Warsaw in Poland has an impressive horizon. Low rises are framed by high rises, and the city is set against parkland and the river Vistula. Now, an exceptional new building will join the skyline.
The new building is going up in the Varso Place development area. It will be known as Varso Tower. The tower will become a staggering neomodern office building, and should reach heights of up to 310 metres.
In addition to the main tower, two lower buildings are being built: one will stand at 81 metres and the other will stand at 103 metres. The lower buildings will feature a shared multi-storey podium and form the central frontage for the development at street level. Each one will have stone-clad elevations and rooftop terraces, complete with viewing platforms. In addition, the development will include four underground levels of parking, which also contains storage space for 750 bicycles.
In regards to Varso Tower itself, there will be a mixture of office and public spaces. The project hopes to create flexible and modern offices which can accommodate a wide range of companies. There will be a large restaurant on levels 46 and 47 of the building, which will serve food and beverages with a spectacular city view. Since Varso Tower reaches such a height, it will boast a great range of viewing decks, including one of the highest observation decks in Europe (standing at 230m in height). The decks will be open to the public, offering gorgeous panoramic views of the surrounding Warsaw skyline. The glazed courtyard at the ground level of the building will include a range of amenities, such as shops, restaurants and cafés.
The total cost of the tower and its counterparts is estimated at $523m. HB Reavis will develop all of these buildings, because they are responsible for the assembly of the Varso Place complex as a whole. All design work, however, is undertaken by British architecture firm Foster + Partners.
The project began in Dec 2016 and should be completed by 2020.
Ground works are now underway on site. These have been hailed “the hardest part of the construction” by both project leaders and builders. However, once all ground works are complete, the buildings will go up relatively quickly and without, hopefully, any major complications.
The location of the development is remarkable. This is because Varso Place is being erected close to the Palace of Culture and Science, which is one Warsaw’s most recognisable landmarks. It will sit on the corner of Chmielna Street and Jan Paweł II Avenue, in the heart of Warsaw’s central business district. The development is expected to revive the brownfield area, which was ruined during World War II.
Research partner JLL investigated the prospects of the build location before official plans and blueprints were made. The Head of Research and Consulting for JJL told Emerging Europe that the constructions at Varso Place will “change the capital’s skyline significantly”. He said:
“The main location of interest in terms of high buildings is the area around Daszyńskiego roundabout. There’s land, excellent public transport connections and a central location. It is the most sought-after office hub in Warsaw, a place eyed-up by large, global brands, which so far guarantee the quick leasing of such buildings. Office towers are particularly interesting for companies looking for prestige, state-of-the-art office premises, expansion options, advantage in terms of recruiting processes and willing to pay a premium.”
The country CEO at HB Reavis, Stanislav Frnka, also spoke to Emerging Europe magazine. He shed some insight on the aims and purposes of the project, saying:
“Our [HB Reavis’s] main goal is for the buildings to stand the test of time in terms of architecture and functionality and bring a new quality to the office market but also, despite their scale, to be very open to their surroundings. Varso is our next step. We are happy to make it, creating a top-quality project that is not only prestigious, perfectly fitted and flexible but also incredibly empathetic towards the city. With Varso we are creating a new, friendly area of Warsaw: designed with people in mind, addressing their needs during and after office hours”
“I am convinced that the countries of the CEE region will see a growing number of equally spectacular projects being developed within the next decade or so”.
Varso Place is clearly an ambitious project, and it should attract a buzzing, vibrant workforce once it is finished. The tower offices are situated perfectly for business people, who will be quick to notice how well the area is connected to transport links such as the Warsaw metro, the commuter railway stations, and the bus and tram lines. Since the build will encompass and promote green spaces, landscaping and street furniture in to its plans, new tourists and investors are also expected.
Despite the large amount of people who will visit and work at Varso, HB Reavis are determined to keep the tower running sustainably. They have implemented the ‘Varso Place Development Scheme’. The scheme will feature a range of state-of-the-art technologies aimed at reducing electricity and water consumption. There are also plans aimed at reducing emissions within the building’s system operations. This has not gone unnoticed by awards bodies; the developers are pursuing an ‘Outstanding’ rating for the development under the BREEAM certification scheme, which is the European equivalent of LEED.
Clearly, the international real estate developer HB Reavis have played a great role in the upcoming construction of this build. However, it is also worth acknowledging that the project would not run so smoothly without the help of contractors.
The two lower buildings from the development scheme have been designed by Hermanowicz Rewski.
Epstein served as the architect of record and collaborated with a range of companies for the development scheme including Buro Happold Engineering for mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) and structural engineering services.
RS architects were responsible for landscape design, while Benoy Solutions was responsible for designing the interiors and retail spaces. The general contractor for the development scheme is HB Reavis Construction, a unit of HB Reavis Group.
Final words from the HB Reavis CEO adequately sum up the positivity towards the new Warsaw builds. He said:
“This city offers us the best conditions for growth…urban planning that allows high-rise developments, as well as favourable market conditions, including firm demand from customers of various sizes and from various industries. It contains both the largest corporations and BPO/SSC companies as well as local businesses. This is definitely the place for us.”