Creators of Industrial Buildings

This publication was released to coincide with the multidisciplinary off‑site symposium Creators of Industrial Buildings (report and photos here). It surveyed the general principles behind the emergence of industrial heritage, which are at the same time the basic principles of industrial civilisation—the rationalisation, specialisation, standardisation, and global transfer of experiences. It seeked to grasp industrial structures as complex, individual works, and to study their origin and authorship—the design work of mill architects, factory designers, construction companies and “büros”.


Lukáš Beran – Irena Lehkoživová (eds.), Creators of Industrial Buildings / Tvůrci průmyslových staveb, Praha 2018.

ISBN 978-80-01-06492-4; czech, english; in cooperation with Benjamin Fragner, Jakub Potůček, Petr Vorlík, Jan Zikmund / authors Franziska Bollerey, Axel Föhl, Michael Hanak, Paul Smith, Martin Strakoš, Jindřich Vybíral, Mark Watson / translation by Jana Kinská, Irena Lehkoživová / graphic design by Jan Forejt (Formall) / printed by Formall / acknowledgements Jitka Jakubičková (Zauhlovačka) / published by Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Architecture, Research Centre for Industrial Heritage

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Off-site symposium Creators of Industrial Buildings

The multidisciplinary off‑site symposium surveys the general principles behind the emergence of industrial heritage, which are at the same time the basic principles of industrial civilisation—the rationalisation, specialisation, standardisation, and global transfer of experiences. It seeks to grasp industrial structures as complex, individual works, and to study their origin and authorship—the design work of mill architects, factory designers, construction companies and “büros”. Held by the Research Centre for Industrial Heritage of the Faculty of Architecture at the Czech Technical University in Prague in the cooperation with the Czech National Committee of ICOMOS within the project Industrial Architecture: Monuments of Industrial Heritage as Technical‑Architectural Works and as the Identity of a Place, supported by the Applied Research and Development of National and Cultural Identity Programme (NAKI II) of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic. Programme and other informations are available on Symposium 2018 microsite.

The Overlooked Lesser and Forgotten Vestiges of Industry in the Landscape and in Settlements

The industrial heritage sites that are big, important, iconic, and protected are already generally well known and discussed. But there is another and less visible layer of industrial heritage in decline that is usually recognised on just a more local or regional level: small railroad station buildings, municipal waterworks and water towers, the brickworks on the edge of a village, local breweries, standardised storage buildings, workshops, repair shops, a malt house standing alone in the countryside, dilapidated limeworks, the remains of structures around abandoned quarries, brick transformer stations, the wall fragments of old factories, smokestacks soaring skyward. These structures make up a layer of culture that is specific to the landscape and settlements that has been overlooked and is rapidly being lost.

The publication represents an outcome of the project Industrial Architecture: Understanding Monuments of Industrial Heritage as Technical-Architectural Works and as a Source of Identity of a Place supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic under its NAKI II (National and Cultural Identity) Applied Research Programme (DG16P02H001)


Benjamin Fragner (ed.), The Overlooked Lesser and Forgotten Vestiges of Industry in the Landscape and in Settlements, Prague 2017.

168 pages; Czech/English Introduction; 207 images and plans; ISBN 978-80-01-06327-9 / authors Benjamin Fragner (editor), Martin Vonka, Michal Hofman, Miroslav Kaňka, Jan Zikmund, Zuzana Kučerová, Eva Kubjátová, Viktor Mácha, Edita Cestrová, Martin Přibil, Ivan Rous, Robert Kořínek, Radim Urbánek, Pavel Jákl, Milan Starec, Michal Zlámaný, Zdeněk Šimoník, Šárka Sodomková, Jiří Chmelenský, Lukáš Beran, Pavel Jakubec, Jakub Potůček, Petr Vorlík, Svatopluk Zídek, Jan Červinka / scientific review Lenka Popelová, Jan Palas / editing support Jan Zikmund / index of places Irena Lehkoživová / proofreading Hana Hlušičková / translation Robin Cassling / graphic design Jan Forejt / treatment of reproductions Jiří Klíma / map editing FRVR / production Gabriel Fragner / font Urban Grotesk / paper GardaPat, Gmund Heidi Faded Grey / dtp Formall / print Quatro print / published by the Research Centre for Industrial Heritage FA CTU Prague and Vestiges of Industry platform


