Francis shaft

night time view of the new multi-purpose open public space in front of the main existing building offers terrific views to the city and is used throughout the day and night

view of the project location in 2014
technical heritage of the mercury mine displayed on the Gewerkenegg castle patio from 1958 to 1988
the biggest preserved steam machine in Europe, on display at Francis shaft today
site location
site analisys
the concept of new connection to the city
architectural concept sketch

main architecture concept for object refurbishment in three stages

construction concept of the existing building and attitude to the existing structure - building stays visually identical after the intervention
communication scheme
new open multi-purpose area and intentionally undefined space in front of the existing building
section through the programs, placed underneath the new open space

schematic section through the main existing building with added vertical tower

basement floor plan
ground level floor plan
longitudinal section 5-5
longitudinal section 3-3
section C-C

exhibition corridor in the new added basement level extension with ceiling daylight

basement multi-purpose lecture hall
mine shaft exit point and Kley's water pump exhibition area
ground floor in the new tower - walls can be opened to allow exterior space to merge with interior
passage from the new tower to the existing building

exhibition area in the existing building, acting as “machine for exhibiting machines”

ground floor of the main exhibition area in the existing building
scale model of the project
scale model of the project - dissasembled with revealed section


10/2014  I  master’s thesis  I  mentor: prof. Miloš Florijančič, u.d.i.a  I  co-mentor: doc. Mitja Zorc, u.d.i.a  I  co-mentor: dr. Matej Blenkuš, u.d.i.a.

The Plečnik Award for student Recognition 2015
National nominee for European Architecture Medals for The Best Diploma Projects for 2015

Idrija, a city of technical culture and a UNESCO site, deserves a quality presentation of its heritage and for that, it needs a suitable place to do so. More than five hundred years of mining in this area have left behind some priceless examples of European machine manufacturing from the end of the 19th century to early 20th century. Today, these machines are on exhibit at the complex of Francis’s Shaft, the only still operating mine shaft in the city. Mater’s thesis is dealing with a question of revitalizing industrial heritage and presenting the technical heritage of Idrija’s world-renowned known mercury mine.

The intervention takes up on the whole area of the shaft. The historical development resulted in many alterations to the main building and to the surroundings. The existing building was extended and partitioned from the inside with many small rooms several times. Furthermore, after the second war, the administrative building was built in front of the main building, covering almost half of its historical facade to the city. On top of that, the site suffers from not being connected to the city; therefore today the site attracts almost no visitors.

The new design aims to clear all the structures added over the course of time and to presenting just the main elements of the site. Open space in front of the existing building is used to host new program and also acts as a new entrance to the area. Moreover, due to the historical importance, the clear separation between the existing and the new must be achieved so that the whole context is readable and understandable.

The new institution with the exhibition of old mining machines targets to become one of the leading European actors in the field of technical museums. It emphasizes natural sciences with the added programs of the World center for Mercury and the Geological center. Those two programs are interlaced with the city and its history. The new design creates a relationship between all three main programs and besides them, adds an additional commercial program that also brings life and activity to the site at all times, day or night.

The newly designed complex will become one of the main tourist attractions in the city and would contribute to a better understanding of the whole story of the rich heritage of Idrija’s mercury mine.