Vergilius Chapel/ Wien Museum

Vergilius Chapel/ Wien Museum

BWM Architekten und Partner
Stephansplatz, 1010 Wien, Austria | View Map
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Opening up of a sacred space.

BWM Architekten und Partner as Architects

The listed Gothic architectural jewel was made accessible to the public through a new direct entrance and preserved as a place of contemplation.
The Vergilius Chapel was discovered in 1973 during the construction of the Vienna subway network and integrated into the Stephansplatz subway station. This capella subterranea(subterranean chapel) of the Magdalenenkapelle (the outline of which is still visible on the pavement of the Stephansplatz)dates back to 1250 and is one of the best-preserved Gothic interiors in all of Vienna. It may originally have been intended as a chapel for burials, but by the 14th century it was already being used as a crypt for a wealthy Viennese mercantile family. The chapel was adorned with Byzantine-influenced crosses, and an altar for Saint Vergilius was installed.

Museum shop and entrances
The subterranean Vergilius Chapel was rediscovered during the construction of the Vienna subway network and is one of the locations belonging to Wien Museum. Small structural adaptations were necessary to make the well-preserved Gothic structure accessible to the general public. In a first phase, BWM planned a raised floor for the building facility system and a new design concept with an adjoining museum shop. An additional access leads down two winding staircases from the shop to the subterranean chapel.

A space for contemplation
After entering the eight-metre-high room, visitors move freely on a podium that keeps a distance to the existing walls. The chapel remains completely free of further interventions apart from the fixtures. It is a space for contemplation. "The steel construction in uniform black deliberately brings a modern component into the chapel and stands out in contrast to the medieval masonry."

A compact permanent exhibition about the history of the chapel and medieval Vienna follows in the adjoining room. Information and music from the time of its creation can be accessed via a media guide system. The new entrance from the underground passage houses the shop and the ticket office. In order not to distract the view into the chapel, these additions are also uniformly black.

With this access, a small but very finely conceived intervention in a historical building has been achieved, which gives the chapel space a new quality.

Museum shop and access Chapel room and installation of a small showroom
Completion 12/2015

Wien Museum
BWM Team
Johann Moser, Hubert Meyer, Yuriy Pryveda, Neda Stepien

Image credit
BWM Architekten
Wien Museum/ Foto: Kollektiv Fischka/Kramar mit Sabine Wolf
Project partners
Porr Hochbau AG, Vienna

Metallbau Heidenbauer, Bruck a.d. Mur

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