Authors: Peter Buday, Monika Chalmovská, Petra Kalová, Naďa Kirinovičová, Alžbeta Rössnerová, Róbert Sekula, Eva Sudová, Lóránt Talamon, Jana Váňová#
Sugar factory – production facilities, supportive structures, administrative and residential buildings
Sugar factory straddling at the southeastern border of the urban Sládkovičovo, has had several construction phases, since its establishment in 1867. Currently at the complex there is the logical arrangement of objects according to their function. The existence of these production facilities and supportive structures refers today to a coherent alignment of manufactories situated in a place where there were buildings existed in synergy and were constituted together in one inseparable unit. Production facilities were located in the central part of the complex and supportive structures such as warehouses, workshops and administrative buildings were located around the periphery of the complex.
Present manufacturing unit in the center of the complex of objects such as – vats, power station, refineries and limekiln represents functionalism phase of construction during 1935–1938 with modifications and completion from 1970s to 1980s.
Objects of sugar factory complex such as granary, warehouse and workshop of agricultural machines were secondary objects serving to maintain the operation. Although the objects have not been built at the same time, they are all situated around the perimeter of the main area of production facilities, due to their function. In a separate section on the northwest edge of the area there are later built objects of cannery with large freezer, as additional production facilities to the ongoing production of sugar.
Buildings located in the northern part of the sugar factory complex – office building, casino, apartment building for clerks and management and the lodge served as administrative and residential facilities of sugar factory. Almost all objects have besides the primary also an additional function – mainly residential (apartments for clerks). Situated on the edge of the sugar factory right next to the main entrance these buildings pointed to the definition of the functional parts of the area. Unique architectural and artistic additions of the buildings, particularly administrative building standing next to the Casino, added representative element of the sugar factory and at the same time presented wealth of the builder – Karl Kuffner, Baron de Diószegh.
Petra Kalová, Jana Váňová
Residential complex 01
Although the residential area is not a homogeneous complex of buildings, considering it was built continuously in various time periods, all objects are situated closely to the sugar mill district, along the Školská Street and to the west of the sugar mill. There was a representational neighborhood built with the mansion for the Chief Executive of the sugar mill and also a mansion for Oskar Pfeffer, who was the Chief Clerk and later the Chief Executive. On the land between the two mansions there was a pair of residential buildings built for housing the Senior Executives of the sugar mill.
Both historical mansions were built sometimes in the first quarter of the 20th century. Because of their structural style, and the fact that they were equipped with luxurious furniture, they were destined to represent the wealth and success of its founders. The couple of residential buildings with garages situated on the southwest of the sugar mill were constructed sometimes between 1904 and 1924. The buildings represent architectural style of a higher standard and at the same with its gracious art nouveau style brighten this part of the city.
The oldest object of this complex is the Wollner Mansion, which served as a tavern, located at the busy corner of Školská and Cukrovarská Street. It was built by a businessman, David Wollner, at the beginning of the 20th century. Next to it, on the Školská Street there is the house of the local Pharmacist. On the other side, on Cukrovarská Street, stands the house of Doctor Pongrácz. They are both private mansions built in the 1920s. They document, that in this neighborhood there were mainly mansions built for the wealthier population, back then so called Diószegh.
Naďa Kirinovičová, Jana Váňová
Residential complex 02
The developing industry of Diószegh, which consisted of the sugar mill, cannery, limekiln and the distillery, provided employment for large amounts of people from the close and distant area. The sugar making industry was a seasonal one, lasting from the end of September until the end of December. In the sugar mill the stable long-term employees worked, but during the busiest times it was necessary to hire many seasonal workers, often from the close district of the sugar mill. During the high season, the sugar mill provided work for hundreds of people, who worked in the agricultural production and often carried out side jobs for the sugar production, such as help in the warehouse, feeding the animals and so on. The employment was also assured by jobs such as repairing or maintenance of the industrial and agricultural equipment. The cultivation of crops or commodities and the animal farming were mainly concentrated at the estate, where people worked on fields belonging to the sugar mill, or rented by the sugar mill.
The housing for workers was assured by the workers colony, which consisted of a group of two various types of houses concentrated in one area. In Diószegh the colony was located northwest of the sugar mill along the Cukrovarská Street. Not only could you find here houses for administration or for manual workers, but also stables in which there were kept domestic animals for workers’ own needs. The colony was build continuously all the way from the end of the 19th century and along the Cukrovarská Street from the beginning of the 20th century. The last construction phase were the 1940s after which followed rare reconstructions of the older buildings, mainly the reconstruction of stables into residential houses in the 1950s. A deep well of information are the years of construction carved into the building façade, directly under the roof’s peak. The housing for seasonal workers was provided by the workers hotel, which was built to the south of the cannery sometimes in the 1940s. The solitary building constructed from bare bricks is marked by the uncommon motif of a veranda and also the semicircular niche on the main facade of the building. It is assumed that the niche housed an unknown statue, which unfortunately no longer exists. The workers colony in Sládkovičovo together with the workers hotel is one of the few well-preserved buildings of industrial housing colonies from the first half of the 20th century. In entire Slovak Republic it is one of few which is preserved as a whole complex of buildings, not just individual buildings.