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Designing Dairies – A Job Worthy of an Architect: Rudolf Holý

After the Second World War industrial architecture underwent a radical transformation in just several years. Industry was nationalised, a new system for commissioning architectural projects was introduced, and the building industry was amalgamated with planning activities, but these were not the only new difficulties that architects had to contend with. It was the rigid system of economic planning and its close intertwining with the political regime that complicated the preparation of building projects and investment plans and often even got in the way of actual construction work. A priority of postwar Czechoslovakia was the conversion of industry into the foundation of the new economy that was outlined in the Two-Year Economic Plan (1947–1948) and then fully unfurled in the first Five-Year Plan (1949–1953). The amalgamated body of planning departments was not prepared for the envisioned level of industrial development, which was on a scale that is hard to image today. Special courses had to be introduced immediately at the schools of architecture, and separate planning departments dedicated to industrial structures had to be set up to provide professional support to tackle the complex planning operations in individual sectors of industry. A major role in this was played by a platform of theoretical work put forth by Otakar Štěpánek, Emil Hlaváček, Jiří Girsa, Emil Kovařík, Eduard Teschler, Miloš Vaněček, Jiří Vančura and Emanuel Podráský. Thanks to these experts, within a short period of time architects had a range of books and studies available to them that defined the requirements and parameters of the modern factory.

Years of organisational changes and an atmosphere of constant change in search of the best methods for industrial architecture and revisions of things from the past not only left their mark on the practical work but also on the architecture itself, which for a long time kept the strong interwar tradition of functionalism alive, thanks primarily to the work of such figures as František Albert Libra, Oskar Oehler/Olár, and the distinctive Zlín school, headed up by Jiří Voženílek, Vladimír Kubečka, Zdeněk Plesník, and Miroslav Drofa. However, these attempts at individual approaches to industrial architecture could not survive long. More distinctive forms of artistic expression in industrial architecture were quashed for a time not so much by the advance of Soviet-style Socialist Realism, which made almost no mark in industrial architecture, but by the emphasis placed on economising. Standardisation became the central point of theoretical discussions on industrial structures. The introduction of standardisation into building practice did not proceed in the way theorists had imagined. The theoretical discussions nevertheless made it possible to define, in step with international developments, the basic parameters of the modern industrial plant (universality, the use of zones and sections, monoblocks, windowless buildings, and open industrial structures) even in the rigid conditions of civil engineering in Czechoslovakia.

Architect Rudolf Holý (1930–2015), who is the subject of this book, was in the front line of all these changes. Holý studied at what was then the College of Architecture and Construction at the Czech Technical University in Prague (Vysoká škola architektury a pozemního stavitelství, České vysoké učení technické), where he studied under František Čermák, an expert in public health and hospital architecture, and Otakar Štěpánek. Although Rudolf Holý had initially wanted to devote himself to healthcare architecture upon completing his studies, he ultimately made his career in industrial architecture. After spending three years at Hutní Projekt, the design institute for the metal industry, Holý moved to Potravinoprojekt, the planning institute that provided designs for factories in the food industry – sugar refineries, breweries, malting plants, distilleries, canning factories, dairies, meat-processing plants, freezing plants, mills, and grain and other storage facilities. Within just a few years Rudolf Holý became one of the country’s best industrial architects. He specialised in modern dairies and powdered-milk production plants – large-scale operations using advanced technologies and designed according to the latest ideas in the field of operations economics. Although like other architects Holý had to contend with limitations to the possibilities open to contracting enterprises, the lack of availability of necessary materials, and the complicated dealings with investors, even in these conditions he was able to see through his architectural objectives and carry on the tradition of high-quality architecture in the dairy industry in Czechoslovakia, a tradition that established itself in the 1920s and especially the 1930s and continued until all construction activity was banned during the Nazi Occupation of Czechoslovakia.

