Rising high above the Moravian Gate valley, Helfštýn Castle is the second largest complex in the Czech Republic right after Prague Castle. Helfštýn was established in the 14th century. In 2014 the Renaissance palace ruins had to close down due to the severe safety hazards such as falling masonry and remains degradation.
▼城堡鸟瞰，aerial view of the castle © BoysPlayNice
The primary requirement of the castle owner; Olomouc Region, was to renovate the palace along with the construction of a new roof. The National Heritage Institute insisted on the preservation of the building in the state of a ruin. The roof was allowed only partially, and it could only go as high as the level of the peripheral walls.
▼项目航拍顶视图，top view of the castle © BoysPlayNice
The project planning was rather unique. The 3D model based on thousands of photographs from a drone allowed us to map all the types of plaster and masonry modifications.
▼局部航拍图，local top view of the castle © BoysPlayNice
We aspired to go beyond the technical reconstruction assignment. We strived to compliment the historical building with the contemporary architecture that would focus on both practical use as well as gaining an aesthetic appeal.
▼城堡入口，entrance of the castle © BoysPlayNice
In order to immerse the visitors in the historical development of the original renaissance palace we inserted new sightseeing routes into the already existing gaps in the ruins, connecting the ground floor with the newly accessible higher levels of the palace. Newly added contemporary elements are clearly recognizable in the historical construction. We worked with three basic materials, one for each level of the building. The roofing is made of glass on steel beams, the staircases and footbridges have been made of corten steel and the ground floor paths are made of polished concrete.
▼城堡内院，courtyard of the castle © BoysPlayNice
▼耐候钢栈道与原始围墙齐平，Corten Footbridges on the top of the original walls © BoysPlayNice
What once used to be a roof has now become the new sightseeing route. Being this close to the construction details of the original palace and as high as the top of the walls allows the public to admire the historical significance of the sight and the sheer views of the surrounding region.
▼耐候钢栈道概览，overall of the corten footbridges © BoysPlayNice
▼由屋顶的耐候钢栈道看周边优美环境，viewing the surrounding beautiful environment from the corten footbridges on the roof top © BoysPlayNice
It was crucial to choose a material that would be timeless. Corten is a special iron alloy that undergoes a corrosion, matures and matches the texture of the old historical walls. Moreover, Helfštýn Castle is well-renowned for its iron craftsmanship tradition, therefore it made a perfect sense to choose corten to work with.
▼室外楼梯与栏杆也采用了耐候钢，corten is also used for outdoor stairs and balustrades © BoysPlayNice
▼栈道细部，detail of the corten footbridges © BoysPlayNice
▼锈蚀的耐候钢表面与古老的城墙相互呼应，the corroded corten-steel surface echoes the ancient wall © BoysPlayNice
On the ground floor we designed a network of marching areas and pavements from precise smooth pre-cast concrete boards laid down into individual areas. Pre-cast concrete is defined by rigorously straight Corten steel profiles that create a distance from uneven and irregular walls. The area between precise profile and irregular walls is dumped by gravel that highlights both and conciliates irregularity with uncompromising straight forefront.
▼俯视一层地面上的混凝土小路，overlook the concrete path on the ground floor © BoysPlayNice
▼预制混凝土板与粗糙的原始石砌墙面之间留出一段距离并填满砾石，a distance dumped by gravel between the walls and Pre-cast concrete © BoysPlayNice
The flat glass roofs have been inserted in between the walls of the ruins. The wide-open sky was the key inspiration when choosing the material for the roof. Using glass provides perfect day light conditions to the interior of the palace. We have chosen to work with the sanded glass for a couple of reasons. It is easy on the maintenance and the flat dispersed light compliments the exhibitions inside the palace. The chapel roof was an exception. The clear glass roof symbolizes heaven quite literally.
▼玻璃平屋顶镶嵌在城堡废墟的墙壁上，the flat glass roofs have been inserted in between the walls of the ruins © BoysPlayNice
We have put a roof on five chosen chambers only. The corten footbridges serve as a roof for the staircases. We intentionally left out some of the spaces in order to enhance the spirit of the impressive ruins and encourage the visitors to look up to the sky.
▼磨砂玻璃将光线均匀的分散开来，使室内展览空间变得更加柔和，the flat dispersed light compliments the exhibitions inside the palace © BoysPlayNice
Past and Present
Our concept is based on the respect towards the historical building and it pursues a major effort to preserve the castle’s authentic character. The palace gained an attractive sightseeing route that allows the visitors to learn about the building history and enjoy the picturesque views from the footbridges on the upper levels of the castle what once used to be a roof. The contemporary architecture does not compete with the historical building, rather it creates a cohesive unit in which all the elements, old and new go hand in hand.
▼楼梯间，staircase © BoysPlayNice
▼夜景，night view © BoysPlayNice
▼总平面图，master plan © atelier-r
▼一层平面，F1 plan © atelier-r
▼二层平面，F2 plan © atelier-r
▼三层平面，F3 plan © atelier-r
▼屋顶平面，roof plan © atelier-r
▼剖面图，sections © atelier-r
Author：Miroslav Pospíšil, principal architect
Studio address：tř. Spojenců 748/20, 779 00 Olomouc, Czech Republic
Co-author：Martin Karlík, principal project manager
Project location：Helfštýn by Týn nad Bečvou
GPS 49.5186031N, 17.6287803E
Project country：Czech Republic
Built-up Area：1370 m2
Gross Floor Area：3000 m2
Usable Floor Area：1340 m2
Plot size：2050 m2
Client’s website www.olkraj.cz
Collaborator Design team：
Robert Randys, Lucie Rohelová, Adéla Tomečková, Milena Koblihová, Daria Johanesová / atelier-r
Structural stability of historical constructions: Ladislav Klusáček, www.fce.vutbr.cz
Structural stability of newly inserted constructions: Jan Lukáš, www.lostade.cz
Rehabilitation of the damp parts of historical walls: Pavel Fára, www.cubus.cz
Contractors: HOCHTIEF CZ and ARCHATT PAMÁTKY
Steel and corten construction: Zámečnictví Sloupský
Glass construction: Bubeník 1913
Concrete floors: AAP hranice
stone / historical masonry bricks / historical masonry concrete / foundations’ strengthening, ground level floors steel / joists and beams of newly inserted footbridges corten / beams, floors, cladding of the newly inserted footbridges glass / roofing and banisters of a part of newly inserted components
Products and Brands
corten – RedSteel — UnionOcel concrete lights / courtyard of the palace — Viabizzuno plastering, grouting / outer and inner walls of the palace — Tubag hydroisolation plasters / floors of the palace — Remmers