|The project involved the renovation and extension of the Auersperg Palace,
which is located in the heart of the protected historical city centre. The Auersperg palace is among the most important remnants of pre-baroque architecture in Ljubljana. For the experts it is also interesting because it stands on an interesting and protected archaeological site. While preparing to renovate the palace large-scale archaeological research was conducted here. The palace and the plot have a very rich history dating from the prehistoric period to Roman and medieval times. Each era added something to the building. During the course of history the purpose of the palace changed several times, such that the existing organization of the floor plan was not suitable for hosting a museum program. The spaces were labyrinthine and disconnected. The palace was in a very poor state when the competition was set; it was almost at breaking point. In the previous years it had housed a library, archives and a small museum. The weight of these programs was too much for the deteriorating structure. The brief of the client,
which was Ljubljana City, was to make a city museum inside the entire building and to open up the archeology located under the palace and courtyard for viewing.
Connection between the old and new is a symbolic spiral - the circular walk of the visitor which is expressed in different forms throughout the building.
The Walk of the Visitor
The second spiral functions as a roof over the archaeology from level –3 m to level zero, rising above the courtyard and becoming a level balcony, thus affording different views of the courtyard and the palace.
The third spiral continues inside the palace on level +4 m as a balcony overlooking the main hall. Ascending up the old staircase, the spiral becomes a suspended ceiling (at +7.5 m), containing the whole service infrastructure: climate control, diffuse lighting, and the sound and fire protection system. The suspended spiral continues through the rooms, taking the visitor through the exhibition.
The Spiral shaped ceiling also leads the visitor through original rooms to the last floor and back to the entry foyer.
The Auersperg palace stands at the southwest part of Novi trg (New Square) dating from the 14th century. Archaeological and construction research has shown that the shaping of the floor plan of the palace was until the 17th century dictated by three older structures, which had stood on the premises before the 16th century. The first building documented in the archives and the core of the later Auersperg palace is from 1547. Baron Herbert VII von Auersperg bought the building in 1575. The two-storey corner building on the crossing of Gosposka and Salendrova streets was L-shaped and had Renaissance features. However,
Soon after 1709 the new baroque parts of the palace were adapted again. On the north side of the former arcade courtyard they gradually built a new wing, a new staircase and two large halls or salons. Construction dragged on well into the twenties of the 18th century. In the spirit of the time the problem of communication was solved by building a new linking tract on the three arcaded corridors,
In 1935 the City commune of Ljubljana bought the Auersperg palace for the needs of its new-founded museum. In one part of the building the museum displayed its first collection in 1937. In the next couple of decades and after the war the museum shared the palace with many other institutions, such as library and archives. In this time some parts of the palace were changed with no spatial and architectural quality.
Finally at the end of the last century renovating the palace became a priority due to static decay of the building. An integral static, earthquake-proof and functional renovation of the Auersperg building, the home of the city museum of Ljubljana started in 2000; concrete was injected into the structural stone walls to reinforce them, damaged wooden floor structure was replaced by reinforced concrete elements to allow earthquake stabilization and pilots were inserted under foundation to allow opening of the underground floor for archeology excavations.
The goals of the renovation were to preserve the main elements of the palace and its predecessors and present them in a proper way. New architectural elements which were added due to objective necessity should emphasize the importance of the preserved architecture of former centuries. The renovated building in all aspects respects the needs of a modern museum focused on its visitors.
The new intervention uses minimal elements such as frameless windows and doors and neutral local materials. This allowed for a seamless integration of the new within the old and also enhanced and preserved the existing palace structures. The use of minimal elements also helped to revive some of the past features of the building. Passages looking onto the courtyard would have initially been designed as outdoor areas, with the only protection from the elements being the roof. These passages were later closed up and the arched openings reduced to small windows. The competition proposal re-opened these which not only brings in more natural light but also allows the visitor to appreciate the architecture as it was originally designed. Frameless arcade glazing is attached via a small frame in between the two glass elements. Frame rests on the pillars as opposed to cutting into them so there is no lasting damage.
|Project team :
Competition design team :
Design years 1998-2000
Construction years 2000-2004
Cost 6.71M €
Photo @Tomaz Gregoric