This tradition is described in this book’s opening chapter, ‘On the Path to Industrial Dairies’, which traces architecture’s first forays into the dairy industry, where initially much more importance was placed on machinery than on what the production hall was like. A major role in architecture’s advances in this industry was played by the Union of Dairy Cooperatives (Svaz mlékařských družstev), which, in addition to organisational and operational affairs, also oversaw the design and construction of new dairies. Thanks to the work of the Union, the dairies that were being built began to have undeniable architectural ambitions, and they were designed by emerging architects such as Josef Danda, Eduard Žáček, Josef Franců, Karl Ernstberger, Josef Lipš, and others. It was the possibilities offered by functionalism that introduced architecture with an artistic flourish into the construction of dairies and that were behind the origin of post-war designs for large-scale operations.

The core chapters in this book, by Jan Zikmund and Jakub Potůček, are accompanied by an article by Rudolf Holý, ‘Current Trends in Dairy Construction’, which describes the real problems that dairy architects had to address in their work. The book closes by presenting a picture of the life of Rudolf Holý described in an interview with Jiří Horský and in the personal memories of architect Tomáš Šenberger.

As Benjamin Fragner points out in his essay in the opening of the book, this publication also introduces the hitherto overlooked subject of post-war industrial architecture as explored within the framework of the NAKI II project ‘Industrial Architecture: Industrial Heritage Sites as Works of Architecture and Technology and as Sources of Place Identity’ (Industriální architektura. Památka průmyslového dědictví jako technicko -architektonické dílo a jako identita místa). The results of the research from this project will be summarised in a large monograph mapping post-war industrial architecture in a comprehensive overview stretching from 1945 to the demise of state planning work in the early 1990s.

Summary translated by Robin Cassling


Jakub Potůček – Jan Zikmund et al., Designing Dairies – A Job Worthy of an Architect: Rudolf Holý, Prague 2016.

144 pages; Czech/summary in English and German; 82 images and plans; ISBN 978-80-01-06041-4 / authors Jakub Potůček, Jan Zikmund / co-authors Benjamin Fragner, Jiří Horský, Tomáš Šenberger / scientific review Petr Kratochvíl, Petr Urlich / proofreading Hana Hlušičková / translation Robin Cassling, Susanne Spurná / graphic design Jan Forejt / treatment of reproductions Jiří Klíma / production Gabriel Fragner / font Pepi and Rudi / paper Munken Lynx / print Formall / published by the Research Centre for Industrial Heritage FA CTU Prague


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Bruno Bauer and the Industrial Architecture in the Czech Lands

In the Czech lands designing factories accompanied global advances in the development of economic and technical knowledge and experience. The direction this work took was determined by specialised design offices capable of designing the right operational plan, corresponding spatial layout, and construction design that was financially realisable while still meeting the demands placed on the physical appearance of the final work.

