Passivhaus Affiliate

First UK Passivhaus Record and Archive Centre completes in Hereford

Patron members Architype have completed the first UK Record and Archive Centre in Hereford aiming for Passivhaus certification. The new £8.1million facility provides a ‘one-stop’ service to the public and professionals alike, 
for access to 7800 collections of local historic and environmental records dating back to the 12th Century

Hereford Archive Centre, interior view yellow doors of archive repository. Dennis GilbertHereford Archive Centre, interior of archive repository. Photo Credit: Dennis Gilbert

Hereford Archive Centre, exterior night shot

The building takes the form of two simple and distinct masses separated by a ‘buffer zone’ which homes the entrance & reception, overlooked by bridges and a tunnel at higher levels connecting the two spaces.

The larger of the two masses, an un-perforated concrete structural box with vented cedar shingle cladding, holds the main archive and records repository over three storeys. It provides thermally isolated and environmentally controlled conditions optimised for archival storage.

The lightweight two storey timber framed system houses the offices, public search rooms and education facilities. The proposed palette is made up of high quality ‘natural’ materials, which are expected to weather and merge in harmony with the surrounging landscape. 



Hereford Archive Centre, exterior, Architype Hereford Archive Centre, exterior, Architype Hereford Archive Centre, exterior, Architype

Photo credits: Dennis Gilbert

Solar gain is controlled using brise soleil and the highly insulated building fabric. Lighting loads are controlled by a combination of switching, daylight and absence control. Summer ventilation is controlled by users who can open windows
 and insulated secure louvres.

Hereford Archive Centre, Ventilation section. Architype

Section, Image credit: Architype

Cross ventilation into the atrium space via attenuated air paths is drawn by stack effect through actuator controlled high level openings. This also provides night purge cooling, supplemented if required by mechanical ventilation, to further drive down running costs.

  • Form Factor (ext. area/TFA): 2.7

  • Costs per m2: £1,900m2

  • PredictedThermal Energy demand (≤15kWh/m2.yr): 12

  • Predicted Thermal Energy load (≤10W/m2): 13

  • Actual Airtightness n50 ACH (≤0.6ach@50pascals): 0.36






Cedar shingles

100mm vent baton

Bitroc board

300mm larson truss fully filled with warm cell

215mm concrete block with internal sand & cement parge/ airtightness layer

U- value: 0.13



Limetech render

50mm vent batons

18mm Bitroc

340mm prefab timer frame

fully filled with warm cell insulation

U- value: 0.13


Strip footings, 150mm Jabfloor

U- value: 0.10



Floating raft, below raft 250mm of Jabfloor.

U- value: 0.10



U- value: 0.11



Single ply roofing membrane

18mm plywood roof deck

ventilation firrings

breather board

400mm I-joists fully filled with warm cell insulation

18mm OSB and Duraline

ceiling finishes to suit

U- value: 0.10


No windows are located in the respository



50.4mm triple glazed, with argon filled with Swisspacer,composite aluminium clad timber windows

U- value: 0.90          G-value: 0.50


Adopting Passivhaus to achieve a low energy environment has proven to be the most logical solution and their (Architype) design has truly captured our brief. 

 Cllr Roger Phillips, Cabinet Member for Economy & Culture

The building will also be constructed to the new PD5454:2012 standard; Guidance on the storage and exhibition of archival materials. Passivhaus Certification is due January 2015. 

The building is currently occupied by the council and the archives are being populated. It is anticipated the building will be fully open to the public by September 2015.

Key Team:

Client: Herefordshire Council

Architects: Architype

Landscape and Planning Consultants: Churchman’s Landscape Architects

Passivhaus Consultants: Elemental Solutions & Alan Clarke

Structural Engineers: Eastwood & Partners

M&E consultant: E3 Consulting

Project manager: EC Harris LLP

Main contractor: Kiers

Funding: Herefordshire Council


Further Information:

Previous PHT story 1 September 2013 - Work begins on Passivhaus Archive building in Hereford


20th January 2015

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