The Bishop’s castle Chur was first mentioned in official records under the name “antiquum palatium episcopi” in the year 1200. However, it is highly likely that its origins date back to the 11th century, when the Marsöl Tower was the first of five towers of the fortification to be constructed. Despite extensive conversion and repair work over the following centuries, parts of the original construction have been preserved and give an insight into the history of the castle. Apart from the Marsöl Tower, a Roman door casement in the basement of the south wing that has been preserved to this day bears witness to the castle’s origins. The castle also contains valuable evidence of architectural history , which not only impressively tells the story of the castle, but also of the city of Chur.
The overall project that was developed implements the specifications of the utilization plan in the present historic buildings of the Bishop’s castle. The complexity of this task required a step-by-step approach that allowed repeated checks of the effects of the planning and architectural work on the building structure.
In a first step at the pre-project stage, concepts were considered that were aimed at the best possible use of available space. Based on the resulting areas of intervention in the historic building substance, additional insights were gained into construction history and art history, but also statics and building equipment in an investigative phase. These were used to revise and optimise the pre- project.
The construction work was split into seven phases, the first two of which have now been completed.
Apart from a new development with a emergency staircase that complies with regulations and an elevator that is large enough to transport goods too, the offices of the episcopalian administration will be concentrated on the upper floors of the “Weiherhaus”. The position of the lift also allows the simultaneous development of the various levels of the “Weiherhaus” and the adjourning north wing of the castle. The sanitary facilities, which are available on each floor, were also placed in this main part of the building. From an architectural point of view, the new staircase also enhances the development of the adjacent north wing and the Marsöl tower, which form one of the oldest wings of the building.
All building maintenance equipment will be newly arranged on the ground floor which does not have a basement. Besides the cloakrooms for external staff, the laundry with drying room and linen room as well as the workshop and the custodian’s office are also located here.
The offices were refurbished with new ceiling, wall and floor coverings. In addition, the technical installations were brought up to modern standards. The existing windows were thermally optimised with new double glazing. Seamless BituTerrazo® flooring was installed in all access areas including the commonly accessible areas on the ground floor. Its properties as well as many design options made it possible to join all traffic and meeting areas and enhance them at the same time.