Stift Klosterneuburg

Project Description

_ Uncovering and providing access to the public of specific, baroque parts of the monastery

_ Addition of hypermodern elements which complement the baroque site

_ The primary planned light tracing has been rediscovered and reactivated

_ Assembling of a modern museum into the monastery

A highly Baroque torso

The specific parts of the monastery which have been worked on (Sala Terrena, the gallery which introduces the two storeyed building, including the following gangway system as well as the lower Chorherrentreppe  [-stairway up to the ground floor] and outdoor facilities – see plan) mark a singular position in Europe: The Italian master builder Donato Felice D’Allio conceived Stift Klosterneuburg according to the example of the Spanish Escorial in Madrid. The building process has been halted tough when the client – Kaiser Karl the Sixth – died in 1740. The ongoing work and building process literally stopped at that point and remained unfinished ever since.

Wild assemblings, bonded windows, technical assemblings and intermediate ceilings which have been done during the following decades pushed the original conception into the background.

The condition of the above mentioned specific parts of the monastery has been well but everything was completely built up, hidden and not recognizable before the work started. Huge parts of the building (e.g. the baroque domed hall – the Sala Terrena which has been used as a storage room for many years) haven’t been approachable by the public.

Trained stone cutters, masons and bricklayers restored the building using traditional methods. The stone – and brickwork has been cleaned with the Joss method and partly corrected. The site hasn’t been finished in the meaning of completing the baroque concept but to show the unfinished, raw building site. Only small damaged parts have been renovated / repaired and a terrazzo floor has been laid.

The primary planned light tracing has been rediscovered and reactivated.

Especially the artistically accentuated, natural light tracing of the rooms which are sunk into the slope, are responsible for the clear win of spatial quality as it shows the hidden structure of the raw brick building – behind the common perception of baroque ornamentation. It so offers a view behind the curtain.

It only took little time to open the windows of the locked and hidden Sala Terrena, which has been used as a storage room for a long time. The big windows of the Sala Terrena received reflecting lamellas, which can be manually served and steered.

The light follows the baroque spatial choreography, defines and rebuilds rooms, completes the light concept which has been composed centuries ago. Not much in this room has been changed by Georg Driendl, only added: Furniture for shop and cash desk – steel elements made from 10mm steel plates, three-dimensionally bent, have been put into Sala Terrena. Those ton-heavy constructions have been built in a dockyard in Istanbul, its form is based on the “laying eight” – the symbol for infinity. A signal for the baroque building site as the form also quotes the baroque double scroll. Due to the dynamic and elegant line of the chosen form, the past and the contemporary completion find themselves in a balanced dialogue.

If the visitor leaves Sala Terrena to enter the gangway system he / she will pass the view to the gallery which introduces the two-storey part of the building and enter the Wine- and Culture path where the newly built Seufzerbrücke (-bridge) is to be found too. The stations of the Wine- and Culture path consist of a modular plug-system, stainless steel.

The necessary functional installations of a modern museum (browned steel- / glass constructions) create fine accents in contrast to the original parts of the site. The lower Chorherrenstiege (-stairway) brings the visitor to the first floor with the newly opened gallery and the children’s atelier.

The overall cost of the project included 5 million euros. The relocation and transition of rooms which have been used as storage and for other purposes as well as infrastructural set ups marked the administrational difficulties.

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