In the newborn independent Czechoslovak Republic, the sugar industry was a key sector. The total production of the 155 sugar factories at that time was hardly believable – one million three hundred thousand tonnes of sugar per year. It is therefore not surprising that sugar manufacturers wanted to strengthen their still fragmented research base. So, in 1919, they acquired a plot of land in Na Zátorka Street in today's Holešovice and started building. But it soon turned out that the regulatory procedure was flawed and their research institute had to be built elsewhere. For a low price, a new plot of land in Ořechovka was offered to them. What could be transported was moved to the new construction site, the rest was put at the disposal of Sokol (an all-age gymnastics organisation).
The sloping terrain of Ořechovka had its pitfalls, especially groundwater. It was diverted into a well beneath the emerging building. In addition, rational construction methods were applied – for example, the slope was dealt with in such a way that what was dug out at the bottom was just taken up, thus creating the lower and upper levels still visible today. As a result, the rough construction of the institute was completed already in early 1922 (hence the year on Building A), followed by the interior and research equipment and the inauguration on September 22, 1923. Such a speed of construction is hardly imaginable today. And the cost? A total of 15 million Czechoslovakian crowns, two thirds of which was spent on the land and the building, the remaining third on internal equipment.
The company that was able to meet all the requirements of the sugar millers was the company of the builder Josef Záruba-Pfeffermann. Antonín Mendl, a student and later an assistant to the architect Josef Fanta, was a trainee there. And it was him who was the real author of the building plans, although they are stamped and signed only by the company boss. And what was actually created there? Four houses (today's A-D) on a plot of over 7000 m2, occupying one fifth of this area. The largest, with a floor plan of 41 by 41 metres, contained dozens of laboratories, research and storage areas, a library and conference hall, a photo studio and darkroom, and even a greenhouse for the study of phytopathological phenomena. Next, a villa with the apartment of the director of the institute (today's B) connected to the research facilities by a covered corridor on the first floor level. Housing for researchers, with four apartments for married people and two for single people, was built, as well as smaller housing for orderlies and auxiliary staff, in what is now building C. Eventually, two garages were added in the lower courtyard with an associated storage, workshop and housing for drivers (now D).
All this was set in gardens designed by Josef Kumpán – two recreational ones in front of the residential buildings and a production garden with beet fields in the place of today's courtyards. On the slope in the area of the present F, they were supplemented by an external production greenhouse and a beet storage where today there is a pergola with wisteria and a so-called “bunker”.
The research institute remained in successful operation for 27 years. After the Second World War, in 1946, the director's villa was handed over to another – food – research institute, and finally in 1951 the sugar workers moved out completely and all the premises were given to the more strategically important Institute of Physics.
The new purpose also led to the gradual transformation of the premises. Building A, for example, was altered on the top floors by adjustments to the attic and the removal of the greenhouse, which was replaced by a two-storey extension between 1961 and 1962. At the same time, the purely technical buildings of Building E and the "Domeček" ("Little House") were added, and finally the workshop area in today's Building F. Its construction shortened the garage and reached all the way to Building D. With the demolition of the last part of the outdoor greenhouse in 1998 and the construction of the gatehouse (modified to its present form in 2007), the construction development of the complex was completed.