Film Archive and Preservation Center

Santa Clarita, California

  • Services Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering
  • Market(s) Laboratories, Office
  • Sustainability LEED Certified
  • Awards Charles J. Pankow, Jr. Award, American Institute of Concrete, Southern California Chapter, 2015
    Award of Merit - New Construction / Large Project, Structural Engineers Association of California, 2015
    Pinnacle Award of Merit - Commercial Exterior, Marble Institute of America, 2014
    Grand Prize Winner, Coverings Installation & Design, 2015


square feet





600' long

cast-in-place building
  • Owner Packard Humanities Institute
  • Architect BAR Architects
  • Contractor Morley Builders
  • Collaborators Mazzetti
    Nash Lipsey Burch
    SWA Group
  • Team San Francisco, CA
Film Archive and Preservation Center

The Film Archive and Preservation Center is a state of the art environment controlled building dedicated to the preservation, repair, and storage of film media for the benefit of future generations.

The project includes a cast-in-place building over 600 feet long with a combination of flat slabs, one-way slabs, and long span beam and slab construction. The storage vaults carry compact shelving with live loads over 500 psf while maintaining deflection criteria of L/600. The building, modeled after an Italian Stoa, has a ceiling that looks like terra cotta supported by wood purlins and wood trusses. For durability and fire protection reasons, the actual framing consisted of GFRG ceiling panels and precast concrete trusses with intricate form liners to provide the appearance of old wood trusses. These trusses, spaced at 16 feet on center, span 44 feet, with a 3-dimensional King Truss located at the intersection of 3 wings of the building.

The campus sits on an undeveloped 64 acre site. The facility was organized to allow the project buildings to better integrate with natural topography and existing oak trees. Civil engineering included the design of a 1-mile long access road and bridge to site, extensive grading for building pads, civil utility design for the campus, as well as the re-design of an existing Los Angeles County Flood Control basin.

With an aging collection of film, the Film Archive will preserve and protect the media from a naturally occurring slow degradation process by providing storage space maintained at a constant 38 degrees Fahrenheit and 30% relative humidity, extended film life to 600 years.

Our friends at Morley Builders created this great video telling a more comprehensive story about the construction.

Film Archive and Preservation Center

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