County Archive Conversion

Landsarkivet

Lund, 2015

FOJAB Architects

The Landsarkivet is the type of building that appears a ruin it its present state. The rough, vine encrusted masonry illustrates the patina of a forty plus year battle with harsh Swedish winters. One could imagine this structure still standing when the rest of the city is in ruins, and that any attempt to topple it would prove to be a daunting task.

As difficult as it may be to suggest breaking this volume, plans to do so have already been executed. It has been gutted and pierced. In addition to the changes to the existing structures, an additional building has been added to provide more units. This third building to the site strangles what was once an pristine tree filled landscape.

How did it happen? Due to the constant demand for more student housing, The Lund Student Nation had been seeking a site to build a new housing complex for over ten years. Once the archive complex was no longer needed by the city, as its contents would be moved to a larger and more remote location, many potential programs for the project were suggested but none of them were acted upon. Ultimately the archive complex would be offered to the student nation.

Working with the architecture firm FOJAB, they pursued a design that dealt with the complexities of designing in and around two existing buildings by two different architects completed more than seventy years apart. In addition to these obvious challenges, they also had to deal with disgruntled architects, artists and historians that were offended by the idea of student housing in these historically significant buildings.