The National Archives Gatineau Preservation Centre is a technically robust structure containing collection storage areas with controlled static environments as well as laboratories equipped for preservation activities. This architectural-award-winning, 490,000-square-foot facility is designed for a life span of approximately 500 years.
The center consists of a three-level, cast-in-place concrete structure containing 48 climate-controlled vaults that hold archival records, and a fourth floor containing individual laboratories arranged in a village-like setting for conservation treatment, digitization, and preservation copying. The design concept is of a building within a building to provide protection from outside contaminants. All building materials used to construct the facility have zero vapours of contamination (VOCs).
The climate-controlled storage vaults on the first three floors use customized mobile shelving and security systems to store material such as maps, books, paper and electronic records, paintings, film, and photographs at closely monitored temperatures and humidity levels for optimal preservation.
The outer building consists of a composite roof and wall system, including a 70-foot-high, structural, glazed-aluminum curtain wall supported by clear-coated, structural steel bow trusses and an entire stainless steel superstructure enveloping the inner concrete archival vaults. The main mechanical and electrical systems are in a separate building outside the archive's thermally neutral environment, allowing for systems maintenance and renovations to take place without causing contamination of the laboratories or vaults.