The building rejects the idea of the Letherium as an archive store full of shelves. The building is instead symbolized by the huge internal space, spilling out to a public space at ground and first floor levels. This fluid space takes a leading role in the building’s relationship with the general public, providing a multifunctional space for display, education and social interaction.
The figurative image of the proposal; a forceful closed platonic volume, is visually lightened by the composition of the façade, employing a horizontal system of stratification. This idea of a stratification of superimposed layers is characteristic of the layers of history connected to the artefacts that the building will house. The horizontal concrete shelf walls are united with double glazed sealed containers displaying and storing objects. These containers — suggesting the entombment or burial of the object, diffuse light both internally on the internal atrium, and externally on the façade, creating an ever changing skin to the building.
The strategy focuses on the nature of the items that have become housed at the archive. The objectivity and importance of these items is no longer of great significance in their new context, hence they must be given new existence.
Instead of being presented as objects for their own sake the artefacts are gathered together in groups of similar shape, colour form, density, purpose, size… and inserted into the skin of the building becoming part, not only of the building fabric, but also of the urban fabric. The very gesture of associated the objects with the building fabric voids transcends the celebration of their objectivity and presents them as objects of form, colour size… By doing this the spaces in and around the Letherium acquire a character unique to any building.