Publication Date

January 2000


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.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.