The ongoing process of refurbishing a castle – The Moritzburg lake district, with the hunting castle at its centre, is one of Dresden’s most attractive local leisure areas. Just 15 kilometres from the city centre, the Baroque castle complex draws thousands of visitors a year. The roof of almost 4,000 square metres in area has been given a new covering of special Koramic clay beaver tiles.

Project details

Project Refurbishment Moritzburg, Dresden, Germany
Client Free State of Saxony, Saxony, State Ministry for Finance
Architect Kunze – Zerjatke, Dresden
Roofer  Dächer aus Meisterhand, prop. André Schlagowsky, 08459 Neukirchen
Clay roof tiles used Beaver tiles from Koramic’s Manufaktur range with four ribs, lobster-back construction, 18 x 32 cm in size and slightly convex

Moritzburg; view from the water

Refurbishment Moritzburg, Dresden, Germany

Moritzburg; view from the garden

Refurbishment Moritzburg, Dresden, Germany

Roof of the Moritzburg

Refurbishment Moritzburg, Dresden, Germany

Roof covered with beaver tiles

Refurbishment Moritzburg, Dresden, Germany

The history

Erected by Duke Moritz of Saxony between 1542 and 1546 as a hunting lodge in the middle of a pond on a granite bluff, the castle of Elector Fredrick Augustus – Augustus the Strong – was converted around 200 years later into a prestigious hunting lodge and maison de plaisance to plans by Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann. Now in the possession of the Free State of Saxony, the refurbishment of this large property and related parkland is a constant exercise in maintenance.

A constant process

The many measures demanded for the conservation maintenance of such a complex historic estate, including the façade renovations, are being supported by Dresden-based architects Dietmar Kunze and Hans Zerjatke. “The renovation of the roof began in the mid-1990s with the re-roofing of the tower in the northwest corner. In 2008, the west façade with chapel and the south-western hunter’s tower were refurbished; this year it is the turn of the south, east and north faces, together with the renovation of the roof on the south-east tower. This work should be completed in 2011,” architect Kunze explains the process.

Based on a historical model

The newly laid beaver tiles from Koramic’s Manufaktur range precisely follow the historical pattern. “The lobster-back construction of the beaver tiles corresponds to the Saxon format. Instead of the normal three ribs found in this format, the tiles on the Moritzburg have four ribs and are only 32 centimetres long instead of 38 centimetres. This shorter beaver tile variant is important for the large onion towers and the heavily swept shape of the Renaissance chapel roof. Here, the shorter beaver tiles prevent excessive jamming of the roofing,” says Kunze. The beaver tiles from Koramic’s Manufaktur range also offer a special advantage: they are produced slightly convex as standard and exhibit a sweep of about 2 millimetres. This almost imperceptible curvature not only supports easier laying of the tiles on flat surfaces, but also simplifies the covering of large onion towers. The slightly convex beaver tiles, upturned at the tip, are easier to grout with a compulsory ventilation gap at the rear and prevent any jamming of the roofing in areas of irregularity. The beaver tiles, with the unnoticeable cavity behind their tips, disrupt the capillarity between the courses of tiles, provide a smoother, flatter appearance and thus increase the aesthetics of the roof surface.
Before the new roof went on, the wooden roof trusses were refurbished. To give the final covering the roundest possible appearance, special, flexible layered wooden battens were used. Each beaver tail tile was, as is the practice in Saxony, secured with a compulsory ventilation gap at the rear and additionally secured to the storm-exposed west tower with screws. A sarking membrane is unnecessary when a mortar suitable for listed monuments is used and the ceramic roofing can also air and dry out without obstruction on the side facing the roof space.

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