Petrom S.A. – subsidiary company of the Austrian corporation OMV AG – is the largest corporate group in petroleum industry of Romania. The former state-owned enterprise engages in processing and refining of crude oil as well as the distribution of the petrochemicals obtained. Moreover, it possesses of an own network of filling stations at about 550 locations.
Since privatization in 2004, the corporate group is subject to consequent modernization and internationalization to meet the new challenges posed by Romania’s accession to the EU in 2007.
Consequentially, the administration distributed at the moment to more than 10 office locations in and around Bucharest shall be consolidated on a former refinery site to become “Petrom City”. Here, 2500 employees shall find a new working environment of international scale. Although Petrom is opening toward Europe, the location’s identity has to be respected. Therefore, the architect’s challenge was to build an environment that people would conceive as their own and to create at the same time a new quarter of importance for urban development.
Petrom City is composed of the buildings Data Center and Headquarters as well as the emblematic administration building – all arranged around Petrom Plaza. Cogeneration in an own power plant provides the entire power supply. Attached to this is a parking garage with about 1000 parking spaces. The corporate design of Petrom City is realized through three fundamental corporate identities of Petrom:
Communication – Transparency – Environmental Sustainability
On the one hand, the demanding work of the individual requires a silent work place. On the other hand, just Petrom lives on wide, open, smooth, internal communication. So, the challenge was to find a geometric body as alternative to the conventional building structure similar to a comb, the deficiencies of which are well-known (long distances, high percentage of façade). Different office-rooms – from dominating open-plan offices to the rare cellular office – are arranged so as to realize the principle of self-dependent work around of meetings without disturbances. In this spirit, both ovals have been developed for Petrom’s corporate identity that is distinguished by communication. It is for the first time that such a constellation is realized in a building for the administration and service sector. There where the ovals are overlapping, they form an intersection of paths for optimum use that guarantees short human-human distances. In the atriums being the ovals’ cores, the employees will find intermediate zones with protection from weather extremities; those provide near outdoor quality all the year round. Organized meetings and coming across someone complement one another and allow spontaneous communication.
On the one hand, Petrom is a company that has to guard its business secrets On the other hand, Petrom – a company close to the public – does not want to cut itself off from its environment. Today, employees want to keep in touch with their natural environment. And the townspeople do not want to be left in the dark about what happens behind the anyway closed doors of such a company. Reflective glass façades negate transparency, thus making these days every kind of glass architecture suspicious and sometimes leading to a renaissance of stone. Here, this exactly has been avoided: visual contacts inward and outward are virtually created. The glass envelope will not reflect but – being a meticulously designed climatic envelope – will provide the employees with a highest degree of visual coziness and in equal measure will satisfy the environmental responsibility of the company.
A group that sells energy knows the best about the value hereof and is well advised to economize this in its own house. The experience gained in different projects realized by AJF will help to reduce the consumption of primary energy in the operational headquarters of Petrom in Bucharest down to exemplary figures. In conventional office buildings that get a large part of their energy out of the public power grid, only about 30 percent of primary energy are used efficiently. Out of the use of gas and cogeneration, Petrom City will achieve an efficiency of more than 90 percent! In the wintertime, waste heat is used for heating, whereas in the summertime, it is converted through absorption processes into cooling energy and, therefore, serves all year long a positive energy balance.