Factory Chimneys. Function, Construction, Architecture

In 1906, František Klokner (1872–1960) published his essay On factory stacks in the journal Vynálezy a pokroky (Inventions and Progress). He introduced the general public to stack functions, design and technical solutions, illustrating how record-breaking and outstanding stacks were built and also drawing the reader’s attention to their aesthetic qualities. This book draws on his important contribution and much broadens its scope significantly at the same time, introducing new facts that have emerged in the last hundred years.

The book looks back at the origins of stacks, demonstrates how functional and technological requirements influenced the construction, describes the typology of stack structures, introduces the reader to brick, steel and reinforced concrete stacks while discussing their creators and outlining the construction technology. The main focus of this work, however, lies on the present time: What is the value of our stacks? Why do we need to preserve them? How can they be re-used? The most of our stacks have become useless, silent witnesses of their time facing the risk of destruction. The question has arisen how to possibly integrate them in our current, post-industrial era. The book concludes with a catalogue of 23 selected extant stacks. While some of them are still in operation, some have won their chance for a new life. But there are some stacks that are falling into ruins facing the uncertain future. The book has been written as a part of research project titled Industrial Topography – new use of industrial heritage in the Czech Republic as a part of national and cultural identity (Grant No. DF11P01OVV016), which is supported under the NAKI (National and Cultural Identity) programme of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, and it forms an integral part of the education and registration methodology Using the potential of historical industrial architecture and its urban-planning role in the territory.


Martin Vonka, Factory Chimneys. Function, Construction, Architecture, Prague 2014.

224 pages; Czech, English summary; 184 images; ISBN 978-80-01-05566-3 / author Martin Vonka / contributing editorial work Benjamin Fragner, Jan Zikmund / scientific review Petr Svobodný, Bohumil Ježek / proofreading Hana Hlušičková / index Anna Vinklárková / translation Jana Kinská / graphic design and typesetting Jan Zikmund / technical support Jan Forejt, Gabriel Fragner, Jiří Klíma / print PBtisk / published by the Research Centre for Industrial Heritage FA CTU Prague with the support of the Omega – Teplotechna Prague a. s. and the Association for the District Heating of the Czech Republic