Emphasizing Regeneration and Sustainability

Office Market

László Gönczi, president of the Hungarian Chapter of FIABCI and jury vice-president of the FIABCI Prix d’Excellence Committee, welcomes delegates.

Photo by Bence Bedegúz Boros

The design competition run by the local chapter of the FIABCI International Real Estate Federation celebrated a landmark anniversary this November with the 25th annual Hungarian Prix d’Excellence awards.

The competing entrants reflect the wide variety of projects ongoing in Hungary and the extent to which the national real estate market has developed over time.

That includes the range of competing developers, from commercial entities to local authorities. But it also embraces the role of architects and consultants in an era when sustainability and environmental issues are intrinsic elements of the design and management of an asset.

It is also reflected in the profile of projects from office to industrial, residential to hotel, and even to societal sectors. Further, in addition to new construction, the emphasis is now very much on refurbishment and redevelopment.

The increasing influence of sustainability in the real estate industry was also reflected in its own FIABCI Sustainability Award category.

“This year, the FIABCI European Presidents’ meeting was held in Budapest on the occasion of the awards ceremony. For the foreign professionals visiting our country, we organized a two-day program to showcase the latest real estate developments,” László Gönczi, president of the Hungarian Chapter of FIABCI and jury vice-president of the FIABCI Prix d’Excellence Committee, tells the Budapest Business Journal.

Budiarsa Sastrawinata, FIABCI world president for 2023-2024, reflected on the international importance of the organization.

“FIABCI has the goal of being a platform for networking and enhancing best practice around the world in real estate on different levels. The transformation of the industry in terms of smart solutions and sustainability is a must,” he said.

“This is not a choice, but we have to deliver cities and communities that are based on sustainable principles and the sustainable development goals of the UN and have citizens and people at the center of any project, whether this is a small residential or mixed-use development or for a large urban development with a large community,” Sastrawinata argued.

“FIABCI, as a global organization at the local, regional and international level, has a lot to do, also having a special consultative role at the UN,” he added.

At a roundtable discussion with Hungarian and foreign FIABCI guests and members moderated by Ottó Feuertag, founder and owner of Europa Design, Gabriella Sasvári, development director of Horizon Development, presented the Eiffel Palace and Váci 1 redevelopment projects in the historic center of Budapest.

These emphasize the redevelopment of listed buildings, giving them a modern use-value, while, at the same time, maintaining the historical facade and other classical elements of the structures.

The Eiffel Palace renovation and redevelopment project of a 19th-century building dating back to 1893, undertaken by Horizon in partnership with the architects and designers DVM group, delivered 14,500 sqm of Leed “Gold” and Breeam “Very Good” space.

This was the first office project in the CEE region to achieve double third-party sustainability accreditation. The building has subsequently been purchased by investors twice. Sasvári emphasized the role of the late Attila Kovács, founder of Horizon Development, in the project.

Spaniard Felice Tufano, president of FIABCI Europe, talks with BBJ real estate editor Gary J. Morrell.

Winner of the Attila Kovács Memorial Award

The construction of the new building of the “Mocorgó” Kindergarten in Kőbánya

Candidate: Municipality of District X of Budapest, Kőbánya

Investor: Kőbánya Property Management Plc.

Designer: KJT Architect Studio Ltd.

Constructor: Nimród-BauInvestment and Construction Ltd.

Citation

A new kindergarten has been built following the demolition of the existing outdated ground-floor education buildings, reducing the built-up area and increasing the green spaces. The child-friendly nature of the institution is emphasized by the use of cheerful, playful colors and geometric shapes reminiscent of classic shape-sorting games, which are a recurring feature of the building’s exterior façade and interior spaces. The classrooms are organized in a transparent system around a bright and spacious inner lobby. The connection between the individual classrooms and the courtyard is provided by terraces covered with large shades. The use of natural materials and the closeness to nature were key design considerations. Modern technical solutions (heat pumps, solar panels, etc.) have significantly reduced the energy consumption of the building.

Winner of the Sustainability Category

H2Offices, Phase 1, Budapest

Candidate and Investor: Skanska Hungary Property Ltd.

Designer: Arrow Architects, Studio IN-EX Plc.

Constructor: Skanska Construction Hungary Ltd.

Citation

With the H2Offices building complex, a nature-inspired working environment was created, which benefits human health and productivity while reducing the ecological footprint of the building’s occupants through energy efficiency.

Located on the former site of the Budapest Waterworks, H2Offices offers a green environment in one of the busiest locations in Budapest. With a total of 65,000 sqm of leasable space, the complex consists of three buildings. The well-being and health of employees are ensured by green areas, maximized natural light, excellent air quality, natural materials, a rooftop running track, and contact-free solutions.

The building has achieved Leed “Platinum” Core & Shell v4 certification, with the highest score yet achieved in the country, and is also targeting Well v2 Core & Shell and Well Health & Safety certifications, as well as Access4You Gold certification.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of December 1, 2023.

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