Haddonfield Historical Society Archive | DCM Architecture & Engineering

Haddonfield / United States / 2020

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The Borrough of Haddonfield in Camden County; played an important role in the American Revolutionary War. It was here where the State of New Jersey was declared as an independent state from the British Crown in 1777. The Historical Society of Haddonfield (HSH) oversees the town’s records through the preservation of documents and objects of historical significance. Within its campus, the original archives building presented serious challenges for the preservation of its archives. The HHS commissioned DCM with the design of a two-story secured building with a basement to preserve its archives with optimum moisture, temperature, and lighting controls. 


 


The design process was long and tenuous. It required the approval of the totality of the neighbors who participated in design charades to control the design of its facades. The HSH’s campus had reached its maximum allowed density which required the design team to locate the new archives building exactly over the footprint of an old garage structure. Construction was financed through a fundraising campaign which required the unanimous approval of local authorities and neighbors. Reinterpreting the rural heritage of the community and its barn building tradition, the architects; responding to the neighbor’s request, did not compromise the residential architectural character of the neighborhood and integrated with a contemporary language the new structure within the campus built context.


 


The building’s first floor, houses research and sourcing areas where volunteers and researchers conduct study work. The reading room communicates with the main garden through large, glazed openings under a wood and steel canopy framed in metal evoking old barn’s doors. The new building includes restroom for staff and event guests. The basement provides space for reproduction and sorting activities while the archives are stored in the upper level within a space efficient mobile shelving system.


 


The design team solved the building’s exterior by simplifying the classic barn shape, making use of long standing, low-maintenance materials. The entire facade and roof are covered with standing seam metal panels that were installed and donated by a member of the community. To save energy, the building is super insulated. Its envelope is constructed using a double wall with an insulated cavity to create air-tight conditions without thermal bridging.  The exterior canopy is fabricated out of maintenance-free fiber cement slats. MEP systems are high performance including the fire suppression system.


 


During the planning, design, fundraising, construction and project’s completion phases, the design team worked with 4 board of directors, neighborhood groups and volunteers within the frame of a global health pandemic. The result is a true community achievement that is materialized by a design team into a contemporary, elegant and modest building that has been embraced by its community, becoming part of the Historical Society’s collection for the protection of the town’s records and for the use and enjoyment of future generations.

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    The Borrough of Haddonfield in Camden County; played an important role in the American Revolutionary War. It was here where the State of New Jersey was declared as an independent state from the British Crown in 1777. The Historical Society of Haddonfield (HSH) oversees the town’s records through the preservation of documents and objects of historical significance. Within its campus, the original archives building presented serious challenges for the preservation of its archives. The HHS...

    Project details
    • Year 2020
    • Work started in 2016
    • Work finished in 2020
    • Main structure Wood
    • Client Historical Society of Haddonfield (HSH)
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Offices/studios / Libraries
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