The Dynamit Nobel plant in Bratislava: Key aspects of architectural and urban planning development

Nina Bartošová


Today the plan called Istrochem previously known as the Chemical Plant of Juraj Dimitrov, located in north-east part of the city of Bratislava known as The New City, has overcome a complicated development since its establishment.

Apart from the production plant, the former dynamite and other explosives producing factory, based in 1873 by a Swede Alfred Nobel, other neighbouring sites belong to the historically developing region. The area of the former factory for artificial fibres known as Závod mieru (The Piece Plant 1947-1951) is separated by a road (Vajnorské St.) from the main area. The sites of several neighbouring residential districts belong to the main area as well. They provided accommodation for the factory workers.

Unlike the other more than ten Nobel dynamite factories throughout Europe, the Bratislava factory went through radical change in its urban architectural setting. Its present state only very vaguely indicates that it is a follower of one of the most important Austro Hungarian explosive factories. Barely anything has been left out of the oldest structures designed by the Feiglers, a notable Bratislava family of master builders. There were left only few of the structures built by Pittel and Brausewette, an Austrian company based in Bratislava at that time. The both world wars meant a prosperous time for the factory. Most structures that have been preserved are from the period of the Second World War.

The last upturn of production and the related urban and architectural development are linked with the arrival of Professor Vladimír Karfík to Slovakia. He is the author of the architectural design of Závod mieru (The Piece Plant). Through construction of the new factory and the connected housing estates Vistra (Mierová kolónia) and White Cross (Biely kríž) Karfík brought not only modern industrial architecture but a quality standard of living as well. This was a model that had been taken over from the functioning model of the Bata´s shoe factories. What we find interesting on the former Nobel factories is the fact that in spite of building factories all over the world Nobel did not use a unified urban scheme or standardized architectural design. His factories logically followed production requirements but the different local conditions, continual transformation and development in building construction have negatively marked the clarity of urban setting. In comparison to this, the Karfík´s style represents a clear concept as to the production and complementary services.

Keywords: plant, Karfík, Zlín, Dynamit Nobel, architecture, Bratislava, development