The project consists of redesigning the space enclosed by St. Michael's Chapel, the Old Court, the Pilgrims' Hospice and the Granary. It is surrounded by buildings of architectural and historical value: the former warehouse (Stiftkeller), the old stone mason's house (Steinmetzhaus), Castel S. Angelo, the historical gardens and the medieval walls. In the recent past, this open space has been used as a car park for visitors to the abbey.
The challenge was to transform this 'non-place' into a space with its own identity. The site needed an intervention to restore the relationship between the monuments and their environment, but also to combine the tranquillity of a religious place with the liveliness of a village square which is also the entrance to a complex housing a conference centre, a student house, a museum, a wine cellar and shops. In addition, the municipality requested a space for local associations.
Firstly, the level of the square was lowered by one and a half metres to reach its historical level. This allowed the buildings to be restored to their original architectural configuration and to recover the correct proportions between built and unbuilt. Secondly, a star-shaped cobblestone was designed to create an axis leading to the historic buildings; this intervention, combined with the slope, creates a convergence of the buildings towards the centre, thus emphasising the unity of the place and giving visitors an enveloping feeling. The centre of the square is further emphasised by a lowered octagonal steel plate, an 'impluvium'. In summer it is used as a fountain.
An event stage has been discreetly integrated with a system of terraces, created on the lines of the historic gardens. The terraces conceal storage areas containing materials for the performances. In addition, an anchorage system for roller blinds has been integrated into the paving to create a covered environment when needed, whose temporariness and lightness limit the invasiveness of the delicate context. Finally, a wooden terrace has been installed in front of the Stiftkeller as a place to relax.
Material Used :
The dominant material is granite, a recurring stone in the construction of the abbey, coming from local quarries. Different surface treatments and the use of blocks of different sizes have made it possible to characterise the different architectural elements.
1. Construction company: Oberegger s.r.l.
2. Pavement work: Baldessarri A. & Figlio s.n.c.
3. Electrical system: Elektro Unterthiner di Unterthiner Martin
4. Heating, cooling & sanitary facilities: Hermann Heiztechnik s.a.s. di Franz Mail & C.
5. Locksmith: Obergasser s.r.l.
6. Lighting: Eurolicht s.r.l.