Library of Congress


National Audio-Visual Conservation Center


Part landform and part building, this new conservation center designed by SmithGroupJJR with BAR Architects has earned awards for innovation and sustainability. Central to the design is its green roof - a sprawling, 228,000-square-foot garden with up to 4 feet of soil cover - that seems to merge naturally into a rural Virginia hillside.

The green roof has the added benefit of keeping temperatures low inside the archival storage facility, which is partially adapted from a Federal Reserve vault to house labs and a screening room. Stable for up to two weeks in the event of a power outage, the center uses natural controls to preserve the world's largest collection of audio-visual artifacts, including sensitive nitrate films.

Landscape and plantings are integral to the building concept. The roof and surrounding campus added over 9,000 trees and nearly 200,000 individual plantings, making it one of the largest private-sector reforestation projects ever on the Eastern seaboard.

Among the awards earned by the projects is the Virginia Sustainable Building Network's Green Innovation Award for “best green commercial project."

Related Content

A Look at What's Inside the NAVCC
Read more about the collections housed at the Audio-Visual Conservation Center.

Audio-Visual Conservation Center Video
Movie and television buffs should check out this video on how the collections are stored.