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Heritage Gates - office building with history in Wrocław
www.thecity.com.pl

Revitalized townhouse from 1900 in the center of Wrocław became representative A-class office building. Construction work is finished and the first tenants have moved into the building. Monument is almost whole commercialized.

Academic Entrepreneurship Incubator, Business Link, The Archipelag Group, Investments Found Managers, Go Rails Go- those are the first tenants of Heritage Gates in Wrocław, who has already moved into the building. Commercialization conducted by Immobillogroup is almost finished- there are only four premises left.

The building from the turn of the century was designed by Karl Grosser. Revitalized, serves as an A-class office building, with the offer of over 4,000m2 space. The renovation of the building, on behalf of the investor- Rzeźnicza Development, took one year. The project was prepared in Chachaj and Rozmuski Architects Studio and a general executive was Dorimpex Company.

Whole elevation of the courtyard was restored in original appearance under the supervision of the restorer. Upper floors of a building were destined for offices of a high standard, whereas basement and ground floor- for commercial spaces. Adapted was also the attic, where smaller offices (80m2) are located. The biggest offices, located in the front, are about 350m2. In the front attic office wooden construction with slants and columns has been kept, thanks to that, the studio with absorbing climate emerged. The basement was deepened to reach the height of 3 meters. It gives the opportunity to locate a bar, cafe or restaurant there. Both ground floor and basement are adapted to house a kitchen, those floors are air-conditioned and equipped with fat-absorbing installation. The building is monitored and equipped with ACC System, motion sensors, intercom and CCTV.


Old post office headquarters transformed into a luxurious office building

There were defensive walls still rooted in the basement. A treasury with such thick walls that could not be demolished has survived from the pre-war period. Now the room serves as a soundproof conference area. The townhouse near Rzeźnicza street 28-31 was falling to ruin for years. Now it is brought back to its former glory.

The tenement house was built in 1900. It was designed in northern renaissance style by Karl Grosser. Before the renovation there were accommodation apartments on the floors and the post office on the ground floor.

-The building was almost ruined. Both front elevation in the courtyard and the tenement house façade were dameged.- says Karol Szczuka from Rzeźnicza Development Company, which owns the listed building. -We have made a thorough refurbishment. Now it’s like new. There are elevators and modern A/C inside. We have changed all installations and whole roof.

Investor bought the tenement house to transform it into a high class office building, and named it Heritage Gates. Building’s impressive façade made of sandstone and clinker was carefully renovated. Asphalt was removed from the courtyard and the cobblestone is back on its place. Inside, spacious office areas for rent replaced small residential units.

First tenants have already moved in. Academic Entrepreneurship Incubator Business Link has occupied the whole floor. Simple, modern desks were placed around the historical columns - we had to reproduce them, because they were built-up by wall partitions and covered with oil-paint. Decorative chapiters crowning columns were also hammered by the previous tenants. Over a half were not suitable for refurbishment.- says Szczuka.

Missing capitals had to be reproduced again. A couple of them were sculpted and served as a model for the other ones. Works were led under the supervision of city conservator office. Original construction of a building was exposed by the unveiling of bricks. Plaster was hammered off to clear the shape, i.e. in places, where previously were windows.

Historical, handcuffed balustrades were restored. Also wooden handrail on the staircase was successfully cleaned from old paints. Stone lions on the elegant terrace look like new as well. Also brand new tiles made by Wrocław’s artist were applied in bathrooms.

Before the War the tenement house was the headquarters of Wrocław’s Installment Association. During works on the first floor the treasury room was discovered. Investor planned to tear it down and hired a qualified company to do that. The company wasn’t able to demolish the walls because of their thickness, which is 80 cm, for over two months. The walls are covered by steel coat in the inside and on the outside. Flat bars are situated very close and make the unbeatable barrier. Ceiling and floor are protected in the same way. Only door and windows were formed. In this way the old treasury was transformed into special meeting room.- Conference room and its historical background impress our guests.- says Anna Czyż from “Archipelag” Design Studio, which rents a floor, where the treasury is located.- We were the first tenants who moved into the tenement house. It has charmed us at first sight. Big windows, elegant columns, high ceilings and amazing beauty of the bricks contrasting with ascetic white color of the walls create a climate of the place.

