UBC PARC PRESERVATION AND ARCHIVES
The new University of British Columbia PARC (Preservation and Archives) facility is an outstanding demonstration of a highly specialized library environment,t based on a model developed at Harvard University, that extends the life of printed library collections from 30 years (in a typical library environment) to 300 years. By using a system where the Library’s collections are stored within high-density shelving units in a thermal and humidity controlled environment, Library PARC is one of North America’s most efficient and cost effective storage facilities.
To achieve an identity for the facility, DGBK started to advance concepts for an architectural language while exploring the siting options. This exploration started with the location of the facility within the Forest District of UBC, and the play of light in the vertical forest. The storage of materials in this facility does not follow the traditional approach of grouping books by topic, but rather by book size, permitting the use of barcodes to store and retrieve them. The barcoded book is stored in a tray, which contains its own unique barcode, and the trays are placed on the shelves, which are again barcoded. The conceptual idea of the trees in the forest in tandem with the operational requirements of the facility – the barcode – led to the building’s design language.