There are currently three mills (various dating) in Sládkovičovo, associated with Karl Kuffner.
The oldest building is the water mill, situated in the eastern part of the city. This neo baroque building has architectural and structural elements (late baroque arches in the living area, late-manufacturing part of the roof) In 1912, when it was bought by Kuffner family, it was adapted to small hydroelectric power plant that supplied some objects in the city with electricity.
In the same year, 1912, Karl Kuffner built a fully-automated Maria Mill. Area of the Maria Mill was entirely separated and located in the west of the Sugar factory and it was connected by the sugar factory railway. Mill area, just like the sugar factory complex, has logical dividing of objects for production, and supportive objects. There are two warehouses of flour and office building located next to each other. Behind the main mill building there is a modern grain elevator from the 1960s. It is a large capacity building for grain storage. Despite the present activity of the mill, the original concept of objects, presented in morphological elements, still can be recognized. At the original concept of the mill there was a residential building for employees, situated north of the production site. It represents the staircase type of an apartment building and it has been preserved to this day in almost authentic form.
The third mill object in Sládkovičovo is the former steam mill, which is situated north of the sugar factory. The mill was bought by Karl Kuffner in 1923 and was adapted from its original function to the store of sugar beet. Just like Maria Mill, it was connected with sugar factory by railway.
Petra Kalová, Naďa Kirinovičová
In our context, extraordinarily active historical structure of Sládkovičovo tells us about three main stages of its development.
First stage, as a center of one of the estates of The Order of Saint Clare (late 14th to late 18th century), is represented by the first manor house and a church. The first stage is also related to torso of a former public house and water mill which is still standing today.
In the late 17th century, the spiritual life and secular administration of the town and nearby region was focused in the area located in the northeast part of the town. It was bounded by the provincial road leading to town of Šintava in the north, by the Sugar factory street in the south and by the river Dudváh in the east.
The importance in the historical development is reflected by the fact that the earlier situation still remains legible.
Manor house is located on the north border of the area and it connects town industrial complex. It obtained its current appearance after reconstruction works carried out in 1885 and 1919–1921. First reconstruction was directed by Viennese architect Franz von Neumann, who turned it from neo-baroque mansion with neo-renaissance basics to a beautiful eclectic residence.
In the west of the manor, following the edge of the land there is the subject of former stables. East of the main manor building there is a house for servants. The English Park, which is spread around a manor house, was founded in 1885, in the area of the former farm and utility gardens. Today, the utility function of the area is pointed out only by the two-level granary. In the southeastern extension of the park, there was built neoclassical family mausoleum designed by one of the doyens of Slovak architecture, Michal Milan Harminc. One of the original buildings in the park is the bowling alley.
Southwest of the castle there is an area that occurred in the first half of the 17th century around early-baroque single-nave church with a massive western tower. This is the only part of the earlier building that maintained after construction of a new temple in the second stage of the history of the village. Administration of estates after the abolition of The Order of Saint Clare in 1782 was taken by Catholic Church. The funds of the Catholic Church were used for construction of the present Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary. Possibly at this period „old“ parsonage could have been built. In front of the parsonage there is the sculpture of the Holy Trinity.
Perhaps the most substantial impulse for the growth of the town was when the sugar factory was placed in town. The presence of industrial complex and its co-owner and director in one person were also significant to the architecture of the area. In the complex of the sugar factory, as well as the historical center of the village, there were new buildings built and brought new quality in the environment. In the 1950s the image of the town was not only enriched by the eclectic baronial residence but also by new building of kindergarten (1906) and Catholic elementary school (1909) in the historical expression. Its surrounding environment of elementary school was completed with additional monumental memorial to the fallen in the First World War, in 1938.
Development of the local Jewish Community was directly linked to the beginnings of sugar factory. Synagogue in the former German Diószegh served to religious rite communities. There was also the Israelite School. Piety place of Jewish people from the wider surroundings, not only from town, was situated in north of the city, outside the occupied territories.
In years between the world wars buildings of the municipal office, local consumer cooperative, post office, police station, fire station, the so-called Jubilee school or medical center „Green Cross“, were added in the center. Although added objects brought „urban element“ to the center, they still respected the original, historical concept of the town. At the present sugar factory and buildings related to it helped to create a specific character of the town Sládkovičovo.