Rzeźnicza Development has planned to build an underground parking under the tenement house. It occurred that one of the basement walls is located on the medieval age’s defense wall. Finally the basement was just deepened to reach a height of three meters, which allows to arrange a pub or café in the future.

Original text:
http://wroclaw.gazeta.pl/wroclaw/1,35771,13757447,Zamienili_dawna_poczte_w_luksusowy_biurowiec__FOTO_.html


With respect for the past. HERITAGE GATES WROCŁAW

The building in the style of northern Renaissance on Rzeznicza Street was established in 1900, basing on Karl Grosser’s design. Nowadays the renovated edifice serves as a Class A office building.

Heritage Gates stands out thanks to its ornamental facades made of sandstone and clinker and elegant staircases. The building uses the latest technology and high-quality natural finishing materials. We will discuss the realization with Agnieszka Kowalczyk from the office of the investor - Rzeźnicza Development and Maciej Czemplik of the Panda Studio architectural office.

Patricia Fabianska: What was the intention of the design?
Agnieszka Kowalczyk: Design of adaptation and modernization of the building presumed preservation and restoration of the unique architectural style of the object while adapting it to new functions. Our goal was to create open office space, fully finished, possibly requiring only the purchase of furniture. We did not expanded the facility, and offices refer to what was originally build in terms of functionality. Therefore we kept the division of the building into three parts: the front, middle and the outhouse.

FP: In what condition was the building prior to implementation of construction works?
AK: Object functioned, I would rate its state as sufficient. The construction of the roof, was in the worst condition, fragments of it required strengthening or replacement. Also ceilings and some walls had to be reinforced. The staircase located in the outbuilding with steel construction, has practically had no carrying capacity. In addition, the facades and interiors were heavily damaged by the pigeons that nest in the house - the damage was so great that one of the ceilings located between the floors had to be replaced in its entirety.

PF: The original design of the building is shown by the unveiling of the bricks, which are also partially restored.
AK: Walls did not present well after the unveiling, so joints and cavities had to be refilled. Maciej Czemplik: Structural columns with decorative heads had to be exposed and restored after years of being covered with partition walls. Their condition was very bad. Previously there was a public house in the building, and tenants could do everything what they wanted with the columns. Currently, we do not allow tenants to have partition walls in this area. Columns must be separated.

PF: How did the idea of the "loft office" style emerge?
MC: We wanted as many brick surface to be exposed, as it is welcome these days in offices and even private apartments. But we had to suppress a fairly intense bright red bricks, beige colors. It was about a comfort of the working space. We wanted it to be bright and welcoming, with no twilight. In the bathrooms design, also based on beige colors, we allowed ourselves for light extravaganza in the form of decorative elements - ceramic tiles custom-made by artists, graduate students of Wroclaw’s Academy of fine arts. Each floor has an individual bathroom design and dedicated pattern, which was also used at the entrances to the offices on the information areas for tenants.

PF: The interior has been completely renovated and adapted. How does the current system of functional-space look like?
AK: The upper floors is to a higher standard office spaces, and the basement and ground floor – for the retail and commercial areas. Preserved large opened spaces, large window openings, high ceilings create a character of the building which is ideal for the modern commercial space. Communication is based on two staircases; one of them supports the building from the ground floor to the attic, and the second from the basement to the attic. There are also two elevators connecting all floors. The basement has a separate entrance from the front street. We wanted it to become independent from the office, and therefore created a separate main entrance to the premises located on level -1. The basement was deepened, yielding approximately 3 m in height, which makes it possible to locate a bar, cafe or restaurant in there. Both the ground floor and the basement are ventilated and provided with the installation of fat removal enabling to locate kitchens on both of them. The largest office, located in the front, has got an area of about 350 m2, ones located in the center - 210 m2, and small ones in the back of the building - 80 m2. The front and middle offices are supported with main staircase, while the outbuilding has got an independent entrance. Adaptation has been carried out also in the attic, creating smaller offices, as most of the area has been taken by technical part. In the front office area of the attic, we kept attic wooden structure with slants and posts, which created an interesting atmosphere of a studio.

