Arolsen Archives
Ansicht Ost
Ansicht west
Grundriss Erdgeschoss
Grundriss Obergeschoss

Arolsen Archives

LocationBad Arolsen
ProcedureCompetition 2023, Recognition

The Arolsen Archives are an archive of original documents relating to millions of victims and survivors of National Socialism. As the world's most comprehensive archive in this field, they are part of the UNESCO World Documentary Heritage. The design of a new archive building for the Arolsen Archives aims to create a manifest timeless place for the memory of the victims and crimes of National Socialism that can anchor itself in people's consciousness. An architecture that serves to remember and at the same time does justice to its clear function as an archive. The new building presents itself as an abstract monolithic structure that creates a link between the housing estate and the park. Setbacks structure the building and interlock it with its surroundings. On closer inspection, the brick façade reveals a multi-layered relief that makes the process of archiving visible to the outside world. The façade transforms the repetitive motif of the smallest archiving unit, a cardboard box with a name card. Turned to stone, the cardboard box can be found as a brick in the façade. The façade can thus be read as a symbol for the millions of individual fates documented in the archive and at the same time becomes a protective shell for the fragile paper monument inside the building.