Idrija mercury smelting plant

Arkova ulica 50

5280

Idrija, Slovenia

architetto

Aleš Hafner, univ.dipl.inž.arh. - Gea Consult
Mestni trg 5, 4220 Škofja Loka

Owner

Republic of Slovenia

User

Center za upravljanje z dediščino živega srebra
Bazoviška 2, Idrija
infohg@cudhg-idrija.si

Contact Details

Jana Podgornik
Posoški razvojni center
jana.podgornik@prc.si

Other Information

Visits
http://www.cudhg-idrija.si/en

Related publications
https://idrija.si/files/other/news/54/599691.pdf
smelting plant + visitor centre (entrance) © PRC
The diverse and unique industrial and technical heritage of Idrija’s 500-year-old mining history was inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List in 2012. One of the crucial parts of the mercury mine was the smelting plant, which stopped operating in 1995. Its renovation and renewal was a significant challenge in terms of financing and expertise. The energy renovation of the building was carried out in accordance with the possibilities and specifications of the building, which belongs to the technical cultural heritage. Today the building serves as a museum with a visitor center that was additionally extended to the lower part of the smelting plant. In 2020 it won the 2nd prize of the ‘Destination of Sustainable Cultural Tourism’ award under category of industrial heritage. The theme of the 2020 edition of Awards was ‘Special interest tourism development and promotion based on Cultural Heritage’. The Awards contest was open to tourist destinations across Europe, to showcase their results and outputs in sustainable cultural tourism under five selected categories. It is annualy organised by European Cultural Tourism Network.
Energy performance
no data available

Climate Zone DFc

Altitude 300 s.l.m.

HDD 250

Protection level Listed

Conservation Area:
Si

Level of Protection:
UNESCO World Heritage List, cultural monument of national importance

Building age 1945-1959

Year of last renovation:
2017

Building use Educational/Research

Building occupancy:
Unoccupied

Building area Net floor area [m²]:

Building typology:
industrial plant

Number of floors:
7

Basement yes/no:
Si

Number of heated floors:
1

Gross floor area [m²]:
0,0

NFA calculation method:

Construction type
Concrete masonry wall

External finish:
Rendered

Internal finish:
Plastered (on hard)

Roof type:
flat + single pitched roof

+ MORE - LESS
smelting plant + visitor centre (entrance) © PRC
smelting plant + visitor centre (entrance) © PRC
renovated smelting plant © PRC
renovated smelting plant © PRC
renovated smelting plant © PRC
renovated smelting plant © PRC
renovated smelting plant © PRC
renovated smelting plant © PRC
© PRC
© PRC
visitor centre © PRC
visitor centre © PRC
visitor centre © PRC
visitor centre © PRC
smelting plant (1991) © Mestni muzej Idrija
smelting plant (1991) © Mestni muzej Idrija
smelting plant before the renovation (2007) © Jani Peternelj
smelting plant before the renovation (2007) © Jani Peternelj
smelting plant before the renovation (2007) © Jani Peternelj
smelting plant before the renovation (2007) © Jani Peternelj
construction works - visitor centre (2015) © Tatjana Dizdarevič
construction works - visitor centre (2015) © Tatjana Dizdarevič
construction works - visitor centre (2015) © Tatjana Dizdarevič
construction works - visitor centre (2015) © Tatjana Dizdarevič
Reconstruction plan + new visitor centre © Rafael Bizjak
Reconstruction plan + new visitor centre © Rafael Bizjak

RENOVATION PROCESS

Architecture

BUILDING DESCRIPTION

The project comprised the reconstruction and extension of the existing ore separation facility and construction of a new building intended for reception of visitors and hosting a permanent exhibition 'From ore to mercury drops'. In the following, we will focus only on the building that has been the subject of renovation. The building is built and dimensioned accordingly to its industrial purposes. It is built as a massive concrete frame structure filled with bricks and windows. The extension made on the right side of the existing building is also modeled in the same way as existing structure. There are new connecting stairs between the ground floor, 1st and 2nd floor, which are made of reinforced concrete. There are also external stairs made of the same material, through which evacuation is possible. The stairs connecting the basement and the ground floor are made of steel. The entire building except the basement is additionally thermally insulated on the inside. The roof is made of reinforced concrete beams, to which a wooden substructure is attached. The asbestos roofing has been replaced with a new suitable corrugated roofing. The roof is thermally insulated. The window openings remained the same, and the windows were replaced with ALU windows with double glazing.
Urban context
The building is situated within the industrial area of Idrija. Part of the larger area was sold to another company after the mine stopped its operations. This changed significantly the former visual identity of the town.

HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE

ELEMENTS WORTHY OF PRESERVATION
The diverse and unique industrial and technical heritage of Idrija’s 500-year-old mining history that tells the story of mercury was inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List in 2012. Many mining facilities, machines, equipment and documents were preserved during the Idrija Mercury Mine’s closing down and liquidation process. One of the crucial parts of the mine that has not been renovated was the smelting plant, which was in danger of losing its protected properties due to its deteriorating state. The smelting plant of the Idrija Mercury Mine ceased to operate in 1995. The area of the monument covers the cableway end-station, the building of the ore separation and crushing plant, conveyor belts, collection silo, rotary furnace, smoke chamber, smoke pipelines and chimney, and the Špirek-Čermak furnace. The smelting plant represents the final phase of the mine’s development.
Heritage Value Assesment
Idrija was known for centuries as the second largest producer of mercury in the world. The mine has stopped with excavations in 1995 followed by the intention to have the industrial heritage listed on UNESCO list. Till 2012 the mine with industrial buildings and other facilities is inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List. In February 2014, the public institution Idrija Mercury Heritage Management Centre (CUDHg Idrija), took over the management of the smelting plant area from the Idrija Mercury Mine, Ltd. – in liquidation. They successfully applied to a call for proposals to co-finance the project ‘Idrija – smelting plant area of the Idrija mercury mine – 1st phase of reconstruction' under the EEA Financial Mechanism Programme. The goal of the project was to preserve the endangered cultural monument and enrich it with new content. The Špirek-Čermak furnace was listed already in 1986 as a monument. Together they represent a part of the UNESCO mercury heritage in Idrija.

