RECONSTRUCTION & RENOVATION
Edo Ravnikar jr., Miha Kerin, Majda Kregar
The castle renovation consistently follows the guideline focused on the maximum exploitation of the historic space for public use, which call for a space equipped with aptly concealed contemporary technologies that enable versatile uses of the structure..
Sections G, F, E and D are phased additions from the 14th and 15th century to the 12th century fortress wall. Initially, the structure G served as a hall for nobility meetings, dubbed “Langestube” or “the long room”. In part of this section’s ground floor were prison cells while the living areas were on the second floor. The very first addition of a section to the defence wall from the 14th century was destroyed almost completely. Left were only three levels of the defence corridor beginning with the passageways with slits and defence windows along the defence wall. Extensive investigation and reconstruction works were needed to restore the original state.
The reconstruction of Palatium’s new Long room enables the versatile use of space, from events, exhibitions and receptions to drama and musical performances, which are made possible by the various stage arrangements and the available stage equipment and lighting.
The Estates Hall in the sections E-D is a group of smaller spaces designed for simpler programmes in conjunction with the Palatium.
The ground floor space encompasses a vestibule with the cloakrooms for the entire set of halls while the service rooms are in the basement under the courtyard on the archaeologically sterile terrain. They are connected by an elevator and a staircase.
The more complex functions of the Palatium Hall are supported by concealed technical equipment: power-driven retractable stage boards can be lowered into the space above the vaults under the floor. The fly system is incorporated onto the roof beams with electric motors accommodated in the attic. Thus, the hall space is clear of the theatre systems and any other technical equipment.
The elements of the architectural heritage that had been uncovered in the course of the conservation investigations were more or less well preserved but some barely recognisable (oriels, defence slits, passageways, stairs, etc.). They were carefully restored, completed or reconstructed with the use of modern technology and original materials following an innovative method by which the original structure of the walls could be established. For this purpose a computer-aided method based on comparative analyses of a number of related materials from other locations was used.
A structural anti-seismic reinforcement of the wall shell was thoroughly but inconspicuously executed using innovative procedures involving built-in pre-stressed vertical and horizontal rods.
The vestibule (Section F) positioned at the junction of the Baroque spaces and the Gothic tower is vertically opened up so as to bring forward within the interior the entire former courtyard façade of the Gothic tower with its defence passageways, reconstructed portals and a portion of its original roof. An interesting juxtaposition of exposed roof-covering materials within the space also bears evidence of the historical growth of the castle complex.