Prague Castle – Lift by Professor Otto Rothmayer
Professor Otto Rothmayer (1892 – 1966) was a student and a co-worker of Josip Plečnik, a famous Slovenian architect. Both worked on Prague Castle modifications. Otto himself started working on the castle alone in 1930.
The most significant work of Rothmayer was a reconstruction of Theresian Wing of Prague Castle in 1930 – 1951. The architect added there a peculiar mushroom-shaped of a standalone staircase.
He also made a massive cylindrical passenger lift.
Source: Od moderny k funkcionalismu, Rostislav Švácha
It was made in 1935 and is a part of the staircase at southern wing of the New Palace. The lift cabin is cylindrical, made of wood (mahogany). The cabin is travels in a mirror of a baroque staircase in between of four massive pillars.
The inner diameter of the cabin is 190 cm, a very impressive number that allow more people to travel in the lift. The load bearing capacity is 500 kg or six people. In 1960, it’s been documented that barriers were built to enclose the staircase mirror – the whole lift shaft. Other changes were made and could cause a noticeable change in appearance and design of the lift. In 1979, a technological part reconstruction has been documented. Even the lift cabin and the shaft door were affected.
Inside, everything is wooded, made of a mahogany veneer. The large circle floor reflects the white dome of the cabin ceiling. Lighting is all around the ceiling periphery. In 1935, it was quite common to use neon tubes. Three segments (120° each) were used for the whole lighting circle. New button panels on each floor as well as in the lift cabin are made from a stainless hand brushed steel. The buttons are made of brushed glass. In the technological part, safety and comfort concerns led to certain changes. The whole engine and wiring has been replaced during the reconstruction. Its counterweight is also very interesting as it has its own shaft, outside the staircase with the cylindrical lift cabin and the shaft. The cabin entrance still uses the original hand-operated sliding dipterous door. Even the door has the same shape as the lift cabin. The shaft door are dipterous as well, but they are barred and use a unique mechanical lock.
During its reconstruction, the 1960 jamb of the lift shaft and the barriers were removed. Brand new transparent (safety glass) replacements were installed into the original position. The Connex safety glass panes are anchored into the wall using atypical stained stainless steel.
Triplex has reconstructed the lift in 2006. The engine principle remained – a traction cable engine positioned above the lift shaft. Lift’s engine room is in the attic of the building and the counterweight uses its own shaft (80x100 cm). New components and technical implementation is in compliance of currently effective safety standards.
The reconstruction was carried out using David Prudík’s design.