Working at the Swedish National Archives in Marieberg in Stockholm looks different today than it did when it opened in 1968. It’s why the National Archives needed to make changes in their premises and adapt them to suit modern working methods. The listed building has four stories above ground, of which two are public, as well as six stories underground. The space below ground is a large nuclear bunker excavation where all materials are archived.

“Back in the day, the National Archives had above-ground staff and underground staff. When an archive worker needed a book, he or she phoned the underground staff, who then sent up the book with the book lift,” says Lars Östling, architect at Tengbom. Today, the material is handled differently and the procedure is for the staff to accompany it all the way; it may no longer be sent via the book lift, which is now idle.

Now they needed more passenger lifts instead, and on the initiative of the National Archives, a major renovation project was begun in 2014 to replace two book lifts with a passenger lift. Because the building is listed, it was up to the City Museum to approve the changes. The City Museum is a consultative body for the City of Stockholm and has a great influence on planning permission for listed buildings. The process of preparing a proposal on how the restoration would look was set in motion with Lars Östling from Tengbom as principal architect.

The wall structure of the entire lift shaft was cast terrazzo. Preserving and complementing this material became part of the restoration project. The old construction documents for the national archives had been preserved, and in them was a note stating that craftsman from Herrljunga had carried out the terrazzo work of the lift shaft in the 1960s.

“We got in touch with Herrljunga Terrazzo and they came up to Stockholm to take a look at the premises, and they also took on the task of casting the new terrazzo. Together we drew up a proposal on how to carry out the project to achieve the best possible results in terms of the building’s listed status,” says Lars Östling.

The proposal was approved by the City Museum and the restoration began. The old terrazzo was left in place, but a little piece was cut away and sent to the lab in Herrljunga. Based on the sample, a recipe was created for terrazzo with an identical appearance. When the new terrazzo was in place, it was polished in such a way that it was given the same surface as the old.

“We worked together with a knowledgeable terrazzo craftsman from Herrljunga Terrazzo. We made a drawing of how we wanted the terrazzo to be designed around the lift shaft, and we received a lot of help and valuable tips on how to create the best conditions for the material. We worked hand-in-hand with Herrljunga Terrazzo in the project, which was otherwise a managed turnkey contract. We’re very pleased with the results and we feel the restorative work with new terrazzo around the lift shafts was a great success,” concludes Lars Östling.