Located in Nuremberg, the State Archive of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria manages and preserves the church's historically valuable records, which include documents from popes and emperors, letters from Luther and Melanchthon, originals by Dürer, historic films, sound recordings and newspaper cuttings, as well as around 120,000 books. Since the original archive no longer met capacity requirements, a new building, which was completed in 2013, was erected on a neighboring plot of land.

Award winning design expands over 2,500 m²


Built on an area of 2,500 m² and directly overlooking the Wöhrder Lake, the new archive with its one basement and six upper floors offers plenty of space for its precious contents. The award-winning design was by Hamburg architects Gerkan, Marg and Partners, whose portfolio includes the Shanghai City Planning Archive and the Christ Pavilion for the Expo 2000 in Hanover.

The striking new archive building in Nuremberg consists of two intersecting solid cubes which seem to float above a one-meter-high plinth. The solitary building sculpture visually complements the adjacent seminary, whose park-like gardens border on the new archive. The public area of the building is located on the ground floor, comprising a foyer, library and reading room, as well as an events room for 150 people.

The other floors are reserved mainly for repository areas capable of holding up to around 30 shelf kilometers of archived material. The new archive also houses administrative offices and an area for restoring and processing the documents in its safekeeping.

Fail-safe way to protect valuable documents from water damage

One of the intended functions of the newly constructed archive was to provide a dedicated storage zone on the basement floor for historic records sensitive to damp. However, since the basement is at groundwater level, the exterior walls are constantly exposed to water pressure. And because the terrain slopes in a southerly direction, the basement is partially embedded in the soil.

Optimally protecting the priceless records against damage from damp calls for a 100% dependable waterproofing solution that can withstand severe structural stresses. Waterproofing was carried out by building and structural engineers Dechant Hoch- und Ingenieurbau GmbH from Weismain in Bavaria’s Upper Franconia region.

Ultrahigh-performance waterproofing solution with SikaProof A

A utility class A watertight concrete basement structure was built on a 3,500 square meter area on soiled terrain. To ensure permanent structural waterproofing and prevent any lateral water underflow, the flexible, crack-bridging fresh concrete composite sheet membrane waterproofing system SikaProof A from Sika Germany had been pre-applied to the watertight structure. Based on Sika's unique grid seal technology, this waterproofing sheet membrane combines the strengths of a watertight concrete construction with surface sealing. It is installed prior to reinforcement and concrete work on the floor and wall formwork.

SikaProof A consists of a multilayer waterproofing membrane based on highly flexible polyolefins. On the concreting side, the membrane is laminated with a fleece. The fresh concrete penetrates the fleece during the concreting process and fills it with cement paste. This requires the correct consistency in classes F2-F6. During the hardening process, the fresh concrete adheres to the surface of the fleece, so forming a durable mechanical bond with the structure and enveloping the concrete construction like a thick layer of skin.

Preventing lateral water underflow

The unique grid seal technology prevents lateral water underflow. The grid structure of the sheet membrane waterproofing system is filled with a polyolefin sealant. In the event of damage to the waterproofing membrane, any water ingress is trapped in a mini ‘compartment’ designed to block lateral underflow into the composite waterproofing system. Water can only infiltrate the structure if a crack or fault in the concrete occurs at the same spot as any damage to the membrane. But even if this happens, it is very easy to remedy with a bore packer injection.

To ensure flawless waterproofing of the new archive building, following installation of SikaProof A, all structural features such as pipe conduits, tie holes and floor/wall joints were closed using the Tricoflex adhesive system – another product from the Sika Germany range. This system is composed of highly flexible Tricoflex TPE sealing strips and the 2-component epoxy resin glue FU 60. The two systems Tricoflex and SikaProof A are a perfect combination for durable, secure waterproofing.

Historic records will be lastingly protected

After completion of all the various operations, the new State Archive of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Nuremberg is completely surrounded by an impermeable waterproofing barrier. Thanks to the SikaProof A fresh concrete composite sheet membrane waterproofing system, the building and the church’s priceless historic records will be lastingly protected against dampness and secondary damage.

Learn more about the SikaProof A system