The idea about the Alka Halls construction is much older than the written evidence kept in the Alka Knights Society dating from the end of 19th century.
The evidence about the first major activities can be found in the records from 1927 when the Management Board of the Society was trying to provide funds for the Alka Halls construction on the Kamičak fortress. They engaged, through the mediation of the sculptor Ivan Meštrović, a famous Slovenian architect Vinko Glanza, who developed a preliminary design. There were also ideas to place the Halls at Palacin – today’s Museum of the Cetina Region. In 1954 the work on the project became more active. That idea, as well as many other emerging later on, was not realized because of one basic reason: lack of funds. In 1980 the Governing Board of the Alka Knights Society in cooperation with Prof. Ivo Maroević from the Croatian Restoration Institute and Ing. Duško Dropulić founded a committee and they started initiative on building the Halls again, with several proposals for the location. After eight years the procedure for obtaining the upper part of the Kvartiri complex was launched, and Ante Milas, B. Eng. in Arch, created conceptual design.
In 1993 the Alka Knights Society became the owner of the upper part of the Kvartiri complex. Finally, by Croatian Government’s decision in 2004, the Society became the owner of the whole Kvartiri complex. In 1999 dynamic research works of the Conservation Department of the Ministry of Culture in Split started, as well as all the activities related to obtaining the necessary permits. In 2001 public tender for preliminary design of the Alka Halls – Museum of Alka - was announced. As the best one, the work of Ante Kuzmanić, B. Eng. in Arch from the Faculty of Civil Engineering in Split was accepted. Agreement on the preparation of project documentation was concluded.
After all the necessary documents had been provided, public tenders were announced and, out of all received bids, the company Alkom d.o.o.Split was chosen for the contractor, and the company Konzalt ing d.o.o. Zagreb to supervise the construction.
“…..If the Alka procession starts from the Alka Halls, then the Halls are the starting point of the Alka….”
New premises of the Alka Knights Society, the Alka Club, and the exhibition and presentation part, are situated in the renovated and annexed Kvartiri rooms. The complex of halls is a harmonious and unified space which only seems to be divided by a yard. The square formed by the buildings is architecturally defined space intended exclusively for the needs of the Alka Knights Society. It was necessary to harmoniously connect the premises for mutually different purposes and daily activities on one side and the Museum on the other side, which remains at the centre of interest and which should not be deprived in any way.
The Museum and conference hall in the excavated yard are the backbone of the complex that connects the space from the Petrovac entrance in the south to the Duke’s premises in the north. Thereby, the split-levelled space gives a special dynamics to the visitor climbing up along the museum exhibits and getting the experience from several angles – the third dimension experience. A special attraction will be a part of Alka procession exhibited in actual size. In a separate part there will be the reconstruction of the Battle of Sinj from 1715, where the visitors will be able to experience the glorious battle in a multimedia environment. The roof of the Museum and conference hall form an orchestra, designed primarily as a starting point of Alka procession.
The whole story is based on the contrasts between the spaces below and over the ground. In the space over the ground conservators have had the final word. That space has been restored with old traditional materials: wooden visible truss, graceful hollow tiles, windows with stone frames, solid wooden door and window shutters, perfectly treated façade stones…. In the dug in part, modern materials and forms will be predominant, which, with warm wooden floors and big glass surfaces of recessed lamps, will shape the functional meanders of the Museum and multimedia centre.