The textile industry was a key sector in this development, and its spatial layout and safety requirements gave rise to the first buildings that from this perspective can be regarded as modern. In Central Europe the direct contact with advanced British experience in designing spinning mills has been little documented to date. In the late 19th century this experience was brought to the region mainly by the Swiss office of Carl Arnold Séquin-Bronner (later Séquin & Knobel), but other firms operating in the Czech lands included the Leipzig-based office of Händel & Franke and from 1877 – and a Czech source of competition in the field – the office of builder František Plesnivý in Náchod and Hradec Králové. The first ‘technical office’ for the construction of breweries was founded in Prague in 1863 by Gustav Noback and two years later the second by Josef Vincenc Novák, and as well as drawing up projects and budgets, they also began to offer machinery from their own machine works. The machine works of Vinzenz Daněk and the building company of Václav Nekvasil jointly began designing and building sugar refineries. Jihlava native Josef Rosenberg was in 1873 evidently the first Czech builder to focus exclusively on the construction of industrial buildings, which he also designed, and he specialised in particular in fermenting houses and ice cellars for breweries. All-round success in this section was above all achieved by the building and design firm of Viktor Beneš, founded in Prague in 1887. At the start of the century the designing of industrial buildings was largely taken over by building companies that specialised in working with reinforced concrete. The design department of the firm of Eduard Ast in Vienna, which was the concession-holder (concessionaire) for using the Hennebique system, was headed by Ast’s brother-in-law Hugo Gröger, who published a series of executed industrial buildings which, at least from 1906, had their reinforced concrete frames exposed on the façade. A little later industrial buildings also began to be designed and built by another Viennese firm, Pittel & Brausewetter, and then too by B. Fischmann & Co. of Brno. However, many factories in the Czech lands were the outcome of collaboration between the civil engineers that worked for building companies (Skorkovský, Müller & Kapsa), the mechanical engineers working for the suppliers of machinery, the operations experts of the contracting party, and sometimes architects. The first generation of architects who regularly worked on industrial buildings in Austria-Hungary were trained by Karl König at the Technische Hochschule in Vienna, and two of those most successful in practice, and in their own teaching work, were Leopold Simony and Heinrich Fanta. One after another in 1908 students of Wagner caught the industrial- architecture bug, but the only ones who progressed to create genuinely complex designs for industrial structures were Hubert Gessner and his brother Franz and above all Bohumil Hypšman. By this time there were also branches in the Czech lands of companies that delivered comprehensive projects for buildings in every production sector. Alongside several buildings designed by the Stuttgart office of Philipp Jakob Manz, works by Heinrich Zieger, based initially in Zittau, also warrant highlighting, as do those by the Frankfurt office of C. T. Steinert, which specialised exclusively in designing buildings for the leather industry.

The most successful Austro-Hungarian office was established in Prague in 1908 by Bruno Bauer (1880–1938). By 1911 he had relocated to Vienna, where the second generation of Austro-Hungarian factory-owners were meeting up at that time, both locals and those running factories in other industrial centres of the Monarchy. Bauer’s importance did not escape the attention of Austrian art-historical (Renate Wagner-Rieger), topographic (Ute Georgeacopol-Winischhofer) and biographic (Inge Schiedl) literature, nor did his buildings in Vienna and Lower Austria, but the major part of his work is located on the territory of what was then the Czech lands. The archives of Bauer’s design office are now likely lost, and the documents and materials for the individual structures he designed are scattered among different relevant construction and business archives. Many of these documents were published in Austrian and German engineering periodicals and even made their way into technical handbooks and textbooks. He himself claimed that by 1930 he had worked on more than 380 projects, but to date only 75 buildings or production sites (of which 14 are no longer in existence) have been reliably identified. Bauer used reinforced concrete frames in a whole range of building types: He created uniquely designed multi-storey buildings for wool factories in Brno, Krnov in Silesia, and the North Bohemian town of Kralice, shed structures, for example, for the textile factories in Brněnec and a weaving mill that manufactured curtains in Sankt Polten, and framework-structure halls for the machine works in the North Bohemian town of Tanvald and the Styrian town of Weiz. In 1915–1916, for the Austro-Hungarian Ministry of War, Bauer designed a series of strategically important plants producing nitrates for military production, of which the only ones that have survived to date in their authentic structural state are a series of buildings in what is now Mosonmagyarovar, which used plasma technology to obtain nitrogen from air. A similarly complex work of construction Bauer designed for the textile industry the now only partially preserved textile factory he created for the Berlin-based joint-stock company Deutsche Wollwaren-Manufaktur, built in 1923–1924 in the Lower-Silesian town of Zielona Gora. However, a typical branch of work that Bauer engaged in during the postwar period was the reorganisation of existing industrial production sites, replenishing them with the addition of a new building in which he concentrated the preparatory and finishing steps in the production process, which had prior to that been scattered among multiple different buildings – examples of this are the multi-storey buildings he designed in Brno and Červeny Kostelec that have survived in their authentic state. Such investments in modernisation also often took the form of detached buildings for textile dyeworks, for which purpose in 1912 Bauer devised a special hollow, pre-heated, reinforced-concrete ventilation roof for dispersing fog. Bauer introduced innovations in the spatial layout of reinforced structures, but especially in the method by which they were reinforced. He expanded on the concept of rigid, self-bearing reinforcement devised by his teacher, Josef Melan, and Melan’s older student Friedrich Ignaz Emperger (1862–1942), who in 1902–1908 had developed a method using a ‘column of hollow cast-iron section encased in hooped concrete’, which was used in practice on a larger scale for the first time in 1913 by Bauer himself in the construction of workshops for the Swedish firm Ericsson in Meidling near Vienna. In the 1920s Bauer progressed to structural frames in which most of the load is supported by prefabricated columns with cast-iron cores, encased in concrete shells by steel bracing wires, while the girders and beams were cast in an assembled self-supporting casing of perforated sheet-metal that also served as their reinforcement. Bauer also engaged in political and professional activities: He promoted Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi’s idea of a union of European states, in 1925 he founded the Austrian branch of the Federation Internationale des Ingenieurs-Conseils (FIDIC), and in 1931–1934 he held the office of President of the Chamber of Engineers for Vienna, Lower Austria, and the Burgenland.

