In 1888, Grand Duke Friedrich I announced a competition to find a suitable architect for the sepulchral chapel. A Romanesque Revival or Gothic Revival chapel over a crypt was requested. The use of medieval forms and ornamentation was very popular at the end of the 19th century. The commission was received by the archbishop's architect, Franz Baer of Freiburg, who had led the restoration of many Gothic churches, including the cathedral in Salem. His simple design of Gothic Revival shapes fit the grand duke's taste. On May 1, 1890, the foundation for the chapel was laid.