Located in Canada’s National Capital Region (Région de la capitale nationale), the Library and Archives Canada’s (LAC) Gatineau 2 Project includes the design, construction, financing, facility maintenance, and lifecycle of a new archival facility. Situated behind – and physically connected to – LAC’s existing Preservation Centre, the new facility is a specialized, flexible, and sustainable building, with objectives aligned to meet the Government of Canada’s priorities to invest in sustainable federal infrastructure and Canadian culture.
At the leading edge of technology, the new state-of-the-art facility will be the world’s largest equipped with an automated storage and retrieval system for archival collections.
The centre provides 21,500 cubic metres, or the equivalent of about 8.5 Olympic swimming pools, of collection storage capacity in two highly controlled environments across six vaults. Gatineau 2 is also the first net-zero carbon building dedicated to the preservation of archives in the Americas and the first federal building built to the requirements of Canada’s Greening Government Strategy.
In order to protect the invaluable collection materials from flooding, the vaults are located well above grade, directly above program spaces and staff areas on the ground floor. The risk of water damage is further mitigated by the “buffer zone” surrounding the concrete vaults in the interior on all sides, as well as with roof drainage that draws rainwater away from the vault ceilings to prevent water accumulation.
Inside the vaults, strict requirements for temperature and humidity serve to maximize the storage life of the collection. These environmental set points are achieved through individually dedicated mechanical systems, with backup capacity to provide continuous support in the event of a temporary outage.
The Gatineau 2 Project also includes shelving optimization and energy efficiency initiatives to maximize storage space and reduce the environmental impact of LAC’s operations. Greenhouse gas emissions in the pre-existing Preservation Centre, which will be connected to the new facility by a pedestrian bridge, will be reduced by 80%.
In keeping with the government’s efforts to promote environmental stewardship, additional sustainable performance considerations have been integrated into the Project Agreement.
The refit of specific storage spaces supports LAC’s commitment to reducing its physical footprint and greening its activities by using efficient systems and adapted shelving structures.
Gatineau 2’s scale, proportions and materiality compliment the existing facility, itself a piece of Canadian Architectural heritage resulting in a quiet reverence. Two clearly identifiable pavilions cooperating in the garden.