Katherm HK installed at the MOCAK in Krakow. Reworking of Kampmann’s best-seller.

Krakow – Poland’s second largest city – is where this country’s cultural heart is to be found. It’s home to the second oldest university in central Europe, boasts an impressive architectural diversity with Gothic, renaissance and baroque buildings and was the European Capital of Culture in the magical year of 2000. But the city has also been the centre of much suffering. Up to 20,000 Jews were, for example, forced to live in Krakow’s ghetto during World War II. Many were deported to the surrounding concentration camps of Plaszow, Auschwitz and Birkenau and murdered there.

Culture and history – there’s room for both in Oskar Schindler’s former factory.

Two museums are located right next to each other at the heart of Krakow, not far from the River Vistula, which meanders through the historic centre. One is the ‘Fabryka Schindlera’, the old administration building for Oskar Schindler's enamel factory. The museum looks at the history of Krakow during its occupation by the German Wehrmacht from 1939 to 1945. The historic building has hardly changed since Schindler’s time. A grey box; unadorned and functional and, of course, always still worth a visit.

Outside view of the Mocak Building in Krakow

The production halls were located next to the administration building. But nothing remains visible of the old clinker-brick structure from the outside. That’s because Italian architect Claudio Nardi has created a new post-modern steel, glass and concrete edifice that has been placed like a bell over the six halls. An exciting symbiosis of old and new, dark and bright, heavy and light has been realised that doesn’t attempt to ignore the original industrial character while clearly setting off its current purpose: the enamel factory has been transformed into the MOCAK; the ‘Museum of Contemporary Art Kraków’.

Cooling installation

A total of 4,000 square metres of exhibition space has been dedicated to contemporary art. Modern works by Polish and international artists produced during the last two decades are on show here. Not only has an extensive permanent collection been given a home here, space has also been created for temporary exhibitions, a beautiful library and a small café. Kampmann is also showcasing its artistic skills at the MOCAK. You could say – with an ‘installation’.

Katherm trench heating in all its versions is both the source and guarantor of Kampmann’s success. The Katherm HK trench-heating and -cooling unit is the flagship within this product group. The ‘HK’ has been popular with planners and architects for many years and is appreciated for its effective heating and cooling in front of floor-length windows. Which also happen to have been installed at the MOCAK in Krakow. The fact that the Katherm HK virtually changes the laws of physics is something people hardly notice. But it has found a way to do so. Which is almost unique, it would have to be said. Particularly now that Kampmann has once again given its HK a thorough makeover.

A corridor in the Mocak Building in Krakow

Warm air rises upwards. That’s what any kid knows. And it’s exactly in accordance with this principle that the Katherm NK (natural convection) unit, for example, works. The convector is heated and the warm air rises up along the cooler window front. When it reaches the ceiling, the air is drawn inwards, starts to fall slowly and warms the whole room evenly. The only thing you’d get if you applied the same principle to cold air is cold feet.

The response was initially sceptical when Kampmann launched its first trench cooler in 1998. And indeed: cooling from the ground up constitutes a major technical challenge that not any manufacturer is able to handle. It goes without saying that the air has to be blown out – but that’s when things start to get complicated.

From research and technology

It’s Kampmann’s knowledge and wealth of experience as the inventor that makes the Katherm HK the market leader for trench heating and cooling. The current makeover has consolidated Kampmann’s already great lead over comparable products. The fact that the unit has once again made such a big leap forward is mainly due to the company’s own Research and Development Center (RDC) at its headquarters in Lingen. That’s because it’s a place that allows the engineers to explore their ideas directly. Prototypes are tested and measured under actual conditions. The technically difficult task of distributing cooled air throughout an entire room as quietly and draught-free as possible particularly requires both lots of tinkering and great expertise. The experiences gained with the development of the X-series (Katherm NX and QX) were a great help here. And even if trench heating somehow always looks the same (especially if smart-looking rolled gratings have been used to cover them), the modified HK version can definitely be described as a new product.

The Mocak Building in Krakow from the outside

No component used for the Katherm HK was out of bounds – every single one was re-examined. It was the blower technology that benefited most from the makeover. The EC-motor-driven fan is now even quieter and more energy-efficient. Cooling performances along with comfort for room occupants has been ensured in conjunction with the new air ducting, which prevents draughts. The European standard EN 16430 may be used to describe the unit’s performance. This standard lays down the technical specifications and requirements for fan-assisted radiators, convectors and trench units. The relatively new standard now permits trench heaters by different manufacturers to be compared in a useful manner. Which is a blessing for Kampmann because the Katherm HK’s performance speaks for itself.

Cooling from the ground up therefore remains a great art that Kampmann has mastered with confidence. And even if the Katherm HK is being showcased at the MOCAK – it’s not absolutely necessary to visit the museum to achieve the feel-good climate that the units deliver.

Picture credits: Museum MOCAK byR. Sosin