In 1914 Bauer gave a lecture in Vienna titled ‘The Problem of Industrial Construction’, which was not just a proclamation on behalf of the profession of industrial architect, but was also a reaction to the Werkbund exhibition in Cologne and its Almanac published the year before – and which was thus also a foray into the contemporary debate on the relationship between engineering and architecture. While Peter Behrens and Walter Gropius in terms of theory and especially in practice tied in with the custom of engaging architects to refine engineering structures, Hermann Muthesius maintained his defence of the creative skills of engineers, directed at a concept of Sachlich architecture that facilitates a synthesis of art and technology. It is understandable that Bauer sided with Muthesius – like him, he too regarded the architect im guten alten Sinne as an all-round, versatile Leonardo da Vinci, promoted unity of all the building-arts, and dismissed style-architecture, though not Classical formal rules. He thus became a successor in the line of empirical architectural thought grounded in practice. Mitchel Schwarzer traces this line in German-language architectural theory as proceeding from Schinkel and especially Botticher’s Tectonic theory, and labels it the realistic line. A related concept was formulated around the same time by Kenneth Frampton, who placed Perrault at the inception of his ‘tectonic culture’. If Bauer defined an industrial structure as a ‘routing diagram in stone and iron’, then ‘stone and iron’ are here what represent the link to that empirical tectonic tradition, and designing based on a ‘routing diagram’ is then the most advanced and scientifically based method of designing factories, a method that Bauer in his own way advanced.

While the practices and theoretical viewpoints that prevailed in the European industrial designing offices in subsequent periods still need to be studied further, it can be assumed that the methods that advanced most were those based on teamwork. Bruno Bauer, as the one author behind the operational, structural, and architectural designs of his industrial structures, was clearly the last of his kind.

Summary translated by Robin Cassling


The publication represents an outcome of the project Industrial Architecture: Understanding Monuments of Industrial Heritage as Technical-Architectural Works and as a Source of Identity of a Place supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic under its NAKI II (National and Cultural Identity) Applied Research Programme (DG16P02H001)


Lukáš Beran, Bruno Bauer and the Industrial Architecture in the Czech Lands, Prague 2016.

128 pages; Czech/summary in English and German; 133 images and plans; ISBN 978-80-01-05992-0 / author Lukáš Beran / index of places Irena Lehkoživová / proofreading Hana Hlušičková / scientific review Pavel Halík, Petr Urlich / translation Robin Cassling, Susanne Spurná / graphic design Jan Forejt / typesetting Formall / print PBtisk / published by the Research Centre for Industrial Heritage FA CTU Prague


book Bruno Bauer and the Industrial Architecture in the Czech Lands book Bruno Bauer and the Industrial Architecture in the Czech Lands book Bruno Bauer and the Industrial Architecture in the Czech Lands book Bruno Bauer and the Industrial Architecture in the Czech Lands