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After being awarded BEST SMALL OFFICE DEVELOPMENT OF THE YEAR in Romania in 2016, Stefan cel Mare Building won the American Architecture Prize for Commercial Architecture! What was the reaction to the award from colleagues and clients?

We were thrilled to receive these awards and we were congratulated by our colleagues and clients. The recognition that we received, gave clients more confidence in choosing us for the next projects, knowing that we can add a plus to their development through our name.

What do these type of awards represent for a business like yours?

Every prize is important for us. It validates the quality of design and sets us on an international scale. Also it gives a boost in promoting our company through marketing strategies. Our clients are pleased to collaborate with us, given the recognition of good quality design and in return we help promoting their business and building ventures.

What is the most unique feature about Stefan cel Mare Building, from your point of view?

I believe that the most important feature is its quiet elegance. It’s outside simplicity in contrast to its complex interior and advanced equipments which have contributed to a BREEAM certified building.

Please talk about any other notable aspects of the building that makes it unique.

The facade concept is a reinterpretation of the industrial buildings which were landmarks in the XX century (e.g. Assan Mill). The vertical brick stripes alternates with horizontal steel beams, creating a harmonized facade that acts as a landmark for the Stefan cel Mare intersection.

Which raised access floor system was used? Please touch upon any notable products, how they were used and if they solved a specific problem?

According to fire security norm the building was classified as a tall building, and therefore we had to choose CBI Europe raised access floor, CBM/S panel, fully encapsulated with galvanized steel, with fire reaction class A1fl and fire resistance REI30r.

What are your thoughts on the importance of raised access floor as part of the new building?

It was important to use a raised floor system in designing the building, because the client rented it as an open space, giving the tenant the possibility to adapt the space to its own needs.

New buildings are designed with a strong focus on both user experience and environmental health, is this correct? Can you tell us more about this?

The user experience is a set of activating senses and perceptions regarding the environment. Now we are at a turning point, given the requests for more eco-friendly buildings that integrate technology and life cycle assessment schemes. Also the organisation in office buildings is changing, we are evolving from hierarchical schemes to more flexible ones, given the job changes and the shift to working remote.

Are you concerned about environmental and social sustainability in your buildings? If so, what role does green building play into your work?

We are very much concerned regarding environmental and social sustainability. We apply this schemes in designing the concept of the building. Good sustainable design also encourages others to build the same way, it becomes a trend in nowadays society. People are more aware of their impact to the environment. The building service equipments have to be of high equality in order to reduce costs of living and working, the position of the building and its relationship with the sun can reduce also utility costs. You have to understand the site and what advantages it brings into your design for a good planning.

What do you feel is the greatest challenge when it comes to designing for environmental sustainability?

The biggest challenge is the cost for implementing high quality equipments or architectural systems like sunshades, that reduce this costs. We started a lot of projects aiming for BREEAM or LEED certificates and when the client discovered the costs, they prefer to go with a more conservative building. The talent of the architect should be to try and balance the cost and the need for green architecture.