The current headquarters of the National Historical Archive was opened on 13 October 1953 and was designed and purpose-built to house the Archive. It is located at one of the highest points in Madrid, within the complex of buildings belonging to the Higher Council for Scientific Research, on land belonging to the Institución Libre de Enseñanza (Free Education Institute) and the Students' Halls. It is of El Escorial inspiration, a style that was very popular in times of Franco, and is the work of Manuel Chumillas.
Architecturally, it consists of two well defined sections. The front section, rectangular in shape, houses the public areas and the institution's work area. It has three floors, also rectangular, one of which is below ground level. Overlapping, to the south, is the section used for the repository, which was designed as a perfect square around a central patio.
Today, the public and working areas of the Archive cover an area of 3,000 square metres. There is a reception and registration area for researchers and the public, together with a room for consulting documents with sixty spaces and a copying room. The auditorium, which holds 80 people, is also on the main floor. The basement houses the restoration workshops, photocopying and microfilm services and IT systems, whilst the two floors above ground level are used for the archive's work and the administrative management of the centre.
The repository of the National Historical Archive has seven levels, six with fixed shelving and one with moveable shelving; there is also a map room and a repository for special documents. Each level has floor space of approximately 858 square metres, which provides space for around 42 kilometres of shelving. It is currently saturated.