PF: The columns were mostly restored to resemble the old model. How was the reconstruction of the capitals carried out?
AK: In the preservation works it was indicated that the column capitals are one of the most important elements of the object, but about 60% of the heads was not suitable for refurbishment and needed to be replaced. We were able to carefully reproduce it. Several copies were carved out, and more pieces were casted on their basis.

PF: How did the facade restoration works go?
MC: The entire facade of the courtyard and the front was restored to the original appearance under the supervision of a conservator. We used the original material in both of these parts, and even window sills on the ground floor are made of the native sandstone. Facade, which had a number of damages, mainly mechanical, was purified by appropriate chemical means, desalted and then impregnated. Window frames have been completely replaced. One of the shop windows has been further enlarged, because we had to make the entrance to the basement.

PF: Has the renovation and restoration of details been done in cooperation with craft workshops?
AK: The general contractor performing works – Dorimpex - is the company that has almost 15 years of experience in the renovation of historical buildings. It works with artisans specializing in stucco representatives of professions who are dying today as carpentry or wrought. You can see that these people are passionate about what they are doing. We also work on a permanent basis with a blacksmith from Wroclaw, Mr. Samborski, who has got his own forge. The handrails are his work.

PF: What part of the renovated building is the most representative?
AK: The biggest impression is made by entrance hall and main staircase, which gained a new face. In the lobby, we recreated a room where at the moment there is a reception, and before that was a commercial area. The staircase is spacious, wide, with a beautiful wrought-iron balustrade. The construction of steps is steel, landings are wooden, there is also an oak and bricks exposed on the treads. MC: In the lobby, we found the floor in an awful condition. Some tiles were badly damaged, and even handcuffed, because due to the old post office function of the building there are rails installed to transport heavy objects. Replacement of floor and wall coverings restored the representative character to this area. We have covered the walls with sandstone, but before there were ceramic tiles on them. We had wondered for a long time how to finish the lobby. There were plenty of ideas starting from the terrazzo tiles all the way up to the natural stone. However, we have decided to go back to the material of which the front elevation is made, the sandstone.

PF: Installations were exchanged comprehensively, and modern appliances are cleverly hidden in the old structure.
AK: Old installations, even though they were in a good condition, would threaten to failure. Functional changes required the implementation of the new plumb line. Since this is a high-quality building, we have created a comfortable environment for the people working there. Raised floor hide installations, and the outlets and plugs located in the floor increase mobility. New ventilation and air conditioning system was installed. Ventilation is based on the control panels located on the top floor. Ventilation ducts pass through the building so fresh air can reach all areas, including the basement and ground floor. Air conditioning, however, is based on a system of 4-pipe chilled water. In the office areas are also located heating and cooling 4-pipe fan coil units. The new technology implemented in the old tissue, caused problems with the location and disposal of equipment. Conservator agreed to place air intakes in the windows, and set the units on the roof terraces. The devices are not visible because they have been incorporated into the wall or hidden under the sills, only the vent grills are left visible. Unfortunately, the ventilation is visible, as there are large sections of channels and it was hard to hide them. However, they are protected because the zoning masterplan regulates that too many devices cannot be visible.

