Castle Meersburg comprehensively renovated with Histolith materials
Anyone working in heritage protection is sooner or later faced with finding the right materials. With Histolith Caparol provides painter operations with a range of products which have been specially developed for use in heritage-protected, and therefore often historical buildings. Peter Neri, Manager of the Architectural Heritage Conservation Department at Caparol, has no doubt about the importance of the choice of material for work in heritage protected buildings. "The material plays a decisive role especially with heritage protection. It has to do justice to historical aspects, but also has to fulfil today's demands in relation to its properties."
Since April 2012 Castle Meersburg on Lake Constance has again been open to the public after about six months of refurbishing work. The castle, which should not be confused with the one in which the poet Annette von Droste-Hülshoff lives, is an important monument from the early 18th century. The castle has been in the possession of the State of Baden-Württemberg for almost sixty years. Today, in the Bel Etage it accommodates the State Castle Museum and is used for events and exhibitions.
Last year contracts were placed for a thorough internal refurbishment. All inner rooms with the exception of the museum rooms in the Bel Etage were restored. For Waldemar Käppeler, Master Painter from Stockach on Lake Constance, the condition of the castle was typical. In the rooms, probably due to the changing history and various uses, there were many old paint coatings which however had nothing to do with the original historical decoration. In many rooms, for example, dispersion paint had been applied." This is how he described the resulting work: "First, these coatings had to be removed completely. This meant caustic removal, sanding off or also scraping off." In the next step the substrate had to be filled all over and then a new coat applied. "We applied a lime smoother and then a lime-based colour coating and sometimes a silicate paint. Great emphasis was put on a certain white shade and the surface texture. In total 5,000 square metres had to be renovated and about four months was needed for the work. We applied it all with the brush, nothing was rolled nor sprayed. Also for gluing, no auxiliary materials such as acrylic compounds could be used."
For Peter Neri the refurbishment of Castle Meersburg is a good example of the challenges faced by painter operations when working on buildings under heritage protection. "Especially with painting work in and on monuments, beauty is paramount, of course. It is just as important to achieve the greatest possible authenticity and to maintain the historical value of the building. A painter must be able to appreciate that."
All historic coatings
Histolith was developed to be able to implement all historical coatings. This affects both the choice of formulation as well as the colour scheme, i.e. lime and limewash paints or silicate paints based on the binder potassium water glass through to linseed-oil paints for painting wood. The heritage protection expert from Caparol however placed special value on the material properties. "With Histolith it is possible to provide historical coatings without any problem. Through the on-going development of the materials based on historical formulations much is possible which "modern" paints can also achieve. This relates both to the possibilities of decorative design and to the application. In this respect the constructional physical properties, such as for example the extremely good water vapour permeability, are unbeaten."
Large potential market
According to figures from the Association of State Heritage Restorers in Germany, about one million buildings are listed under heritage protection. In their architecture the buildings could not be more different: the method of construction, materials used, colours and design. Heritage protection and therefore historical value applies to centuries-old churches, castles and palaces as well as to buildings with high-tech architecture, such as the University Clinic Aachen or the sports venues of the 1972 Olympic Games – Olympic Stadium, Olympics Hall, Indoor Swimming Pool – in Munich. One aspect Peter Neri can confirm, "It is a special field which demands a good knowledge of the subject and versatility from the painter. Above all one must understand that in heritage protection quite different materials are involved which demand special capabilities."
Photographs: Caparol Farben Lacke Bautenschutz / Martin Duckek