400-year-old building, part 2

In the Krkonose region there is a 400-year-old building with an exceptional history. The demanding reconstruction required the presence of several experts, and we were among them. Our task was to oversee the interior design of the museum-to-be.

So, first things first. What was the main goal of the reconstruction project, and how did it go?

First, it was necessary to save the dilapidated monument. The next step was to rebuild it into a museum and gallery. The wooden structure was infested with fungi and insects, the roof had asbestos, and the long-neglected interior was dilapidated. Although the building was in a horrible state, each piece of it had its story and its strong spirt could be felt everywhere. The building had been standing for 400 years and was waiting for a new chapter.

The goal of everyone involved in the project was clear: approach this exceptional structure with maximum respect. Whenever possible, technologies that accurately track historical practices were used. Everybody worked with humility and care on their tasks within the project, using techniques developed and proven over the centuries: Hand-split shingles and hand-made clay tiles for the roof, vintage tools used to work the building’s timber, etc.

"We proceeded with the utmost humility when designing the interior,” says Mirek. “All the necessary elements are understated so the beauty and simplicity of the log construction can stand out. Lighting, display elements, even the stoves and toilets… are all the result of a careful and considered design method. The goal was not to ‘stand out’ with our ideas, but to let the building be the star," adds Mirek.

The combination of traditional building procedures and the requirements of a modern museum was particularly challenging. For example, we had to figure out how to incorporate hidden underfloor heating and a unique air-circulating heating system into a four-century old building. Our work was guided by clear principles: a sensitive approach to all materials and solutions, and the principle that the building must still express the architectural feel of its time.

The work on Drevenka lasted nine years and the reconstruction costs were almost 1 million euros. The premises of the former inn have been transformed into a modern multi-purpose lecture room; the shops that once occupied the building host an information center today. On the first floor there is a space intended for an exposition of the town museum and gallery. The attic is also worth seeing; an exhibit of photographs from the reconstruction is installed there.

And in the next part of our saga? We are proud of the awards that this building has received. And we will show why archicraft means, among many other things, a true and deep love for honest craftsmanship.