14 October 2020

Sugar Plant Palace – City of Rijeka cultural heritage building

If you ask engineers, supervising rehabilitation of cultural heritage buildings can be the most time consuming part of their work, but also most gratifying. They are able to see the gradual transformation of the buildings from the current state to the original one.

One such project that Institut IGH is supervising is the Sugar Plant complex building in Rijeka. It was originally built as a Rijeka Sugar Refinery in 1750 by the Dutch company Arnoldt & Co., locating the first production plant in the western suburb of the then Rijeka, and then expanding to new city locations. At that time, around 700 workers processed the delivered raw sugar. The sugar plant ceased to operate in 1826 and its production complex was used by the Hungarian army as a barracks for 16 years. Later, the Tobacco Factory started operating in its place, which grew into the largest tobacco processing plant in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. From 1945 to 1998, the complex will be known among the people of Rijeka as the Rikard Benčić factory which produced engines and tractors.

Today, the preserved palace of the Sugar Refinery is reminiscent of such an economic past of the city. It is the largest neo-baroque building on the east coast of the Adriatic and in 1970. Sugar Palace became a protected cultural heritage asset.

Soon to be renovated and back to its old glory, this baroque palace will become the City of Rijeka museum. The first and second floors are intended for the museum’s exhibition spaces. The western part of the second floor will be reserved also for various cultural events. For curators and other staff, the whole third floor is reserved for their daily work. Museum experts estimate that over 67,000 visitors will pass through the museum each year.

As mentioned, Institut IGH d.d. is supervising this complex project. What remains to be done is to perform the necessary tests of all installations as well as functional tests of heating, cooling, ventilation and other installations. The furnishing of the interior of the building is in progress, where it remains to make the connections of the building to all the necessary installations, video surveillance and technical protection.

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