There is a long tradition of building archives in France. Under the influence of Michel Duchein, many were built as towers between 1965 and 1985; many of these now require updating, specifically because of problems with thermal insulation. Subsequent building was lower-rise. A variety of approaches are in evidence today, taking different approaches to sustainability. Studies into conditions for storage areas have resulted in the revision of environmental control standards and studies into load-bearing have allowed economies in building material. Old buildings with thick walls often provide good conditions for archival storage and are sustainable because they reuse of existing materials. In addition users and staff benefit from the architectural merits of such accommodation. In contemporary buildings there needs to be a recognition of the differences between passive and positive energy buildings as well as the difference between solar and photovoltaic energy. It remains the case however that sustainable buildings must be buildings which we also wish to preserve; even today, architecture cannot be reduced to questions of sustainable development.