The most basic principle of architecture is that Form Follows Function. In other words, a building should be designed to facilitate the activities envisioned to occur within it. Through the centuries, structures erected for managing the archival heritage of civilizations and cultures indeed have reflected and shaped the archival activity transpiring within them. Physical configurations have facilitated or impeded the archival enterprise. A building with provision for storage only, and no area designated for use of the records it holds, obviously says that for the time, place, and archival institution, the value of archives was not broad public use. Rather, the value lay in simply possessing the archives and/ or in having them for consultation by a designated constituency for the purpose of carrying on its affairs effectively. Through the past two thousand years, and especially the past two hundred, structures around the globe designed for the management of archival resources have exhibited commonalities and differences, the appreciation of which gives insight into the mindsets of the archivist, the architect, and the community for which the structure was constructed. Further, the buildings exhibit a changing conception of the nature, role, and purpose of archives.
Gracy, David B. II,
"Where Function Meets Form: Observations and Thoughts on Housing for the Archival Enterprise,"
Provenance, Journal of the Society of Georgia Archivists
Available at: http://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/provenance/vol18/iss1/9