State of repair

Conditions of the envelope
The building was abandoned since 1995 when the mine has stopped operating. After that there was no maintenance.

Aim of retrofit

Renovation + Extension
The goal of retrofitting was to preserve the endangered cultural monument and enrich it with new content, enhance its modernity and attractiveness, revive its heritage with educational content, raise awareness of the importance of preserving cultural heritage, and enhance tourism opportunities in the area. The project began on 30 December 2014 and was completed on 31 January 2017. The goals of the 1st phase of the project, which comprises the reconstruction and new construction of the existing ore separation facility, a new reception and exhibition centre for visitors, and the exhibition 'From ore to mercury drops', were: - to preserve and restore the cultural monument of national importance inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List, - to finally restore and present the machines and devices in the reconstructed ore separation facility with a demonstration of their functioning within the scope of the exhibition 'From Ore to Mercury Drops', etc.
Was there any change of use?
The former industrial plant became a presentation center and a museum to show the visitors part of the mercury mining production process.
Was the intervention planned following a step-by-step approach?
Two investment phases were planned. The first one is finished. The second one will focus on the furnace, extraction and packaging of mercury in cylinders.
Stakeholders Involvement
Public sector
Center za upravljanje z dediščino živega srebra Idrija
Bazoviška ulica 2, Idrija, 5280 Idrija
Architect
Aleš Hafner, univ.dipl.inž.arh. - Gea Consult
Mestni trg 5, 4220 Škofja Loka
Conservation Consultant
Institute for the protection of cultural heritage of Slovenia
Delpinova 16, 5000 Nova Gorica
Other
Ministry of Culture
Maistrova ulica 10, 1000 Ljubljana
Tools used
Was the renovation process done following a specific methodology? No

RETROFIT SOLUTIONS

External Walls

Concrete frame structure filled with bricks and windows

Concrete frame structure filled with bricks and windows

Concrete frame structure with masonry walls in between. All walls, except in the basement, are additionally thermally insulated with EPS panels on the inside of the building, and a cement spray performed over them.

More Details
Original wall build-up
Other - Concrete brick:
300 mm
Retrofitted wall build-up
Brick :
300mm
Insulation - EPS:
80 mm
Other - Cement spray:
15 mm


Windows

Alu windows

Alu windows

The window openings remained the same, and the windows were replaced with ALU windows with double-layer thermopane glazing.

Existing window U-value Glass [W/m2K]: 0,0 New window U-value Glass[W/m2K]: 1,1
More Details
New window type industrial thermopan alu window
New glazing type Double
New shading type NA

Other interventions

ROOF

OTHER

ROOF

The roof is made of reinforced concrete beams, to which a wooden substructure is attached. The asbestos roofing has been replaced with a new suitable corrugated roofing. The roof is thermally insulated with soft mineral wool 25 cm thick, and the inside is lined with OSB panels, which are treated with cement spray over galvanized welded metal mesh.

More Details
Original roof build-up
Other - asbest cement roof sheets:
0 mm
Retrofitted roof build-up
Other - corrugated roofing:
10 mm
Other - Mineral wool :
250 mm
Other - OSB plywood plates:
15 mm
Other - Cement spray:
15 mm
OTHER

In some parts of the industrial plant there were additional modules (toilet, seminar room, elevator) established. They are heated and therefore also isolated as separate modules in the building.

In addition to the visitor centre all other parts of the building are kept very close to the initial state to serve the demonstration of the process. Areas where visitors stop (presentation elements, toilets) are separated from the other non heated areas.

HVAC

HEATING

AIR CONDITIONING

DOMESTIC HOT WATER

HEATING

A boiler on pellets was constructed to heat the visitor centre. The radiating floor heating is in use in the visitor centre and radiators in other areas.

More Details
New primary heating system
New system type Boiler
Fuel Biomass
Distribuition system Radiating floor
Nominal power 150 kW
AIR CONDITIONING
More Details
New cooling system
Type air conditioner
Distribuition system Air
Nominal power kW
Electric power kW
DOMESTIC HOT WATER

Combined with heating system.

More Details
New DHW system
Type with heating system
Hot_water_tank Si
With heat recovery No

RENEWABLE ENERGY SYSTEMS

Biomass

Biomass

Boiler on pellets is used to generate heat for heating and hot domestic water.

More Details
Biomass System
Type Pellet
Storage size
Origin of biomass
Overall yearly production kWh

Energy Efficiency

Energy Performance
Energy performance certificate: No
Voluntary certificates: No
Energy Use

Primary Energy
Consumption_estimation_Calculation_method: NA

Costs

Financial Aspects

2.300.000 eur

Running Costs
Lifecycle cost
No

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