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Cukrarna Ljubljana / Miran Kambič
Architecture & Design

Homes of art: Once industrial plants, and what they have become today

Examples of fantastic buildings that today tell very interesting artistic stories are waiting for you below. You will find some in the regional vicinity, and some will be worth going to Portugal and Italy.

Tina Kovačiček

February 26, 2024

Architecture as a silent witness of time often tells us about its general condition; who or what we have forgotten, how we think and where our values ​​are. Industrial facilities, once active participants in social life, often fall into oblivion after expiration date, like these beautiful examples. Years and years passed without anyone addressing them, and then one day the idea arose that it would be nice to restore those buildings to come alive.

Sugar Factory in Ljubljana

Gallery Cukrarna opened in 2021, affording charming Ljubljana a fantastic space for art, its exhibition, performance and reflection. It used to be a modest sugar factory that progressed into the first real factory in the region. A devastating fire and changes in production, as well as the debts of then owner, turned the sugar factory into a rental building. By the 1980s, the Sugar Factory began to be considered a shameful stain on the city, and it was time for the City of Ljubljana to buy it back and take care of the building. The roof of the former sugar factory and the exterior walls with as many as 318 windows have retained their original appearance. Although the building is protected as an important part of the industrial heritage, only after the restoration did it become an architectural beauty that you should not miss when you are in Ljubljana.

Miran Kambič
Miran Kambič

Terra Museum in Kikinda

It was in 2017. when the Terra Museum opened in Kikinda, as a part of impressive building that used to be a cavalry training ground, and later a barracks. A wish that lasted several decades, and at the initiative of professor and academic sculptor Slobodan Kojić, founder of the eponymous international terracotta sculpture symposium, came true. Authors and sculptors were given the opportunity to permanently exhibit their works in large formats, and visitors to Kikinda had an impressive museum experience. There are currently about 1,000 terracotta sculptures in the Terra collection that provides an opportunity for visitors to see the works that have occurred during the four decades of the International Sculpture Symposium – Terra.

Muzej Terra

Sugar Palace in Rijeka

The beautiful baroque palace within the former industrial complex “Rikard Benčić” was completely renovated and repurposed into the new home of the Museum of the City of Rijeka. Protected as a cultural asset, the palace was built in 1752. year for the needs of the administrative building of the sugar refinery, and it is an integral part of the industrial complex that testifies to the industrial development of Rijeka in the 18th century. The fire messed up her accounts too, but after that it was significantly renovated and equipped with baroque interiors with wall paintings and stucco. Today, the exhibition on 2 fantastically decorated floors covers the history of Rijeka from the 18th century. until the 21st century, from the moment the city became a free royal port in 1719. year, which gave him the opportunity for unprecedented development.

Palača šećera_ Rijeka_Interijer_031
Petar Fabijan / Muzej grada Rijeke
Palača šećera_ Rijeka_Interijer_031
Petar Fabijan / Muzej grada Rijeke

Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) in Lisbon

Opened in 2016, MAAT is an international institution dedicated to fostering critical discourse and creative practice. Located on the banks of the river in Lisbon’s historic Belém district, it consists of a former power station built in 1908. – MAAT Central – and contemporary buildings – MAAT Gallery – connected by a park that stretches along the Tagus River. In addition to the program of occasional exhibitions and activities, the museum also has permanent exhibitions, such as this one dedicated to the former power plant in the building named Central Tejo. The architecture of the central part of the building with its imposing brick-clad iron structures that reflect different influences is typical of the so-called “power plants” of the late 19th century. Adjacent to the Central Tejo is the MAAT Gallery as beautiful example of the combination of old and new.

MAAT Lisabon

MAAT Lisabon / FG+SG

MAAT Lisabon / Francisco Nogueira

MAAT Lisabon / Francisco Nogueira

Iuav University in Venice

One of the leading public universities in the field of architecture, art and design, Università Iuav di Venezia also has one of the best programs dedicated to economic, environmental and social sustainability. Also, Iuav strives to be an example of good practice and they are doing well since they turned the former cotton factory into classrooms and a university campus. The building, once known as Cotonificio, was opened in 1883. as a cotton production company founded by two Italian noblemen, Eugenio Cantoni and Carlo Moschini. The factory was definitively closed at the beginning of the sixties of the last century after the general crisis of the industry and was abandoned for the next thirty years. But that was not the end of Cotonificio. Like a phoenix, it got a new life in the 90s, when it started hosting architects and became a point of reference for thousands of students.

Iuav University Venice

Iuav University

Iuav University Venecia

Iuav University