History of EC1

1906

The history of EC1 began on May 25th, 1906 when, at a plot located at 1 Targowa Street, construction work on the first commercial power plant in Łódź commenced. The construction was delayed several times due to strikes (it was the time when workers were fighting for labour rights, between 1905 and 1907). It was finally completed in the late summer of 1907. On the September 18th, turbine set no. 1 generated electricity for the municipal power grid. The Machine Hall, currently used as an exhibition and concert hall, built in the Art Nouveau style, dates back to that period. Despite the fact that it was twice remodelled (1908, 1912-1913), it has retained its original style. Unfortunately, the Boiler Room, adjacent to the Machine Hall, has not survived except for wall fragments used to construct the new building, currently housing the EC1 Planetarium. The rapid development of the power plant (machine power: 2.1 mW in 1907, 21.1 mW in 1913) was stopped by World War I and the extensive damage to Łódź's industry. In the new Poland the Łódź power plant, 20% owned by the city, entered a new developmental phase.

EC1 Łódź - a history

1929

In 1928, after the crisis of the first few post-war years had passed, the machine factory and the foundry adjacent to the power plant, now located at 74/76 Kilińskiego Street, were purchased from Otto Goldammer in order to build a new power plant and new Main Headquarters. On February 7th, 1929 construction work began, and on July 4th, 1930 the Brown Boveri turbine set was initiated for the first time. The turbine will now be one of the main attractions of the EC1 Centre for Science and Technology. The new Main Headquarters is a modern-style building complex constructed in steel, its riveted frame filled with bricks. A cooling tower, over 40 metres high, overlooks the boiler and pump room, as well as the control station buildings. In 1939, the power plant's capacity was 100 mW.
During World War II, in 1943, a fire broke out in the Łódź power plant, destroying the roof of the Art Nouveau Machine Hall and damaging one of the turbine sets.

EC1 Łódź - a history

1953

After the war, in 1948, the city planned to create a heating network powered by four heat and power plants, including the Łódź power plant, which was to be converted accordingly. In 1953, the power plant commenced generating steam for the needs of Łódź's industry.

1960

In 1960, the Łódź power plant and the newly erected heat and power plant no. 2 merged into one enterprise, the Heat and Power Plant Group. This was the time when the term "EC1" was coined to mark the oldest commercial power plant in Łódź. The opening of EC2 ended the extension of EC1. Erecting new heat and power plants, i.e. EC3 and EC4, caused EC1 to become the main heat and power plant, supporting the steam system of heat and power plant no. 3. Finally, EC1 ceased its operations in 2000 and was handed over to the city in 2003. The next milestone in the history of the complex at Targowa 1/3 was its revitalisation.

2008

On May 15th, 2008 the City Council of Łódź Resolution, establishing "EC1 Łódź – City of Culture" in Łódź, entered into force. In 2008 this institution, supported by the Investment Bureau at the Department of Property Management of Łódź City Council, commenced revitalising works in the former heat and power plant area. The total value of the project exceeded PLN 265 million (about €63m), including PLN 82 million (about €20m) obtained from the European Regional Development Fund. Renovation and modernisation of the post-industrial buildings was conducted, along with their conversion to new functions. Conservation and restoration works were undertaken in order to convert the industrial heritage buildings for the new roles they were to fulfil. Revitalisation took into account the importance and nature of the area, referring to the historical character of the buildings themselves. The historical layout and "density" of the area were recreated to a great extent. The cubic volume, form, and most of the external features of the fronts, with their characteristic details, were maintained in order to retain their historical nature.

EC1 Łódź today

The authors of the architectural concept of EC1 Łódź – City of Culture:

  • EC1 East: "Home of Houses" Sp. z o.o. – architect Rafał Mysiak
  • EC1 West, EC1 South East: Office of Investment Planning FRONTON Sp. z o.o. and Mirosław Wiśniewski Architektura i Urbanistyka Sp. z o.o.

Under the project, modern culture units were established, such as:

  • the National Centre for Film Culture (NCKF), to carry out cultural, artistic, educational and social functions,
  • and the Centre for Science and Technology, performing cultural, educational and social functions.

The area surrounding the buildings was developed and made available as a public space.