PF: Was energy efficiency one of the criterias taken into account when choosing equipment?
AK: During the construction works we installed in the property Swegon air handling units, Lennox heaters and chillers and Daikin cooling equipment - high-end devices, characterized not only by the effectiveness, but also energy efficiency. In addition, we insulated the building, but only partially, because the front and the courtyard elevation did not give us that option, so we have carefully renovated sandstone on the front, layers of bricks and ceramic tiles from the courtyard side. The walls, which required becoming more temperature-proof, were insulated from the inside. The building is monitored and equipped with an access control system, motion detectors, intercom and CCTV. The cameras were placed in common areas, and all systems are collected in the security room reception, where there are also displays of view of the cameras and the concierge control unit.

PF: Was an appropriate lighting design a difficult issue to solve?
AK: Yes, because thanks to the light a space can gain or lose a lot. The façade illumination was planned for a long time, it seems to me that the effect is satisfactory. We worked with the company Kludi which prepared the design for us, carefully selected fixtures and accompanied during rehearsals. There are chandeliers in the common areas and sconces in the lobby. Parts have LED lighting, partly conventional, depending on the type of space. In parts of the office there is used the lighting with raster which provide the required illumination. Looking for lighting, we have sought to ensure that the light was the least invasive, because on the one hand we had to find a solution to enlighten offices properly, but on the other hand ensure that the light does not suppress aesthetics of column’s heads and brick walls. Our focus was to highlight building’s original design, not to add new distracting items.

PF: Elevators are new elements that have been fitted into recesses in the facade.
AK: The inclusion of elevators in the old building’s structure was a big problem. In the 50s there was an external lift in the building and we inserted a completely new unit in its former place. Another lift is in an atrium designed to enlighten the outbuilding part with natural light. It is incorporated into the corner, so you cannot see that this is an extension. The biggest problem, however, was associated with the fitting the lift peripheral systems and equipment in the existing building, because it was necessary to slightly change the design and find a place the place to install the devices.

PF: How would you describe the cooperation with the conservator?
AK: We were all focused at reaching the same goal: to restore the building and bring it back to the public, the city and it’s inhabitants, in the original condition. We tried to keep as many original features as possible. However, we had fought for a long time with the fire department so the staircase could remain in their original condition. We had to create a fire alarm system. Adapting to fire regulations is the biggest challenge in the process of restoration of old buildings.

PF: Were there inconsistencies with the archival documentation, or unexpected discoveries hindering the work?
AK: We had an archival documentation, but the detailed design was developed on the basis of the inventory. The design did not always turn out to be exactly as expected. For example, when working in the basement we found the stones, which were a complete surprise to us, because we were expecting only stepped foundations. It turned out that at this point there was no simple foundations ground, because earlier, before the foundation of current building, there were four other houses located on the parcel, which foundations have not been completely demolished. Previous buildings rather than being demolished and rumble being driven material, were all buried down. It is worth mentioning that the north wall of the basement is set on the old fortification, so there are traces medieval brick walls left. We planned a construction of an underground garage, but such due to this medieval wall could not be built. We left the old brick not plastered and exposed, according to the conservator’s request. During the inventory work, we found the treasure safe of Postal Company, acting at the time of building’s development as a bank, which had its headquarters here. Discovered room was on the first floor and remained as one of the few in the original. Due to the thick walls of the vault we immediately suspected that part to have a special function. We assumed a demolition of that space, but when the work has begun, we found that, apart from the fact that the wall has a thickness of about 80 cm, it’s both sides are coated with a steel jacket in the form of flat bars, which are arranged one next to forming a barrier impossible to pass through. The ceiling and floor were also protected with a steel structure. It ended up that we only chiseled windows and door openings in that area, which was also troublesome, but created a very unique space.

PF: After the renovation the building is restored to its old glory. Would you summarize it as a challenge?
AK: The aim was to give the building its own character and make it stand out among other buildings. I think that thanks to exposed brick and incredible staircase you will not find a second office building in Wroclaw similar to this one. Numerous little details that regained its former glory after restoration are also worth mentioning. The lighting, though nearly invisible, brings out what is most beautiful in the building. In the evening, when both courtyard and interior is enlightened, brick arches and columns also attract attention. Class of the building is not in the modern installations, of which the investor could be proud on the other hand, but mainly in careful restoration the original design. The biggest challenge was to adapt the modern rules to the old structure of the building, and satisfaction comes from the end result and the satisfaction of the tenants.

