Colliers assisted the largest global communications group WPP with the co-location of twelve of its agencies to a new 16,000 sq m office space in a functionalist palace on Bubenská Street in Prague near the Vltavská metro station.
PRAGUE, NOVEMBER 25, 2021 – Colliers Czech Republic, leading diversified professional services and investment management firm, carried out project management, technical supervision, cost management, health & safety supervision/BZP of the fit-out for communications group WPP.
WPP has moved twelve of its agencies into the new WPP Campus in Prague - 12,000 employees in total moved into seven floors of a functionalist palace after extensive reconstruction and took up space of 16,000 sq m. In total, more than a thousand marketing, media, communications, data and research professionals work now in the building. The lease contract is signed with the building's owner, investment group CPI Property Group, for 18 years. David Arneil, Senior Project Manager at Building Consultancy department at Colliers, coordinated the project between all parties involved: the architects, managers, landlords and The National Heritage Institute.
“The project management of the fit-out was managed by Colliers Czech Republic who also provided technical supervision, cost management and health & safety supervision services. As a leading diversified professional services and investment management firm, Colliers ensured the coordination of the project between the numerous stakeholders including the local and international Architects, Engineers, IT, Security and AV experts, the General Contractor, the Landlord and the Local Authorities,” says David Arneil, Senior Project Manager, Colliers Czech Republic responsible for the project.
“It was fantastic to work with such a great team on this unique project. The construction involved a local and international team working together during the COVID epidemic. The building is also a heritage protected monument with the same level of protection as the Prague castle which added another dimension to a project which already had challenging time and cost targets. The dedication and positive attitude of the entire team including the General Contractor (PBW) was a major factor in meeting those targets,” adds David.
David Arneil worked on the fit out of the interiors alongside the WPP group. WPP Real Estate's central team in London, which has years of experience in building WPP Campuses around the world, was involved from the outset. London-based studio BDG architecture + design worked with National Heritage Institute to redesign and refurbish the space to meet the agencies' needs and equip it for modern ways of working. The extensive reconstruction took nearly ten years, including the preparation and research phase, and was overseen by preservationists and architect Mark Tichy from TaK Architects.
"We are proud to have contributed to the revival of this iconic building with a strong story. Increasingly, I'm seeing that clients are interested in bringing together expertise across our agencies into elite teams. And we can deliver this set-up, not least because we are not spread across Prague but literally a few doors away," says David Lhota, Country Manager, WPP Czech Republic.
“For me, Colliers and specifically David Arneil did an incredible amount of work. I think that in the end it's always about a specific person, so here I repeat the name of David, who moved the building in the last year since we have started working together in an unbelievable way. And if I've ever had a project like Bubenská in my life, David is the first person I’d call. Not to forget that the cooperation with David has worked extremely well – from the human and chemical point of view; it worked, a hundred points out of a hundred,” adds David Lhota.
From Electric to „advertising“ enterprises
The avant-garde functionalist building designed by Adolf Benš and Josef Kříž was completed in 1935. Once the largest office building of the Electric Enterprises in Prague, it was an example of modern building techniques and technologies reflecting the ambitions of the First Republic. It was stunning in its spatial generosity and sophisticated technology: American air conditioning, "Carrier" hot air heating, one of the first large-capacity American-style dining rooms, a freight elevator with a 15-ton capacity for automobiles, and modern office facilities. Among the original features, the majestic granite staircase, metal railings, filing cabinets, parts of the original air-conditioning system, and the glass walls in the mezzanine staircase leading to St. Anthony's Church have been preserved. Two original paternosters have also been repaired and put back into use.
WPP occupies almost two-thirds of the leased building (approximately 16,000 m2), which includes four terraces with an area of 3,000 m2. Prague thus joins other office campuses that WPP has opened in London, Amsterdam, Madrid, Bucharest and, most recently, in Milan this September. The relocation of agencies from the WPP network to a common headquarters is part of a global strategy to create an inspiring working environment and to facilitate networking and sharing of expertise between agencies.
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