architecture : urban : visual culture

Restoration and revitalization of the Chapel of St. Stephens's Holy Right Hand and the Sacrity

The beginning of the concept planning of the restoration works and the revitalization of the chapel and the sacristy dates back to 2014. Participants of different fields, including various restorers and specialists were included, since the last complete renovation took place about 50 years ago, the interior restoration also involved glass, wall painting, metal, stone and wooden furniture conservation. The restoration was led by architect Zoltán Galina

The concept was not only to carry out the complete restoration works and refurbishment, but it also contained several studies in order to realize new elements for the liturgy. The design was inspired by the former classicist character as well as the light phenomenon created by the colorful stained glass windows.

The chapel formerly housed the relic of King St. Stephen's right hand, however, during the planning process a decision was made to relocate the relic. It was transferred from the chapel to the aisle, to a modernized freestanding glass showcase, which was placed in its former position, used during the Millennial Celebrations, in front of the painting of Gyula Benczúr, St. Stephen offers the country to Blessed Virgin Mary for protection. The position turned out to be an optimal solution considering its visibility for the numerous visitors as well as the aspects of protection and conservation.


Chapel of St. Stephens Holy Right Hand and the Sacrity, Architects: Atelier BZS50, 2019.

 

In 2018 the official construction works began on January 6, when the chapel and the sacristy was closed. In addition to the original area, the northern entrance, the antechamber and the upper floor where bible studies take place were included in the restoration and revitalization works - beside the multipurpose rooms on the upper floor a new kitchen and toilet facilities were established.

Since the restoration and revitalization works the apse area of the church has been renewed to a great extent, furthermore, the use of the area has also gone under significant changes. The chapel has become a quiet place, given the fact the relic of King St. Stephen's right hand stays in the church, it will be open for only masses and nighttime vigils. The replacement of the relic had impact on the appearance of chapel as well.


Chapel of St. Stephens Holy Right Hand and the Sacrity, Architects: Atelier BZS50, 2019.

 

The preservation of the old Solnhofen stone pavement together with the transfer and installation of the gigantic chandelier from the sacristy contributes principally to the image of the chapel. Still the most significant changes of the restoration works are probably the new white sanctuary platform with marble patterned altar, ambon and the former wall with a new polirweiss finish as a background. By daylight colorful patterns appear on the wall above the picture of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa as a result of the reflections of the stained glass windows. The main goal was to distinguish old and new without creating high contrast.

The revitalization works also affected the sacristy. Instead of the old chandelier, which was placed above the new altar in the chapel, new lighting was installed above the free standing cabinet and under the baroque painting of St. Ignatius another closet of oakwood was designed to provide storage places, a small dressing area and entrance to the chapel.


Chapel of St. Stephens Holy Right Hand and the Sacrity, Architects: Atelier BZS50, 2019.

 

By the end of the works the whole apse went trough a complete restoration, after the conversion of the chapel in 1971 when the space was divided permanently by a partition according to the plan of László Gerő and was declared the Chapel of St. Stephen's Holy Right Hand.

 

Atelier BZS50

 

 

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