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Welcome to the Courtyard artwork installation and interactive internet project by Kristaps Priede. I would like to invite you to participate and discover its “secrets” by visiting the Courtyard, which is located at Löwengraben 16/18 in Lucerne, and/or by engaging with the artwork virtually, which you can do below. The installation entails a mirror sculpture in the center of a courtyard and four video cameras. They are placed around the perimeter in the form of a cross, providing an almost complete view of the Courtyard online.


The “secrets” of the Courtyard will be created through the interactive virtual visits of individuals like yourself who engage with the site through the views provided online by the four fixed video cameras. My intention is to collect shared information related to three categories of participant responses: sensual experience, deciphering history, and subjective associations. Eventually, I will use these responses to enlarge the artwork, e.g., by including these on another layer of the website and/or in an art exhibition presented at the site.


View from the Camera at Northwest

View from the Camera at Southeast

View from the Camera at Northeast

View from the Camera at Southwest



Imagine exploring the courtyard with all five senses. Describe your sensual impressions of the place: What do you imagine seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting?


Consider yourself standing at the center of the Courtyard. Merging with the surround-ings, discover traces of the history of this place. What do you think happened here? What kinds of people shaped the evolution of this place? How do you interpret the clues left by ruins or depicted by the architecture? 


Entering a meditative state, what person-al feelings, associations, and memories does this place trigger in you? 

Thank you very much for participating in the Courtyard I am looking forward to hearing from you.


This project offers a unique opportunity to learn about the so-called genius loci or spirit of a special hidden and relatively unknown place near the historic center of the city of Lucerne. Sensing the genius loci generally involves visiting a place over and over again. This makes it possible to experience the site under different conditions such as varying times of day or weather or seasonal alterations. As well, any location changes with the presence or absence of people. Furthermore, layers of history are evident through architecture and other features. These are clues to be deciphered and interpreted. Often the genius loci can be more deeply sensed by knowing something about the concrete events that have taken place there, e.g., today the Courtyard site is part of the Barabas Hotel and Blok Bar, but once these buildings housed Lucerne’s main prison, which was built in 1860–1862 and was in operation until 1998. The sense of the genius loci can also be enhanced by learning something about the people who have been part of a place’s story. In fact, you too can become part of this history by physically and/or virtually visiting the Courtyard.


Elevation of the main façade of the former Lucerne Central Prison on Löwengraben Street, 1949. Staatsarchiv Luzern. DA 21/955.


Studying an 18th century map of the location, I discovered that before a prison was built at the Courtyard site, there was once an enclosed garden there. This exciting discovery made me want to learn more about the tradition of the enclosed garden which is called the hortus conclusus. One of the most important existing historic examples internationally is the early medieval enclosed garden of the St. Gallen monastery in Switzerland that stems from 816. The Courtyard project is based on the typology of the hortus conclusus featuring such elements as an axis of symmetry at the center, walkways, and, of course, garden vegetation.


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So-called Nunciature garden on a raised terrace connected with the building across the street by a passerelle. Fragment of a city plan of Lucerne, 1790/1792, by Franz Xaver Schumacher. Staatsarchiv Luzern. PL 5258/1-4.


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Barabas Hotel Luzern

Löwengraben 18

6004 Lucerne


+41 (0)41 417 01 99



Blok Bar

Löwengraben 16

6004 Lucerne


+41 (0)41 412 29 67

Installation Opening Hours:


Thursday, 18.06, 17:00-18:00

Courtyard Artwork Opening Celebration

Friday, 19.06, 17:00-18:00

Saturday, 20.06, 15:00 -16:00

Wednesday, 24.06, 17:00-18.00

Entry: Barabas Hotel Luzern, Löwengraben 18, Switzerland

Exit: Blok Bar, Löwengraben 16, Switzerland

The project was launched as part of my Master of Arts in Fine Arts with a Major in Art in Public Spheres (MAPS) at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. The project was produced in the context of the exhibition Kunst.Macht.Schule of the Master in Fine Art Lucerne 2020.


Many Thanks to All Those Involved in the Project!
Partner Institutions: Blok Bar, Marlen Amberg, Manager; Barabas Hotel Luzern, Jeaninne Parolini, Manager

Project Consultants: Linda Neško and Juli Dové, Landscape Architects; Natalie Ehrenzweig, Historian;  Karīna Horsta, Architectural Historian; Iveta Feldmane, Art Historian; Inese Sirica, Art Historian; Christina Gerritsen, Tour Guide, Lucerne Tourism Centre

Other Support: Skrivanek Baltic, Translation Agency; Glas Koller AG; friends Marcel Müller, Claudia Schmitter and Ivana Lakic, Andreas Wallimann, Petra Frey, HSLU staff; Prof. Dr. Sabine Gebhardt Fink, Director, MA Kunst, HSLU; Peter Spillmann, Mentor, MA Thesis Practical Part, HSLU; and,  Linda Cassens Stoian, Mentor, MA Thesis Theoretical Part, HSLU

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