A Cambridge Architectural MeshDefense™ mesh solution defines the boundaries of the exterior dining area for the National Archives Southeast Region in Morrow, GA, complying not only with the building’s contemporary design, but also with National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) security regulations.
Although the contents of the building are historical, the design of the new, 117,000-square-foot Southeast Regional Archives has a forward focus.
“We designed the building to be ‘cutting edge’ and to meet green building standards,” explains Project Manager Carissa Faroughi of Peck Peck and Associates, the project’s architect. The whole structure is a “materials showcase,” according to Faroughi, made from durable elements such as granite, block and metal. The architects are in the process of applying for LEED accreditation for the project.
The $22 million National Archives Southeast Region is a division of NARA, the preserver of United States Federal government documents for public use. The facility maintains historical records from regional offices of Federal agencies in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee. It is a valuable resource open to academic researchers and casual browsers alike.
The Cambridge Architectural MeshDefense mesh application that surrounds the archives’ outdoor patios and connects the main building to the adjacent Visitors Center is made from Grid stainless steel woven metal supported by customized U-Frame attachment hardware. The primary function of Space Sculpting applications is to define and separate space within interiors and exteriors. In this case, the metal fabric application serves as an aesthetically pleasing method of protection for people and property.
“The Cambridge Architectural mesh application we chose meets security regulations that limit openings to no larger than one inch,” continued Faroughi. “The mesh also allowed us to enclose the patio and keep it controlled without looking boxy. It provided a clean aesthetic that goes with the contemporary design of the building.”
The Archives shares an amphitheater with its neighbor, Clayton State University. Unveiled during the Archives’ grand opening ceremonies, the amphitheater will play host to public events, concerts and university events. During cooler Georgia months, Clayton State students may use the area to study. The patio is an extension of the indoor public and employee dining rooms and connects to the visitors’ center for catered “event” use.
The facility was also designed to meet national archival standards that regulate interior temperature, humidity, and UV-Light. It is a prototype for other NARA facilities and is the first to be built. The design works so well for NARA because it is meant to be expanded; its V-shaped bays allow for easy additions on either end. “Our intent is for the building to last as long as the archives last – and to grow with them,” added Faroughi.
Items held by the Southeast Regional Archives include immigration records from settlers in the 1790s, Al Capone’s draft card from World War I, and much more.
Peck Peck and Associates, Woodbridge, VA, is the project architect and Fabmaster, Inc., Atlanta, GA, the fabricator.
Cambridge’s Grid metal fabric pattern is a rigid open weave often used in stair rail systems and grillwork. U-frame attachment hardware was used to install the Grid product. Metal fabric is tack welded to u-binding and mitered corners are welded and ground smooth for a polished finish.