Project: 2008-2009, Naskov (Ventrinje) Manor-House, also called Naskov dvorec, Maribor
Floor area , 1750 sq m
Photographers: Miran Kambič, Maruša Zorec, Matjaz Bolčina

When we walked for the first time through the passage from the street (Vetrinjska ulica) to the courtyard of Naskov dvorec, we never imagined what stories lay hidden behind the abandoned walls. Through the gradual demolition of several decades old conversions, removing fill and careful uncovering of countless coats of paint and plaster, the original form of the manor slowly emerged from the chaotic structure of the existing one. Traces of a former hall, dimensions of the colonnade rooms, old stone and wooden tiles and gothic fragments slowly assembled a mosaic of different architectural styles that forms the complex structure of the building and that today stands as a testament to Maribor’s rich history.

Vetrinjski dvorec, which was built on the edge of the eastern city wall, sadly no longer reflects its former prominent location. However, its former importance is still evident in the interior – in the oldest rooms on the ground floor of the western wing and in the majestic design of a row of newer rooms on the first floor. We wanted to uncover the building’s original structure and integrate it into the new design so it will offer a frame for new life and activities. The rooms are connected with each other and open. They are also connected to the courtyard, which serves as a kind of external room, the centre of the whole building and the most pleasant part of the complex. Facing southwards, it catches rays of sun and carries them to the interior. The main entrance to the building will face Castle Square (Grajski trg). The visitor will be able to walk through the oldest rooms on the ground floor and experience them as they originally were, from a raised platform.

The way leads through individual rooms intended for exhibition and trade to the courtyard. The exposed arcade element of the eastern wing integrates the main entrance into the hall complex that is located on the first floor. The café on the ground floor will face the central courtyard and seek the shelter of a shadow under the old nut tree. Offices and a smaller reception room will be located on the first floor. They will be interconnected and will open into a joint corridor that will be presented in its original form. The attic will feature two residential studios where artists from all over the world will be able to stay and have the opportunity to display their works in the numerous corners of the manor.

For us architects, the experience of the implementation process is what stays with us in the long run, and renovating Naskov dvorec was one of the most pleasant experiences we have ever had. During the year of renovation, our team of enthusiasts sensed the soul of these walls and we sincerely hope that the generation that will live here will sense it as well…”

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