- Design Team : Maruša Zorec, Žiga Ravnikar, Matjaž Bolčina, Katja Saje, Tadej Bolta, Klara Bohinc, Andraž Keršič
- Collaborators : Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia - Marlenka Habjanič, Svjetlana Kurelac, Goričko Nature Park -
- Country : Slovenia
Text description provided by the architects. Castle Grad is one of the biggest castles in Slovenia. It lies in the northeastern part of the country and is very well connected with both neighbouring countries Austria and Hungary. It is a huge structure. Legend says it has 365 rooms, equal to 365 days of the year in three storeys developed around a central two-level courtyard.
The renovation of castle Grad is a long-term process. It started ten years before our studio got involved and used many diverse approaches to save and stabilize the ruined structure. Our small interventions punctually refresh the existing space and generate new functions.
The existing castle structure encircling the double-leveled courtyard and surrounding it by a vaulted corridor. On the second floor, the corridor runs all around and binds the existing and newly renovated spaces into a whole. Along the semi-renovated arcade hallway there are some abandoned spaces, temporarily used for exhibitions, new reconstructed spaces with no function, and some recently renovated rooms with sleeping facilities, wedding hall, salon, and small museum spaces. The exhibition is dedicated to the nature and cultural landscape of the Landscape park Goričko to which the castle belongs. A year ago also the chapel was renovated, in front of it, there is a small exhibition space presenting the castle's history.
The chapel is a beautiful existing space, it was left almost untouched, frescoes that were discovered are marking the sacred role of the space. Space is used for concerts and other events.
Because of the financial problems, the idea to revitalize the whole structure seems more and more unreal. But it became obvious through the use of the spaces it is possible to keep it alive also in all the diverse spaces. So the whole structure today works as a collage of different renovation approaches and shows us also all the stages of its ruined condition. Through that, the castle is a showcase of time passing through architecture and proves that life does not need much for events to happen.
The construction was mostly stabilized and done before us. All recent construction interventions were planned to stabilize the existing structure further to enable the new function in the renovated rooms.
The existing structure presents different layers of time and is an interesting palimpsest from gothic to recent past. New materiality follows the existing one but still tries to distinguish in slight differentiation.
Kalk plaster, sandstone, and oat wood are the essential materials of the new. With the existing chromatic of brick, ruined plaster walls, and ceramic they mix into a livable structure of old and new.