Power plant at Nadwiślańska Street

Power plant at Nadwiślańska Street in Podgórze was launched in 1900 as one of the first municipal power plants in Galicia. The production complex of the plant included: generator building, battery building, boiler room and a two-storey residential building. Czech Antoni Friedrich was the construction manager. Up to that point he was the manager of the power plant at the station in Plaszow. The plant was equipped by Frantisek Krizik company from Prague, which a few years earlier launched the power plant at the Municipal Theatre and the power plant at the railway station in Plaszow. Operation of the plant was discontinued about the year 1926.

The boiler room was intended for three boilers,  however originally only two were installed. From the boiler room, a special flue connected to a brick chimney on a separate basis outside, preserved to this day. The original portion of the chimney is the lower, octagonal one, while the round part was added after 1926 The entire complex has been built from brick, plastered in a later period.

To sum up, the plant had a boiler room with two boilers, three single-cylinder horizontal steam engines, three dynamos with a voltage of 150 V with a total capacity of 0.28 MW and a battery pack to discharge energy to the grid during peak hours. The supply power was 0.64 MW.

The power plant provided electricity for 57 engines installed in the Podgórze industrial plants. Energy consumers included offices, hospital, municipal market hall and municipal cold store as well, but the facility also provided electricity for household purposes. In total, in the first decade of operation of the power plant, 625 meters were installed in private homes and industrial plants.

Establishment of a power plant in Podgórze also enabled the transition from oil and gas Street lighting to electric lighting. The first electric lamps were lit in the Streets of Podgórze on March 1, 1900.

The power plant was named: urban electric factory (a term from the period of awarding the contract for the construction of the facility), Municipal Electric Station in Podgórze and finally the Municipal Electric Plant in Podgórze.

When Podgórze merged with Kraków in 1915, consolidation of power plants in Podgórze and Kraków was conducted. The latter one took over the task of the main power plant in Greater Kraków, created by merging Kraków with the neighbouring communities. It was assumed that the possible expansion of the Podgórze power plant in the new conditions will be unprofitable, and therefore about 1926 the plant closed.

After the electrical equipment was removed, the buildings were adapted for Municipal Accommodation and Bath for the homeless. It was modified according to plans drawn up in 1926 by the Office of Municipal Housing. The project to build a mansard house, situated in the garden of the villa of the Director of the sanitary facility, was prepared by Jan Rzymkowski – designer involved, among others, in construction and expansion of power plant at Dajwór Street.

In 1930, at the request of the Municipal Health Office, adaptation of an old residential building adjacent to the battery building for the purposes of establishing a clinic began. During the German occupation, the bath with a steam disinfection chamber was used for preparation of transports of Jews to concentration camps. After the World War II the buildings were been taken over by the Ambulance Service Station belonging to the  Sanitary Office of the City of Kraków. The barrack adjacent to the complex housed a Polish Tourism Society hostel and then a private laundry.

Today, the building was converted into Cricoteka – a Museum of Tadeusz Kantor.

More information:

W. Brzoskwinia, Krakowskie elektrownie [in:] 100-lecie energetyki w Krakowie – katalog wystawy w Museum of Urban Engineering in Kraków, Kraków 2004

S. Pochwała, Elektrownia podgórska – przemiany funkcjonalno-użytkowe, mps Kraków 2005 - w zb.: Museum of Urban Engineering w Krakowie

W. Woźniak, Penetracja zabytków techniki i urządzeń inżynieryjnych na terenie m. Krakowa w obrębie ul. Nadwiślańskiej, mps Kraków 1991