New gateway for King Ludwig’s emblematic landmark

GEDA height access solutions are once again in action at Schloss Neuschwanstein in Füssen

Since October 2016 work has once again been underway on Schloss Neuschwanstein. It is hardly five years since the last big renovation was completed and now further repair work is being undertaken. The impressive gateway has disappeared behind scaffolding for several months. A transport platform and wire rope lift from the Bavarian manufacturer GEDA-Dechentreiter GmbH & Co. KG are working hard as transportation assistants on a royal mission.

Schloss Neuschwanstein is one of the most visited palaces and fortifications in Europe. During high season in summer more than 6,000 visitors stream through rooms every day which from 1869 were built for one single resident. With the "Neue Burg”, the former name of Neuschwanstein, Bavarian King Ludwig II, often called the fairy-tale king, created a monument for eternity for himself. The palace’s architecture is full of shapes reflecting the middle ages but which were in fact constructed using state-of-the-art technology. Only seven weeks after the death of the monarch in 1886 his palace was opened to the public.

Rough mountain climate afflicts the façade

The location of Neuschwanstein surrounded by an idyllic landscape of lakes and mountains with its wonderful panorama is unique. No question that Ludwig II had shown good taste in his choice of location for his fairy-tale palace.

Yet the majestic location of the palace also has its dark side. The rough mountain climate makes the limestone façades and the roof construction difficult to accomplish. Furthermore, movements in the foundations must be constantly monitored and the steep cliff walls must be continuously secured. This is why repair work is repeatedly being carried out on the venerable walls. Back in 2012 the natural stone walls of the west and north façades underwent extensive renovation. This time it is the turn of the gateway to the entrance area of the fairy-tale palace. The gateway is the oldest part of the palace and also acts as the access point to the impressive inner courtyard.

As notified by the Bavarian palaces administration authority, this current round of repairs has several phases. Over the past winter the damage to the façades and roof surfaces was located from the scaffolding, documented and the requisite restoration approach was decided. The work itself has been underway since spring – namely the repair to the façade surfaces of the gateway, the static repair of parts of the ceiling and roof constructions and a replacement of the sheet metal covering of the pent roofs.

The exceptional location and the fact that the palace can be visited throughout the year have placed huge challenges on the companies involved in these repairs.
The scaffolding company responsible, BSB Bau- und Spezialgerüstbau Franke & Wagner GmbH from Schmölln, is also a specialist in historical monuments and back in early October 2016 set up a working and protective scaffold with the “Peri Up Flex” modular scaffolding system. As was the case for the repair works in 2012, the specialists from BSB Bau- und Spezialgerüstbau Franke & Wagner GmbH have again enlisted the support of a transport platform from Bavarian manufacturer GEDA-Dechentreiter GmbH & Co. KG for this round of repairs. This means that the restorers can reach their workplaces in the sky quickly and safely, together with the materials they need.

Fairy-tale benefits

The GEDA 500 Z/ZP transport platform is an indispensable aid for a rapid assembly of scaffolding as well as for the subsequent tasks on the construction site. The device has two separate controls and, thus, can on the one hand be utilized simply as a construction hoist with a payload of up to 850 kg and, on the other hand, as a transport platform for five persons and loads of up to 500 kg or five people. Due to minimal space requirements, high load bearing capacity and numerous modes of usage, the construction hoist saves time and guarantees optimum logistics in construction. With a lifting speed of 24 m/min in the material mode and 12 m/min in the person mode, rapid construction progress is ensured. The lifting height on the royal palace is 23 metres.
No construction site is the same as any other and that applies particularly to refurbishment work on such an impressive cultural monument as Schloss Neuschwanstein Therefore, different versions of platform, with different loading doors and flaps, permit optimum adaptation of the GEDA 500 Z/ZP to the conditions on site. The spacious loading platform, opening upwards, provides sufficient space for all types of construction material.
Furthermore, the transport platforms astound all concerned with their easy assembly and operation: the practical assembly bridge permits safe and rapid assembly of the 1.5 meter long GEDA Unimast segments, as well as their anchoring to the façade or scaffolding, directly from the platform, up to a height of 100 m. The masts can be quickly attached using captive screws and lock nuts, without the assistance of a crane.

State-of-the-art resources – then as now

Already for decades, GEDA not only sets new standards regarding quality, but also by the topic safety. Thus, the GEDA 500 Z/ZP is naturally equipped with the usual safety equipment such as limit switches, speed-dependent safety gear, safety stop and overload protection. A wide range of hot-dip galvanized landing level safety gates provide for safe transfer between platform and the respective landing.
As with many rack and pinion lifts from the GEDA range, the lubrication equipment is also included as standard in the GEDA 500 Z/ZP. This ensures significantly lower wear on the toothed rack and pinions.

In addition to the transport platform, a GEDA Maxi 120 S wire rope lift is being used on Schloss Neuschwanstein. With two hoisting speeds (20 or 60 m/min), overload protection and slack rope switch, a lifting height of 76 metres as well as various load carrying devices, this scaffolding lift is the ideal tool for the efficient and still safe transportation of scaffolding parts and construction materials up to 120 kg.
The manual drive of the rope drum is not transported upwards, but simply fastened to the scaffolding at the bottom. The light-weight swivel arm is attached at the top of the scaffold at the desired height.

Countless myths swirl around King Ludwig II, but one thing is certain and that is if the Bavarian monarch had known then the extent of the high level and professional effort that would be expended in the future to repair his fairy-tale palace over many generations – the technology-interested King would certainly have been very enthusiastic.

UNESCO world heritage site nomination

Under the proposed title “Dreams in Stone – the palaces of King Ludwig II of Bavaria – Neuschwanstein, Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee” the royal palaces were submitted in the German Proposal List for UNESCO World Heritage on 1 February 2015. And according to current information, the royal palaces should receive UNESCO world heritage status on 1 February 2022.

Until autumn 2017 the fairy-tale palace of King Ludwig II will remain shrouded behind scaffolding before it once again showcases itself in its full glory to visitors from across the whole world. However, the next refurbishment phase is already planned. The retaining wall of Neuschwansteinstraße in the area between the palace forecourt and the gateway will also be covered in scaffolding until March 2018 because repairs to the natural stone and an exchange of existing wall covering stones are also required here.

Fotos: PERI GmbH