Scientific investigation of the Imperial Pavilion completed

- dating assumed to be 1751/1752. An unknown inscription "Böhmischer Musikus 1732" has been discovered in the roof truss of the Imperial Pavilion in the Schönbrunn Zoo.

A closer examination should clarify how this inscription got into the building and whether this date is actually authentic. On the basis of ten wood samples, a dendrochronological examination of the roof truss was carried out by the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences and building researchers. Dendrochronology can be used to date wooden finds precisely to the year. This method compares the width of the annual rings with existing references.

The examination carried out on the imperial pavilion yielded the result that the wood of the samples was felled between the years 1719 and 1749. Because the bark was present on one sample, the year of felling could be determined as 1749. Taking into account the usual wood processing at that time with a duration of two to three years, a dating of the pavilion in the years 1751 and 1752 can be assumed.

Until now it was assumed that the Imperial Pavilion, once the centre of the Schönbrunn menagerie, was completed in either 1754 or 1759. A more precise dating has not yet been possible. The menagerie itself was opened in the summer of 1752 and architectural drawings from that year confirm that the pavilion was part of the complex from the very beginning. However, the origin of the writing found in the roof truss of the imperial pavilion remains unclear.

Nevertheless, the roof construction of the imperial pavilion offers a special feature. Some of the wood used was not spruce or fir, but oak. This wood is very unusual for Viennese roof trusses because of its weight and its more difficult workability.

"Due to its architecture and its impressive interior, the Imperial Pavilion represents an important part of Austria's architectural heritage. The research work carried out has made it possible to make a further contribution to the architectural history of the Imperial Pavilion," says Burghauptmann Reinhold Sahl. Stylistically, the pavilion can be classified as belonging to the transitional period from Baroque to Rococo and is characterised by its varied history of use.