Lower saline: monuments keep freestate on its toes

Lower saline: monuments keep freestate on its toes

The area around the gradierbau has kept the free state busy for years. While the round fountain has now been renovated at a cost of 1.7 million euros, work on the lower saline is in full swing. The north wing of the listed building complex is in ruins. Workers repair damage to the beam and reshingle the roof. "The goal is to keep the roof on until winter", says christian rodl of the state building department.

The lower saline was built at the end of the 18. Built at the beginning of the 20th century for salt extraction and used after 1968 by the former bath administration as a workshop and washhouse. The site has been unused since 1999. While the freestate had the roofs of the former master’s and inspector’s apartments (see graphic) and the south house renovated in 2009 (cost: 360000 euros), the north wing has been left to decay until today.

Damage so far as expected

Now the free state is putting an end to it: the roof truss is being restored for 800,000 euros. The underlying masonry, the wooden beams and the historical inventory, some of which is still inside, should not suffer from the weather for long. The former workshop is already half new roofed. As rodl reports, there have been no unpleasant surprises on the roof trusses so far. "The damage pictures correspond to what we had originally analyzed", he says. The supporting structure of the boiler house, on the other hand, is in a worse condition. "There the interventions will be more rough", estimates the expert. Rotten spots are repaired or completely replaced. The situation is even worse for the former washing plant. The flat roof has collapsed and trees and debris have spread into the rooms. What is left of the roof will be demolished and the nature and the trummer removed. "Then we put on a new roof surface", says rodl.

Old tiles on the inside

In the inner courtyard, not much can be seen of the construction progress. This is because the old plain tiles are being reused on the inside of the roof for reasons of historical preservation. On the other hand, towards the road, the workers are taking new bricks. "The flat inside looks much more alive", finds gerald langer, deputy director of the state building office. The inside of the north wing is the only roof surface on the entire site where the historic, handmade bricks are used. For more they are not enough. Why? Not even every second brick that was covered can be recycled.

From an economic point of view, this approach is a risk, explains langer. If there is a concept for the use of the lower saline at some point, it is possible that an investor will abandon the idea of using the old bricks again. In addition, there is the impossibility that in case of damage the tiles in reserve go out and that then the roof must be subsequently covered with new beaver tails. "But the state is not acting according to economic aspects", he says. The free state has an exemplary role in the preservation of historical monuments and shows what the building once looked like.
Also a permanent construction site is the area around the historic free pump a few meters south of the grading building. In 2015, the free pump, also known as the brine lifting machine, was renewed, as was the associated drive channel and the embankment wall. Costs: 160000 euros. The area around the pump and the half-timbered turbine house is currently cordoned off with a construction fence. Langer gives information: "this is about a security acceptance, which is already partly done."

Free pump defective, canal dilapidated

Although the pumping station is currently out of order and cannot be used for demonstrations, a walk-through has shown that passers-by can easily climb over the existing railing, he says. The state construction office and the company responsible for the operation of the baths fear that someone could be injured by the pump. Therefore, the gelander will be rebuilt to make it more difficult to climb over.

In addition, the underground engine duct that served the turbine house is dilapidated and in danger of collapse. "The roof is not being preserved, it’s being rebuilt," says, explained long. For this purpose the shaft is filled with flussigboden. The last tunnel segment is being restored by the state building authority "so that people can see what used to be here". The work had to take place in the flood-free period from may to september. This is no longer possible this year, so the renovation will be postponed until next year.

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