A £22m project for the British Library which provided a ‘world first’ archive facility at their Boston Spa Site in Yorkshire.
The building is 80m long, 50m wide and 21m high and provides 262.5 linear kilometres of fully automated storage space. 100,000 m3 of earth was excavated to ensure that the building does not dominate the site or skyline. A bund was formed and topped with a rare calcareous limestone grassland (home to 5 species of orchid), which was relocated from another part of the site. In the building itself, extensive services are required to ensure that temperature and humidity are controlled in accordance with strict tolerances and, as an alternative to a sprinkler system, the building incorporates an oxygen depletion system, which is dependent on the building being airtight. It is reputed to be the most airtight building of its kind in the UK.