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The foundries in Præstø are a cohesive urban industrial plant from the late 1800s, and they tell the story of Denmark’s transition from an agricultural to industrial culture.
The foundries were built in 1887 to house the town’s ironworks. The buildings were located in the centre of Præstø along the southern boundary marked by the Tubæk å watercourse with a direct connection to the town high street: Adelgade. The property consists of the production halls themselves, a foreman’s building with office and residence, as well as a warehouse. The buildings surround a courtyard and today there is a small green oasis behind them. In the future, the buildings will be converted to become the town's civic centre, with a library, citizen service centre, local archives and much more.
However, extensive restoration and conversion work on the historic buildings lies ahead.
The iron foundries in Præstø were completed in 1887. The buildings were constructed during the flowering of the historicism architectural style, and even though they are purely industrial, the contemporary architectural style left its mark. The cast-iron pillars bearing the roof above the large, open space are decorated with leaf-crowned capitals, and the brickwork around the doors and windows is delicately detailed. The entire production building consists of a hall with symmetrical, low-pitched roofing as well as supplementary buildings with shed roofs, i.e. a factory roof with a saw-tooth profile with alternate sloping and vertical roof surfaces. The foreman’s building and warehouse stand largely as they did originally, and both buildings still have the original brick-built Monier arch in the floor separation.
Together, the three buildings are an exceptional and cohesive industrial plant, from a time when industrialisation in Denmark was gaining real momentum. Once, industrial plants like this were scattered in town centres all over Denmark. The foundries in Præstø help preserve and protect an important building type, which very much paved the way for modern Danish society.
The restoration of the foundries will not only be a great improvement for the buildings themselves; it will also improve the whole town. The plan is for the buildings to include a library, citizen service centre, local archives and associations with facilities for exhibitions. The foundries will be a civic community centre in Præstø. To further enhance the town centre, the municipality will establish a small pedestrian bridge over the river running behind the buildings. This will link the foundries with an existing car park south of the river.