© Javier Azurmendi
© Javier Azurmendi


Archivo Historico Provincial de Guadalajara

Order Volume

374 m²


Luis Rojo Fernandez-Shaw





Archivo Historico Provincial de Guadalajara

Guadalajara, Spain

The Art of Stacking - Optimal Conditions for Documents and Comfortable Atmosphere for Users in the New Archivo Histórico Provincial de Guadalajara with OKAWOOD from OKALUX

Archives are places of stocking, safekeeping, and tradition. They also have a symbolic function as places of social and cultural identity. The idea behind the new historical archive in Guadalajara, the provincial capital in central Spain located about 50 kilometers north of Madrid, is not only to make a connection between the past and the present but also to offer the best possible conditions for visitors, employees and documents as well.

The weather in Southern Castile is hot and dry and the solar radiation can be very strong. This particular intensive irradiation poses a huge challenge for the planning of the façade of the archives. The requirements of natural illumination for good working conditions are in conflict with the requirements for protection against glare and overheating. The architect’s office Rojo/Fernandez-Shaw of Madrid developed a façade which simultaneously opens up as far as possible while filtering, diffusing and directing the incident light. The functional glass OKAWOOD from OKALUX enhances the subtle interplay of transparency and impermeability of the building shell by ensuring reliable protection against sun and glare.




Compact Container

The new Archivo Histórico is prominently situated in the center of the city. Bordered by one of the most important streets as well as a new park on the southern side, the archive faces a neighborhood of apartment buildings towards the north. The compactness of the building allows it to blend into the existing topography, thus uniting the contrasting urban structures.

It is not only the function and compactness of the building that makes it look like a container. The outer shell of perforated aluminum elements is folded in various depths along the façade, forming the eastern and western façade as well as the roof and wrapping itself around the entire building structure like a metal curtain. The playful three-dimensionality and spatial depth of the façade makes the new “Documentation Container” a real eye-catcher.

Modular Stacking Structure

The fundamental structure is based on a modular system: Individual archive rooms of about 8 meters in width and 22 meters in length are stacked and strung together. The units in the southern part are in an orthogonal order over four floors to the Avenida and the park, the floor plan makes a bend in the middle so that the rooms in the northern part are slightly diagonal. The architects took advantage of the natural difference in height to give this part of the building five floors. Triangular wedges according to the grid of the archives were cut out of the roof; glass areas on the cut edges direct additional light to the rooms below.

The spatial divisions for usage are very clear; the private archive rooms are located in the northern part and in the upper floors, public areas such as the auditorium and the study zones are located around the entrance hall and facing the park. The entrance of the new archive building from here leads to a bright foyer which extends over the entire height of the building. The atmosphere is determined by the natural material timber which has been installed ubiquitously: As parquet, as construction material, as ceiling and wall cladding as well as timber grid in the façade.

Filtered Light

The character of the entrance hall and the other rooms open to the public are determined by daylight – or, more precisely, the filter through which the light enters: OKAWOOD insulating glass. A filigree wooden grid in the cavities of the functional glass protects against intensive solar radiation, adds life to the façade, and affords a pleasant illumination of the room by natural sunlight. The protective factor for glare and radiant heat is especially high when the solar altitude is medium or at its peak. The system is maintenance-free and has a long life span due to the fact that it is protected within the cavities. But it is not only the functional advantages and special features that make OKAWOOD such a versatile product; what is especially convincing are the atmospheric qualities. The timber grid conjures up fascinating patterns on the floor and wall areas which change throughout the day creating a sense of time. A flowing transition between the interior and the exterior of the Archivo Histórico results from the wood between the panes.