light, will offers changing and diverse images for these same façades.

The building is located on a parcel, adjoined to one of its lateral borders, showing at its parallel façade the two differentiated entrances: personnel and materials loading dock, and the main one for the public, protected by a large canopy made of concrete which guards the excavated courtyard and leads under cover to the lobby.

During its construction, we were required to expand a third of its total surface. In order not to compete with the main building, we solve it with the construction of a low volume as a continuation of the canopy, absolutely solved with facing concrete. Later, we decided to wrap these construction with an iron sheet.

The enclosure of the parcel and the treatment of the exterior spaces of the building have been carried out in a banal and inconsistent manner by the corresponding Regional Ministry, dismissing our project.

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