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WELL Institute certifies a gigantic office complex with its highest health and safety rating

Poland’s Olivia Business Center one of the first to install ion air purification devices.

March 30, 2021 |
The eight-building Olivia Business Center in Gdansk, Poland

The eight-building Olivia Business Center made structural and MEP changes to achieve the highest health and safety rating from the International WELL Building Institute. Images: Olivia Business Center

The largest office complex in northern Poland is the first building to receive the highest WELL Health Safety Rating, as audited by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).

The Olivia Business Center, located in Gdansk, is the complex, with 230,000 sm (2.48 million sf) of office space within eight completed buildings. Olivia Building Center has been expanding since 2010. More than 8,500 people work at Olivia, whose tenants include Amazon, Bayer, PwC, and ThyssenKrupp.

The contractor for the construction of each building has been Pekabex, a leading precast concrete manufacturer. Konior and Partners developed the complex’s architectural concept, which has been continued by Gdynia-based BJK Architekci Studio. The complex’s primary investor is Maciej Grabski, cofounder of Wirtualna Polski (Virtual Poland), one of the country’s big media companies.

A LOCAL DOCTOR HELPS DEVISE SAFETY PROTOCOLS

A spokesperson for Olivia Business Center tells BD+C that the decision to make the buildings healthier stemmed from discussions, in February 2020, with Professor Krzysztof Korzeniewski, MD, Ph.D, the director of the Department of Epidemiology at a regional hospital. Korzeniewski assisted in developing procedures and planning to protect the buildings’ occupants from COVID-19.

The Olivia Business Center is one of the first complexes in the world to install ion air purification technology in its buildings. The devices saturate all internal areas with ventilated air that contains ions capable of destroying viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. The filters in the air handling units were raised to F7 from G4, and sensors for pollution and particulate matter were installed.  The intensity of the air exchange in the buildings is controlled based on real-time CO2 measurements.

To maximize tenant safety, key-card sterilizers were installed, and elevator settings changed so that lift cabins stay open while in stay-by mode.

Elevators were among the common areas (including lobbies and access paths to parking lots) to which an active titanium coating was applied to ensure surfaces that are touched often are free from pathogenic organisms. The coating—developed by Lumichem and scientists at Jagiellonian University—eliminates bacteria, fungi, and viruses that come into contact with surfaces, and breaks down their residues into carbon dioxide and water.

The Center installed ventilation improvements to its buildings.

Ventilation upgrades were among the improvements made to Olivia Business Center.

A PERFECT SCORE

To achieve its score of 25 out of 25 from IWBI (which launched its rating system last January), Olivia Business Center also made some structural changes to windows and façade in all of the buildings. Inside, occupants are directed by signage to walk in one direction to comply with social distancing guidelines. The frequency of the buildings’ cleaning regimen was increased. Cigarette sales are banned. And the building’s owner organizes free and open-to-everyone healthy activities for occupants, which include Nordic walking, cycling, or yachting excursions on the Baltic Sea.

“The safety and quality of life of our tenants are an absolute priority for us, which is why we were happy to undergo such a thorough and extensive certification process that prioritizes the comfort and well-being of our tenants,” said Konrad Danecki, head of Olivia Business Center’s utilities department, in a prepared statement.

The Center did not disclose the cost of these changes.

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