Waterwork in the Landscape – proceedings of boat-cruise conference
The interdisciplinary conference, organised by VCPD, had been held on the board of the ship Malše on her cruise from Poděbrady to Mělník on 21 June 2006 through ten lock chambers. Its proceedings are accompanied by the itinerary for the cruise, along with period writings about hydraulic structures and the landscape, descriptions of relevant people and firms, and various synopses, tables and maps.
The objective of the conference was to try and shed new light on this long-ignored topic. The earliest hydraulic structures to emerge on the Vltava and Elbe rivers date back to the late 19th century, a time when bold technical projects were being developed for the construction of canals, railways, bridges and tunnels. Regulation was intended to ensure the navigability of the rivers, to make use of hydro energy to supply industry and agriculture in the surrounding regions, and to protect the area from flooding. The papers presented at this conference offer a range of different perspectives on this topic: from a chronological overview of how the legal and financial requirements for the river’s navigation were set up, to a look at the founding of the field of hydraulic engineering at the Prague Technical University, along with other related fields that facilitated the rapid development of electrification, to a look at the technological transformation of the equipment used in waterworks (turbines, control mechanisms), which had an impact on the practical aspects of their design and their appearance. From a geologist’s perspective the river is perceived as an awe-inspiring and dynamic part of the landscape. An art historian examines the symbolic sub-text and visionary outlook of the architects involved, against the background of the technical pragmatism behind the objective assessment of the effect (corridor effect) waterworks have on the surrounding landscape.
Entries: Ivan Jakubec, Jiřina Masnerová – Vít Šmerha, Václav Cílek, Marcela Efmertová, Rostislav Švácha, Lukáš Beran, Ivan Vorel, Václav Jandáček, Jan Čábelka
Editors: Lukáš Beran – Vladislava Valchářová.
Design: Milota Schusterová
ČVUT, Research centre for industrial Heritage, Prague 2006.