Arts & Culture

Museum Kampa

Tsjechië

In 1999 the owner of the building, the City of Prague, concluded an agreement with the Jan and Meda Mladek Foundation on the long-term free lease and reconstruction of the building. Reconstruction was covered by the City of Prague, while the Foundation took care of the art collection that would be exhibited to the public. The reconstruction of the Sova's Mills was contracted to Studio 8000 and new glass structures, designed by three Czech artists - Václav Cigler, Marian Karel and Dana Zámečníková - were added (the glass footbridge over the navigation channel, the watercourse running through the courtyard and the glass cube on top of the tower). The public could inspect the Sova's Mills for the first time on 26 September 2001, although it was officially opened on 8 September 2003, after repairing the damage caused by devastating floods in summer 2002 when Kampa Island was entirely underwater. A massive wooden chair by Magdalena Jetelová has been placed on a mole in the river.

The Sova's Mills, located in an exclusive part of the city on the banks of the Vltava, were therefore saved at the eleventh hour and a fitting role was found for them as one of the new centres of culture in the capital. They have been sensitively restored to their romantic Gothic appearance from the 19th century, with new elements added that have become an integral part of the Mills, with an accent that stresses their present function.
Zdeněk Lukeš, 2008.

In 1999 the owner of the building, the City of Prague, concluded an agreement with the Jan and Meda Mladek Foundation on the long-term free lease and reconstruction of the building. Reconstruction was covered by the City of Prague, while the Foundation took care of the art collection that would be exhibited to the public. The reconstruction of the Sova's Mills was contracted to Studio 8000 and new glass structures, designed by three Czech artists - Václav Cigler, Marian Karel and Dana Zámečníková - were added (the glass footbridge over the navigation channel, the watercourse running through the courtyard and the glass cube on top of the tower). The public could inspect the Sova's Mills for the first time on 26 September 2001, although it was officially opened on 8 September 2003, after repairing the damage caused by devastating floods in summer 2002 when Kampa Island was entirely underwater. A massive wooden chair by Magdalena Jetelová has been placed on a mole in the river. The Sova's Mills, located in an exclusive part of the city on the banks of the Vltava, were therefore saved at the eleventh hour and a fitting role was found for them as one of the new centres of culture in the capital. They have been sensitively restored to their romantic Gothic appearance from the 19th century, with new elements added that have become an integral part of the Mills, with an accent that stresses their present function.Zdeněk Lukeš, 2008.

In 1999 the owner of the building, the City of Prague, concluded an agreement with the Jan and Meda Mladek Foundation on the long-term free lease and reconstruction of the building. Reconstruction was covered by the City of Prague, while the Foundation took care of the art collection that would be exhibited to the public. The reconstruction of the Sova's Mills was contracted to Studio 8000 and new glass structures, designed by three Czech artists - Václav Cigler, Marian Karel and Dana Zámečníková - were added (the glass footbridge over the navigation channel, the watercourse running through the courtyard and the glass cube on top of the tower). The public could inspect the Sova's Mills for the first time on 26 September 2001, although it was officially opened on 8 September 2003, after repairing the damage caused by devastating floods in summer 2002 when Kampa Island was entirely underwater. A massive wooden chair by Magdalena Jetelová has been placed on a mole in the river. The Sova's Mills, located in an exclusive part of the city on the banks of the Vltava, were therefore saved at the eleventh hour and a fitting role was found for them as one of the new centres of culture in the capital. They have been sensitively restored to their romantic Gothic appearance from the 19th century, with new elements added that have become an integral part of the Mills, with an accent that stresses their present function.Zdeněk Lukeš, 2008

While the earliest surviving records mentioning the existence of a flour-mill on Prague's Kampa island on the Vltava river, dates from the year 1393, there is no doubt that the facility had actually been established much earlier than that: scholarly research has traced it to as far back as the tenth century, and established by members of the Convent of Benedictine Nuns at Saint George's.

During the Hussite Revolution the mill was destroyed, and the premises subsequently passed into the hands of the municipality of the Prague Old Town. In 1478, the city fathers handed the site over to Václav Sova of Liboslav, who built a house with a combined water-propelled plant consisting of a hammer-mill and a flourmill, the latter operation serving as purveyor to the burghers. The restored mill was named after its new owner, an identity it has retained to this day. Local millers were experts at channelling water where it was most needed: millraces, fountains, even uphill.

The Old Town municipal authority purchased the site once again in 1574. New building began again in 1589, after the mill's heavily timbered structure was destroyed in a fire, with the newly built house made of stone. During the Thirty Years War, in 1648, it served the Swedish army as an artillery bulwark.

The history of the mill on Prague's Kampa Island has been interspersed with fires, floods, and devastating wars. Major transformations in the appearance of the historical premises of Sova's Mills were also implemented by the eminent local businessman, František Odkolek. His enterprising spirit succeeded in giving the location an entirely new face. In 1858 he applied for permission to convert the works to an American-type (i.e., steam-propelled) mill. He then adapted the facility, extending it by a two-story building, whose perimeter reached as far as the adjoining street. The reconstruction was completed with the addition of new facades in the romantic style, as well as an engine-room and a tall chimney.

In 1836 the Sova's Mills compound underwent further significant architectural renovations by Josef Kranner, who designed a sawmill and a new annex to the premises, overlooking the river. The entrepreneur František Odkolek then placed commissions for further extensions with the architects Josef Maličký and František Srnec. Later reconstruction, which came after 1867, was carried out by Josef Schulz and Josef Zítek, a team of pre-eminent Czech architects of the time.

In 1896, however, a fire devastated the premises. In 1920 the burnt-down mill on Kampa was purchased by the City of Prague, under whose care it has entered the present era. After World War II the premises housed three sections of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences: the Institute for Czech and World Literature, the Zdeněk Nejedlý Study and Library, and the Cabinet for the Study of Czech Theatre. Part of the building was rented out to a local applied arts firm and the City used another tract for its own cabinet-making and metal workshops.

Considering the premises' present-day use, it might be interesting to note that the first tentative plans for converting the place into a modern art gallery date back to as early as the period between the two world wars.

During the Hussite Revolution the mill was destroyed, and the premises subsequently passed into the hands of the municipality of the Prague Old Town. In 1478, the city fathers handed the site over to Václav Sova of Liboslav, who built a house with a combined water-propelled plant consisting of a hammer-mill and a flourmill, the latter operation serving as purveyor to the burghers. The restored mill was named after its new owner, an identity it has retained to this day. Local millers were experts at channelling water where it was most needed: millraces, fountains, even uphill.

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Museum Kampa

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Museum KampaU Sovových mlýnů 503/2
118 00 Praha 1
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