The Minorith Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Koper is a typical gothic church of the beggars order, with a single nave disposition and originally constructed with three choir chapels. It was built in 1268 and was afforded a baroque style redesign in the 18th century. By 1809 all interior was removed and it was no longer used for ecclesiastic purposes. Its last use was from 1968 to 1990 as gymnasium of a secondary school. Until the reconstruction in 2014 the building remained unused.

In 2008 the Municipality of Koper commissioned a project for the reconstruction of the church for use as municipal protocol hall. Strict regulations regarding the protection of cultural heritage minimized this project to an intervention into the floor of the building and the design of a dematerialized facade between the church and the old monastery building. No interventions into the gothic walls and the baroque ceiling were allowed.

A new raised terrazzo floor with integrated heating was designed, with the ventilation system, electrical and IT connections as well as the lighting system hidden in two high tech channels beneath. Beneath this floor construction lie the graves of over a thousand distinguished citizens, whose recorded burials date as far back as the construction of the church itself.


The general design principle of this project was how to impact the building in the least possible way, while displaying an authentic view of historic church architecture. Construction works on the project began in 2013 and were promptly delayed due to archaeological excavations on site. In 2014 construction continued.

The project was co-financed by the EU.


investor: Municipality Koper
location: Koper
building area: 461 m2
program: protocol hall
project date: 2010
status: Build in 2014


Damjan Bradač

Maria Leonor Coutinho