Restauration of the mill in Bontida

The Mill Building  from Bánffy Castle, Bonţida-historical monument of national value included in the List of Historical Monuments, position 1014, with the identification code CJ-II-mA-07534.04

The Mill is part of the  Bánffy Castle Ensamble, subsequently separated from the castle through a street. The Baroque Castle Ensemble  consists of 7 buildings: the main building, with a U-shaped planimetry with its three wings including also the bastion on the south-western side and the clock tower; southeast wing with the bastion; the stable building located east of the main yard, main entrance gate; the stud building that no longer exists, and the mill outside the castle court.

The existance of The Mill is closely linked to the village and Bánffy family history. Since the XIIIth- XIVth century, Bonţida was mentioned in chronicles as "mill village", as well as market-town  and customs.
Next centuries are bringing a constant development of the settlement, but there are no references to the mill in the  written documents.
In the 1735 inventory, the mill building as well as the wooden footbridge next to the mill are mentioned among other buildings. In the same list are mentioned three names / families of millers: Alexa Morar, Morar Togyer (Toader), Oltyan Vonul (Oltean Vonul) as well as Roşu Juon (Ioan) wood sculptor .

Austrian military maps drawn up during 1763-1787 (1782-1785 in the territory of Transylvania), are pointing to the existence of a mill, north-east of the castle, by the mill channel and another mill on the other end of the village. At the beginning of the XIXth century, Count József Bánffy came into possession of the whole ensemble. In   1821 under his direction, the new empire style mill is built, out of the stone blocks from the dungeon-the castle's entrance gate which had been demolished. This building is the subject of the present project ..

At the beginning of XXth century, the mill is modernized according to a design developed by Lajos Titz working with Ganz company in Budapest. The works were finalized in October 1928. After the territorial reform of 1945 the entire land property of Bánffy family in Bonţida was nationalized. After that, the decision was temporarily revoked but in 1948 it became irrevocably Romanian state-property , being administered by the local authorities of the village. In 1966 the production stops for good due to a public counsel's decision. Once deserted , abandoned, the mill starts to  gradually deteriorate and this process accelerated once the regime changed leading up to its present status. The volume , the original façades are still recognizable, but the mill shows signs of advanced degradation, especially in the interior space configuration where different functional platforms and the equipment for the mill  are destroyed. The restauration of the roof framing started in 2004  as part of the summer school organized by the Transylvania Trust.

Like any monument of industrial architecture, the mill had a high valued technical equipment , being one of the few mills with six axes of wheels in Transylvania. There are only a few components of this equipment remaining at this point.

Technical condition of the building is extremely poor, the building is severely damaged, the present state of most sub-assemblies is either close to collaps or under severe degradation.
The Mill is a cultural and architectural landmark acting like a major identity mark for the local community from Bontida. The investment implies "saving" a monument building, part of our national built heritage. Its rehabilitation is designed under the principles of integrated restoration in order for the mill to become a unique cultural institution not only for the local community, but also for other educational establishments, both inland and abroad.

Complementary to the complete restoration of the building and of the traditional milling equipment in the premises, the project suggests the restoration of surrounding  landscape according to the historical baseline, the rehabilitation of „Pârâul Morii” for the mill wheels to be set to work again and also the restoration of wooden bridge over the creek at the entrance to mill;

The fully operational mill building will function as a museum of the old mill. The original ground-floor spaces will receive new functions:

  • a large exhibition area with rehabilitated elements of the restored mill - as permanent exhibits;
  • main entry with an information console and a checkpoint, a playground for children on the side area, a craft workshop operating on the lower platform,
  • the upper platform for projections, presentations, or for reading. The walls will serve as areas of exhibitions or projections. These spaces will be provided with all the necessary equipment and facilities. Secondary entrance on the west side will allow an extension of the lounge with an outside terrace.
  • The upper floor will serve as exhibition space / gallery, it may function as a computer room as well.