Museum Kampa - Sova's Mill - The Jan and Meda Mladek Foundation (Museum Kampa - Sovovy mlýny)

U Sovových mlýnů 503/2 Praha 1 - Malá Strana Phone: 257 286 147


Sova’s Mills | It was this place, where perhaps the first mill in Prague was located. The oldest written mention of mills at Kampa date back to 1393, but mills had clattered here much earlier. Names changed by current owners: in the 15th century it was the St. George Mill, in the end of the 15th century the name changed to the Sova’s Mill, later it was called Severínovský Kosořský and – from 1561 - again Sova’s Mills. Probably in 1850 the name was changed to Odkolkovský Mill. After the Hussite wars Kampa was acquired by the Prague's Old Town, which donated the desolate place to Václav Sova z Liboslavě in 1478 (later he became the Old Town alderman); the place was given to him for the purpose of building the house and mills there. He built a house here, set up mills, hammer with cutting shop, lumber mill, furnace, cloth and tawing mill for tanning hides and other operations. The area included also the farm yard and gardens. His descendants steadily expanded and rebuilt the estate. Gradually, the two-wing main building was built with typical gables that despite many changes still exists. During the Thirty Years War Swedes battered the Old Town from here. The originally Gothic mills were later rebuilt and adapted in the Renaissance style; another reconstruction, which took place around 1836, was done with the assistance of the architect Josef Kranner. After 1850, the mills were acquired by František Odkolek, the entrepreneur, who started a spectacular redevelopment with the assistance of the architect Josef Maličký and the builder František Srnec. In 1862 and 1867 the mill courtyard was rebuilt and the neo-Gothic two-story residential wing was added. Architects Josef Schulz and Josef Zítek participated in the adjustment works. František Odkolek converted the mill to the steam-mill in the American way, so that a tall chimney had to be built here, which marred the skyline. Mills were for centuries threatened by fires and floods. The last major fire engulfed the Odkolek mill in 1896. The burnt out mill became the property of the municipality of Prague and the front part on the bank of the river was demolished in 1920 as a part of river regulation and construction of water outlets; the residential building later became the seat of the Czechoslovak Academy of Science.There was an idea of the hotel project, which was expected to bring the life back to the building, but it was rejected because of poor access for vehicles. Already at the time between the world wars there had been an idea of building a modern gallery, which however was only implemented recently, when the seat of the unique collection of modern art, especially of the Czech painter František Kupka, was built; the collection was created in the U.S. by the Czech collector Mrs. Meda Mládková together with her husband. The owner donated the collection as a gift to the Czech Republic. In 2000, the reconstruction of Sova’s Mills was started to accommodate this collection according to the project by the Viennese architect Helena Bukovanská. Also the creative team of Václav Cígler, Miroslav Karel, Michal Motyčka and Dana Zámečníková and Miroslav Špaček worked on the project. In the old and dilapidated building imaginative modern gallery spaces have been built, the nature of which has been determined by the modern elements of stainless steel and glass. All areas are connected via the staircase steel construction whereas walkway and railings of the terrace with unforgettable views are made of safety glass. In the courtyard of the area there is an attractive water line with the flowing water that connects the gallery with the river. An artifact in the shape of a giant glass cube in a metal frame was installed on the gallery building with the help of a helicopter. Although conservationists protested against this artifact hindering the view of Prague Castle, the Ministry of Culture permitted the installation. The Czech Jan and Meda Mlád

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