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Retranchement 5, Terezín

Photo: single-storey building with soft yellow façade with white elements; trees in the background
Facts and Figures
Company PORR a.s.
PrincipalTerezín – Město změny, zájmové sdružení právnických osob
LocationTerezín - Czech Republic
Type Revitalisation
Runtime02.2007 - 07.2008

New information and cultural centre in a historic building.

The reconstruction of the Retranchement 5 fortification in Terezín was put out to tender as a public contract. The client required a sensitive renovation with respect to the original design of the 19th century single-storey building. The original plans for the building date back to the year 1786.

Retranchement 5 is covered by a grassed earth rampart. Among other features, the property contains the parapet wall which is used to store defence cannons. The outer wall covering constitutes a rough brick wall construction. The exterior walls facing the inner courtyard are covered with lime plaster. The plinth, cornices and corner reinforcements are composed of sandstone blocks. The building includes casemate spaces with their distinctive vaulted ceilings. Numerous original elements from the construction period of the 19th century have been preserved, and these contribute to the authentic look of the structure. The defensive wall structure is heritage listed on historic, military history and historic construction grounds.

Post-renovation, Retranchement 5 now contains an accessible and visitor-friendly information and cultural centre. Several walls had to be demolished and new solid brick dividing walls constructed. New floors were constructed using historic “šancovky” clinker bricks. These were laid as a smooth brick layer in a sand bed. A section of the casemates’ floor covering was reconstructed using original lime marl natural stone floor tiles, and existing historic box windows were renovated. Sandstone from Hořice was used to replace the original window and door embrasures. In the vault area, new openings were built in and the clay filling and supporting layers for the grass roof were executed in the same style as the original roofs. All electrical and water pipes were renovated. A hot water channel, approx. 90cm deep and 1.2cm wide, runs through the middle of the floor plan. About half of the façade plaster was removed, and the façade was renovated and restored to its original condition.

One peculiarity of the property was the issue of the green roof, which necessitated particular specialist expertise. Every trace of green was removed from the roof, and the existing earth was excavated along a 4.5m wide strip. The parapet wall and chimneys were reconstructed. The waterproofing layer, protected with geotextile, was laid and then a new earth bulwark was created in a mixture of earth and clay from the original slope. Finally, a carpet of grass was laid over the entire width of the earth bulwark. The skylights in the roof were demolished, and the openings in the vault were walled in and coated with clay.