Buro Happold’s Jarosław Kujawa reflects back on his one year at the helm of Buro Happold.
How’s it been since you joined Buro Happold?
I see joining Buro Happold as a very positive move for my personal and professional development. It has been a very interesting year, full of new challenges and it has given me an opportunity to build excellent working relationships with new people and lead the team to spread their wings on new and exciting projects. The year has passed very quickly, which is a reflection of how busy we have been. The relationships that have grown include JEMS Architekci, Kuryłowicz & Associates or PRC Architekci among others.
What have been the significant challenges for Buro Happold?
Buro Happold, as well as all our competitors and partners, is still operating in a very difficult and demanding market with small profit margins. The market continues to be competitive, however the main players and investors have a growing desire and appreciation for the quality of the engineers they wish to work with. From our experience these are companies such as Skanska, Griffin Real Estate or Hines to name just a few.
We need to make sure that we offer and provide added value for our clients and investors. Specialised skills such as BIM allow us to differentiate and offer more than our competitors and our clients clearly see the value in this. We constantly challenge ourselves to provide optimization on projects and increased efficiency in the design process.
Buro Happold started introducing technologies for integrated design and sustainable solutions to the Polish market a couple of years ago and we are now truly benefiting from this experience. We have recently been awarded Green Services Provider of the Year 2013 by Eurobuild Awards.
What changes have you seen in the company and in the market?
The portfolio of our projects is growing. Our service offer has widened over the last 12 months and this has resulted in a number of commissions beyond core design where we focus on problem solving, for example peer review, technical opinions or contract engineering. In addition, we won a public competition for the preparation of the concept design for Plac Defilad in Warsaw. Sustainability continues to grow in importance and we offer a highly specialized, bespoke scope.
The Warsaw office has grown approximately by 30% in the last year to meet the market needs.
What are the most interesting projects that Buro Happold has worked on?
The Warsaw office has worked on a big variety of projects from the private and public sectors. I am very proud that we have been given the privilege to contribute to the developments that significantly improve the quality of life in many cities in Poland and abroad. We can name: The Copernicus Science Centre; Warsaw Metro Station; The new venue of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Katowice; Warsaw Skyscraper Q22 from Echo Investment; Plac Defilad in Warsaw; the first BREEAM Outstanding office building in Poland, in GPP Business Park in Katowice; Hala Koszyki in Warsaw; Galeria Pomorska; Alfa Centrum in Olsztyn for Balmain Asset Management; ECE’s Zielone Arkady in Bydgoszcz or Chmielna Tower Project for HB Reavis Group together with our long-term partner Benoy.
Buro Happold has also been involved in a number of projects outside Poland that include the prestigious business center in Skolkovo in Russia; the Opera House in Shanghai; Library of Birmingham; Intercontinental Hotel in Prague; One Angel Square in Manchester; Msheireb Downtown Doha in Quatar and strategic consulting services for Lighting Technologies in Russia.
What interesting new projects are on the horizon in coming year for Buro Happold in Warsaw and elsewhere?
As part of Buro Happold’s global network of offices, our team delivers projects across central Europe, eastern Europe, Russia and beyond. The most interesting new wins in the region are: The Polish Embassy in Berlin; Hala Koszyki in Warsaw; The Museum of the Polish Army in Warsaw; highrise office developments in Warsaw that are confidential at this stage; the hockey stadium in Moscow; Hammershus Castle visitor center in Denmark; Zaryadye Park in Moscow; Moscow Agglomeration development; Glostrup Hospital Neurological Center in Denmark and a prestigious hotel development in Venice. Globally Buro Happold looks forward to a very busy and rewarding year by delivering projects such as the Penang coastal masterplan, the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Tower at PNC Plaza in the USA.
How do you see 2014 shaping up?
The economists say that 2014 will be full of dichotomy: on one hand the EU economy is back on the growing curve, but on the other the US Federal Reserve is going to slow down its quantative easing program, which may affect the stock market. In addition, there is a dispute in Poland about OFE and its potential impact on the planned national budget for 2014. Also, a new round of EU funding will become available for distribution. All these economic factors may influence the construction market and building industry.
We expect the commercial office and retail sectors to grow. Public buildings, due to the new EU requirements, are worth keeping an eye on. The trend towards green and sustainable solutions will continue to become standard requirements for any building. We hope that the trust we have built with our clients and investors will allow us to serve a significant part of the Polish and regional market using our international potential. I would like to take the opportunity to thank all our clients and investors for the confidence they have in us and their foresight to embark on a very interesting journey with us that will not only shape individual buildings but also the built environment globally.
Jaroslaw Kujawa, Buro Happold’s Warsaw director, has more than 30 years experience as a building services engineer. He has been involved in many prestigious projects in Poland and internationally, and is a graduate of the Warsaw University of Technology, Faculty of Environmental Engineering, and a chartered engineer. He joined Buro Happold in January 2013, and was previously with WSP Group, where he was managing director and co-founder of the Polish office.