Together with architect WS Atkins, Kier Southern has been commissioned to design, develop and construct this bespoke archival records facility from concept through all the architectural stages.
Kier is due to begin work on site this summer, with construction completion expected for Christmas 2012.
Situated opposite the University of Sussex at Woollards Field, The Keep will provide over 52,000sq ft of storage, office and public access space across three floors and will be formed of two main blocks, one housing the repository and one for all other functions.
The repository, or strong room, which will store the historical records and archives, has been designed to meet specific storage and preservation needs, which means it will need to comply with strict temperature and humidity ranges.
This particular part of the building is planned in a light coloured, brick-faced, heavyweight masonry with an insulated ventilated cavity, to ensure robustness, high security, air tightness and an ability to retain internal environmental conditions.
The roof will be a heavyweight concrete construction with a second shallow standing seam pitched ‘over-roof’ offering double protection to the important records within.
Public areas of The Keep will include a reception, display and sales area as well as education and learning room and refreshment space. Members of the public will also have access to a reference library, finding aids and a document search area.
Office and administrative space has been designed to meet the specific needs of staff at The Keep and includes an archivists’ work room, document production area, an archive conservation studio and a bindery.
Kier Southern design manager Phil Combs said: “Community engagement with The Keep project was a key factor in the development of the design with Kier and ESCC instigating a series of public consultations and end-user workshops.
“We are looking forward to progressing with the construction process and delivering a quality product for our client.”