Windmill Hill features a series of buildings and courtyards that make strong references to the site’s agricultural past. The facility houses a Reading Room, archives storage, meeting rooms, and offices for archive staff. Materials were chosen with deference to the site’s past life as a dairy farm – they include oak windows and shutters, rendered walls, wood cladding and zinc roofs. Vertical louvers provide a strong visual element while shielding the reading room from excess direct light.
Heating for the facility is provided for via ground source heat pumps, while the archive itself is kept naturally cool with extra thick walls. The 1.5-meter-thick walls create a stable temperature and environment, which is necessary for archival storage, and a greywater system recycles the facility’s water. The new facility will not only store important historical papers, but will also serve as the home of The Rothschild Foundation and its wider philanthropic work. The Foundation’s new home will host debates and roundtable discussions addressing some of today’s key issues – such as the environment, horticulture, green technology, business and social entrepreneurship, and protecting Britain’s heritage.
Images © Richard Bryant Photography/ Arcaid Images