Preserving the Legacy of the Rotunda PKO Bank Polski

The ambition of investor PKO Bank Polski is to preserve the legacy of the historic building, while providing a sustainable public space and a modern building for the city residents. WSP is providing the mechanical engineering design, as well as BREEAM and LEED certification, energy modelling and thermal comfort analysis.

The new design preserves the building’s size and form and restores its original character – light, translucency, availability and transparency. The new facility is designed as a service space with a banking function and open public space on the ground level. The total area is over 3,800 m². The building should feel modern and sustainable, while retaining its geometry. The urban square that is part of the update will have a recreational function and comply with technical and usage requirements.

Sustainable Solutions

A sustainability analysis for the certification of the mechanical and electrical service design influenced the implementation of sustainable solutions in the project.

The energy modelling demonstrated that the Rotunda PKO Bank Polski will be 17% more energy efficient than a reference building. Building and material lifecycle analyses guided the choice of energy-efficient materials, to achieve optimal operating costs within the first 60 years of building life.

The planned sustainable solutions, assessed in the BREEAM and LEED processes, include:

  • efficient ventilation system, good indoor air quality and thermal comfort
  • low-carbon heating technology
  • energy metering
  • reduction of the heat island effect by using special finishing materials on the roof and hard surfaces
  • energy-saving external lighting
  • possibility of individual lighting control for 90% of users
  • using rainwater to water plants
  • water-saving plumbing fixtures
  • building-wide policies on responsible purchasing and waste segregation
  • use of recycled, low-carbon and local materials for construction
  • parking space and showers for cyclists
  • public space inside and outside the building
  • public consultation as an important element of sustainable design

Preserving the Legacy of the Rotunda PKO Bank Polski

Project Challenges

The biggest challenge was to find space for new infrastructure, since the building is situated in the heart of Warsaw, where there is a lot of underground infrastructure. The infrastructure no longer in use was identified and removed to make space for new connections. The highest risk stemmed from adjusting the installation to the architectural and structural limitations. The architect’s plan called for the installation to be carried out through the holes in the trusses. Since the Rotunda PKO Bank Polski is an iconic historical building, the refurbishment is under the supervision of a conservation officer, creating another challenge for WSP consultants.  

Our Approach

Modelling analyses were used to steer the design process, and two assessors and energy modellers carried out certification and modelling processes to help the design teams create a sustainable, energy-efficient building. The solution WSP chose was inspired: locating the devices in a way that left the roof free. The air intake and exhaust devices were installed in the wall protecting the stairway. The odour exhaust vents were fitted into the architectural details of the roof, which was difficult due to limited space. Devices such as AHUs, chillers, transformers and pump stations were placed in the underground part of the building.  

Client Benefits

All phases, including agreement on the new network infrastructure, were finished in a year and a half. The building design was rated EXCELLENT in the BREEAM certification and is aiming for GOLD rating in LEED, which gives the investor huge marketing benefits.

Energy Modelling