FP: Thank you for the interview.

source: Świat architektury, I (31) / 2013


Wrocław’s Heritage Gates Restored to Splendor

The beautiful historic city of Wrocław boasts many streets full of character and eye-catching buildings but one street in particular, Rzeźnicza, has a landmark building.

Called Heritage Gates and nestled at 28-31 Rzeźnicza St., the building has recently undergone a remarkable refurbishment that has restored this magnificent property to its former glory.

Years of careful preparation and a thorough and thoughtful refurbishment have achieved not just the restoration of this majestic monumental building but have also yielded a flexible and stunning space that is now attracting tenants carrying out both business and social activities.

The refurbishment of historic buildings is a highly complex and time-consuming process. However, one quick glance at what Heritage Gates looks like after the makeover is enough to ascertain that the years of work have produced results: restored to its former splendor, this historic building takes the breath away. Its 4-meter- plus high rooms, huge windows, sweeping staircase and the wonderful courtyard, as well as many other rich architectural details leave one thinking that modern buildings can never compete with the majestic monumental buildings of yesteryear, of which Heritage Gates is a shining example.

The refurbishment was carried out under the supervision of the AIM Engineering company in Wrocław and was managed by the head of the firm’s project management department, Monika Żelazkiewicz.

The project was a collaboration by a team of dedicated professionals and specialists who are at the top of their field of expertise and who created meticulous designs and ideas and brought them from paper to reality, Żelazkiewicz said. “Working on this project was a challenge and gave all of the parties a great deal of new experiences. The building surprised all of us and we had to change our plans on numerous occasions as a result. I am extremely proud to have been part of such a unique project and of its continuing history.”

The building was originally designed in 1900 by the renowned German architect Karl Grosser and features prominently on the list of Wrocław’s monument-buildings as an example of neo-Renaissance style.

Formerly home to the city’s main Post Office, the building’s refurbishment has succeeded in not just restoring it to its former splendor but in producing an inspirational work and social environment by taking advantage of cutting-edge technology.

When approaching the building, one is struck by its ornamental facade and impressive main entrance hallway. No less stunning is the courtyard and the building’s 4.5 meter-wide beautiful wooden staircase with brick inlay as well as the upper floors, which offer spacious, open-plan office areas with exceptionally high ceilings and decorative columns.

The building’s four floors provide a combined 3,200 sq m of flexible and versatile office space, ranging from 52 sq m to a respectable 700 sq m in size. The interiors feature a combination of brick, terrazzo, sandstone as well as meranti wood and raw steel. These materials pay tribute to the history of the building and are a feast for the eye in terms of color and texture.

For the quieter moments of the day, or for those seeking solace, the breathtaking courtyard hidden at the back of the building provides an elegant and tranquil haven.

Heritage Gates has been transformed into a world-class building. Any visitor cannot help but be struck by its timeless elegance, unequaled style and historical legacy.

Wrocław will be proud of this awe-inspiring building for years to come.

The refurbishment was completed in July 2012 and our first tenants have already moved in, says Anna Patrzyk-Sperzyńska, Leasing Director at Immobillo Group Sp. z o.o. and who is responsible for renting out the Heritage Gates premises. “With its unique character, the building attracts tenants looking for a space straying from the typical developments which are currently available on the market. The investor has attached importance to providing retail and office space for flexible individual design but at the same time he wished to stress the historic origins and heritage of the building. In order to meet our tenants’ expectations, it has not been forgotten to provide all the latest solutions available in modern office buildings such as access control system, CCTV, fiber optic installation and raised flooring.”

source: The Warsaw Voice, 2011-02-10

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