The complex of the infrastructure courtyard of the Plasy Monastery has regained its original Baroque appearance

 plasy2 tabulka

Plasy Monastery, Plzeňská 2, Plasy
Description of work:
Restoration of facade
Restoration of stone elements
National Technical Museum
Implementation: 2014 - 2015


Work is in full swing in stage II of the "Building Heritage Centre in Plasy – monument renewal of the Infrastructure Courtyard complex". From early morning the construction site is a hive of activity by craftsmen and restoration workers from the HOCHTIEF-GEMA ART GROUP.
The first fruits of their work can be seen under the scaffolding. The façades are being gradually reconstructed on the basis of the results of investigation of the original colour scheme. The roofing of the individual buildings is also mostly complete. Visitors will thus be able to see how the Infrastructure Courtyard looked in the 17th and 18th centuries. Ing. Václava Benešová and Ing. Jan Drӧssler of GEMA ART GROUP a.s. participated in the project and can tell us more about how it progressed.

Ing. Václava Benešová

benesova1. You have been part of GEMA ART GROUP a.s. since the end of 2013 and thus the project of monument renovation of the Infrastructure Courtyard complex is the first project you have implemented. Did you ever visit Plasy in the past?

Yes, I had already visited the monastery. It made a good impression on me – it is a complex of really valuable buildings; at the same time, it is rather far away from anywhere. Plzeň, Prague, Most and Karlovy Vary are all quite distant.

2. What was the condition of the building at the beginning of the project?
We have some photographs that tell us a lot. The monument was really in a state of considerable disrepair.

3. What do you enjoy most about this work?
I enjoy everything, and especially building C – the wagon shed. It was in dreadful condition, in danger of collapsing. This wagon shed is marvellous, especially because of its half-timbered construction. But things are very hectic here; we are happy if we manage to find time for lunch during the day.

4. Are any special procedures used here in the construction work?
Yes. We use traditional technologies. The material composition of the plaster and masonry materials (mortar, mortar ingredients) consists of only lime, sand and water. Boiled linseed oil is the only component that we add as a plastifier. Linseed oil – this is a sort of natural base that plastifies. It is rather greasy, so that it nicely expands the mortar. We do not purchase any commercially prepared materials. We simply have river-bed sand, lime and water delivered. No cement or other additives of a more modern character are allowed!

5. The origins of the Infrastructure Courtyard date back to the time of establishment of the monastery. Romanesque windows were discovered here in the past. Has anything else been found?
There are lots of things, such as Gothic windows. Archaeological research discovered cobblestone paving in front of building C and beautiful stone paving from a later period. And the profiles that the archaeologists discovered indicate that settlements existed here before the Romanesque period. At that time, these people already had well-designed things, such as drainage channels. This shows that they were certainly not stupid.

6. Which parts of the monument do you think are most valuable from a structural – historical point of view?
In addition to those that I have already mentioned, certainly the historical roof beams. We have excellent carpenters from a subcontracting company in Jihlava – Josef Kocián and Mr. Rozsypal. We reinforce the roof beams. We are slightly behind schedule, but this is something that cannot be hurried. This building has existing for around 400 years and thus we must exert the greatest care in our work.

7. How do you like the overall concept of the National Technical Museum which plans to open a Construction Heritage Centre here next year?
I support this, I think it is a great idea. I hope the project is successful and is retained, although I am somewhat concerned about the not very fortunate site and the distance from larger cities.


Ing. Jan Drӧssler

drossler1. This is the sixth year that you have been working in GEMA ART GROUP a.s.; which projects have you worked on?
These were primarily reconstruction of the National Monument in Vítkov, restoration of sculptures at Invalidovna, renewal of the outer surface of the Bečov Upper Castle and the 10 Stars Project – Revitalisation of Jewish Monuments in the Czech Republic. This project encompassed the synagogues in Březnice and Nová Cerekev, the rabbi's house and synagogue in Polná, and the Old Synagogue and Shame's house in Plzeň. It also included restoration of the sculptural and stonework decorations in the Flower Garden in Kroměříž.

2. Which of the above contracts was most interesting for you personally?
Bečov was very interesting, especially its technical aspects; reconstruction was performed here by conservation methods. The team of workers was very pleasant to work with and cooperation was really enjoyable. And also the historical Jewish sites, which were something quite new for me. But the Jewish monuments were most interesting, and we were able to at least learn something about the habits and traditions of a nation with a history reaching back many thousands of years ...

3. Extensive reconstruction and restoration work is being carried out in the Infrastructure Courtyard. What exactly is the role of GEMA ART GROUP?
GEMA ART GROUP is concerned mainly with arts and crafts and restoration work. This encompasses renewal of the original façades of the individual buildings, including the Baroque gable on building E and restoration of stone, metal and other historically valuable elements.

4. What preceded the actual restoration work on the monument?
The HOCHTIEF-GEMA ART GROUP has been working here since the winter of 2014. Before any work could be carried out, detailed archaeological research was performed, with investigation of the original canals, historical wells and the system of drainage of the entire Infrastructure Courtyard.

5. What effect did the monument have on you when you first saw it?
I said to myself that the Communist regime had left it to us in dreadful condition, the premises were in a state of great disrepair because various agricultural and storage spaces were located here with disastrous consequences for the monument.

6. What is the most important task at the present time?
Before winter, all the roofs must be finished, all the windows and doors must be fitted into openings in the outer jacket, and the outer surfaces of the buildings must be enclosed so that we can work in the interior during the winter.

7. What has so far been most difficult in this project?
The carpentry work on the roof beams has certainly been most difficult; this was performed by the original technique of joining beams – carpentry pins, notches. We did not employ any dowels or bolts and used beams with "aged" surfaces, with maximum use of the existing beam material.

8. Ing. Benešová told us that interesting archaeological discoveries had been made. What interested you most during the work?
Building E is certainly historically most valuable; this is the main infrastructure building. During work on uncovering the Baroque façade, the original painting was discovered – a sundial, the Imperial eagle symbol, and also plasters smoothed using marble dust.

PHOTOGALLERY - work in progress:
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