TypeRealisation competition
LocationArolsen Archives
Große Allee 5 – 9
34454 Bad Arolsen
ClientBundesanstalt für Immobilienaufgaben
Ellerstraße 56
53119 Bonn
ArchitectsNieto Sobejano Arquitectos, Berlin with Atelier Sunder-Plassmann
Team LA.BARRüdiger Amend, Violetta Zilbersher, Georgia Delia Gkliati, Ivo Brand
AreaConstruction phase
A: 2,217 square meters
B: soft boundary, footpath connection to section A (separate)
Ranking2nd prize

The Arolsen Archives are an important source of information about victims of National Socialism. Through their collection of documents, including index cards, camp books and personal documents, the Arolsen Archives play an important role in coming to terms with and commemorating the victims of National Socialism.

A new building is planned to replace two outdated existing buildings, which will enable the archives to be preserved in the long term. The building volume is similar in geometry to a box and is an imprint of the containers in its archive. Due to conservation restrictions, the Arolsen Archives are not accessible, but at the same time what is preserved there should not be forgotten. The design addresses this paradox with the symbolic character of its façade. The interior, which cannot be entered, is transported to the outside on a transferable level.

The building site is maximized both to the south and to the west in order to allow the least possible intrusion into the park. With a simple gesture, the building is opened up in an east-west direction, creating a connection between the street space and the park, between inside and outside. Due to the high structural utilization of the site, the few remaining open spaces are of particular importance in terms of their integration into the urban context. This consists of a side facing the city and a side facing the tree park. A largely stone square, broken up by amber trees, defines the city side. On the park side, a set of steps leads from the event hall to the higher terrace with a long bench. This allows events to be extended outdoors. The valuable lime tree will be preserved and integrated into the outside area of the archive building. Near-natural underplanting with shade-tolerant shrubs, ferns and grasses surround the building and lead into the tree park.

The parking spaces for visitors with limited mobility are provided in the north. They will be integrated into the existing trees and made of water-permeable and root-friendly grass liners. The movement areas will be barrier-free and paved with clinker bricks. A footpath leads through the tree park to the main entrance and a side entrance to the main building. To reduce the proportion of sealed surfaces, we propose reducing the existing parking area to the necessary level and, if required, using the resulting open space as a recreation area for employees.