Refurbishment works on the former Sugar Refinery Palace, which will house the City Museum and its permanent holdings following renovation, commenced in the spring of 2018 and cover an area of 4,272 m2. The works are being carried out by the Slovene company VG5 d.o.o.
The total value of the contracted works on the Sugar Refinery Palace is 48.5 million HRK. Institut IGH d.d. from Zagreb will carry out expert supervision. The cost of the expert supervision is 998,000 HRK.
The renovation of the Sugar Refinery Palace and the ship Galeb is an integral part of the EU project “Tourism Valorisation of Representative Industrial Heritage Monuments in Rijeka”. This project has received grants in the amount of 68.9 million HRK from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion.
The project documentation for the execution of the reconstruction works on the Sugar Refinery Palace was drawn up by the Croatian Conservation Institute, with Irma Hujić, PhD, as chief designer. The conceptual design of the new permanent exhibition of the City Museum of Rijeka was drafted by the designer Nikolina Jelavić Mitrović, a recipient of the European Museum of the Year Award for her work pertaining to the Vukovar City Museum and the author of the decorated exhibition at the Sinj Alka Museum. The value of the furnishing and installation of the permanent holdings is estimated at 5.7 million HRK.
Following renovation and refurbishment, the City Museum of Rijeka will be relocated to the former headquarters of the Sugar Refinery Palace.
Business premises comprising a book and gift shop, cafe/pastry shop and tourism content will be located on the ground floor of the renovated building, while the permanent holdings of the City Museum on the first and second floors will tell the story of Rijeka’s history and culture. The premises for the work of the curator and the supporting staff will be located on the third floor, while the technical spaces and storage rooms will be located in the attic. A new staircase will also be constructed for evacuation purposes along the western facade of the building.
The permanent holdings of the City Museum will showcase many exhibits that are emblematic for Rijeka, such as the first torpedo in the world, the Naval Academy, Rijeka as an emigration port, the history of the city theatre, the skyscrapers in Rijeka, music, rock in Rijeka, the history of large companies in Rijeka – the Paper Factory, the Tobacco Factory… The items and artefacts from the museum’s holdings will be exhibited in over 30 rooms on two floors.
With the renovation of the building, Rijeka will receive a representative cultural space with a lavish interior teeming with lush decorations, wall and ceiling paintings with mythological motifs, historical scenes from Antiquity and panoramas of imaginary cities.
The Sugar Refinery Palace has been protected cultural property since 1970. The Croatian Conservation Institute has conducted research and the obtained results have urged thoughtful consideration of its future utilisation.