The chapel of the Holy Cross, Prague Castle

Prague, realization

- reconstruction and renovation of interior of the chapel

- awards - Grand Prix 2011 - closer selection - kategory Reconstruction


The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Prague Castle´s second courtyard was erected in the mid 18th century in the early stages of the Theresian period remodelling of the Castle by architect Niccolo Paccassi. Based on a rectangular plan, Chapel was built between 1756 and 1767 by Anselmo Lurago. A century later, in 1850, 14 years after famous coronation ceremony of King of Bohemia, Ferdinand V. declared Prague Castle as the monarch´s permanent residence. During Ferdinand´s stay, he remodelled the Chapel and added a semi-circular sacristy. The interior was enhanced with rich detailing.

The Treasury of St. Vitus Cathedral, the largest church treasury, gathered in course of centuries in the Cathedral, is one of the most extensive and valuable in the world. During the preparation of the permanent exhibition it was necessary to envisage overall renovation of the Chapel. The first step involved repairs to the façade, including the conservation of stone statues and golden Cross. The next step involved remodeling all spaces surrounding the chapel’s nave . The restoration of the historic interior called upon a number of conservation specialists.

Reconstruction Design

Two large- span glazed walls were designed in the entry vestibule to divide the space. The glass elements serve simultaneously as part of the climactic system of the exhibition and as a means of identifying the space.

Realization of construction works concentrated on distribution of conditioned air. Historic hot air canal was analyzed in an archaeology survey and is reused in newly designed air-condition system of the Chapel, to enable to include in the exhibition artefacts sensitive to the microclimatic conditions. The flooring, not original, in the entry vestibule, connecting corridor and the south hall was removed in order to insert the heating elements as well as a new system of air-conditioning ducts. Božanov quarry sandstone was installed in place instead in all the spaces surrounding the nave.

In the nave of the Chapel space, the conditioned air is channeled in the grooves in the oratories at the first floor level from the above. The sun control of interior of the Chapel provides special textile shading, installed on all five large windows, to soften the western sunlight solar gains. An attention was given to design of electricity conducts, LED design for lighting of the artefacts and the security systems for the Chapel and the Treasury exhibit. The electricity required to light the artefacts in the glazed showcases is brought from above in cables stretched at the height of the oratories.

exhibition design