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Renoma Building Shopping Center, Wroclaw, Poland

Wednesday 06 May 2009

Back from the brink

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Poland's historic shopping centre, destroyed in WWII, now rejuvanated by Benoy 

Benoy has announced the opening of the refurbished and extended Renoma building, a retail centre in the centre of Wroclaw, Poland, returning this historic building to the inhabitants of the city.

The original building, opened in 1930s, represented the luxurious flagship store of Wertheim’s, owner of the famous chain of European department stores. At the time of its opening, it was the largest steel structured retail centre in Europe. Today, Renoma is under conservatory protection and still represents a great example of monumental modernist architecture. Renoma was bombed during WWII, but its steel structure, survived. The current owner Centrum Development & Investments (CDI) has started to coordinate the rejuvenation of the building, planning intensive refurbishments and modernisation to reestablish Renoma’s former allure.

Appointed in 2002, by CDI, Benoy worked with local architect Zbyszek Mackow to revitalise Renoma’s original nature as an elegant department store. This project saw the transformation of the historic building which involves the redevelopment of the existing department store, adding three levels of workspace, and a new extension containing lower basement servicing, upper basement retail, three further levels of retail and six levels of car park.

Benoy created a shopping centre with the look and feel of a department store, whilst retaining the distinctive features for which the building is recognized and in keeping with the heritage of the ‘exclusive department store’ housing around 120 shops and boutiques. The internal layout proved to be a great challenge, retaining many original elements yet creating the type of space required of a modern centre. The interiors are decorated in a modern style with high-quality materials (glass, wood and steel). In the older part of the building, in addition to windows on all levels, the inner-courtyards have been covered with glass roofs and a new, glass-walled atrium has been erected, connecting the elegant front of the new wing with the original building. The design of the exterior of the extension keeps the distinguished horizontal lines of windows, separated by narrow bands of gold plated head ornaments and coloured ceramic cladding tiles.

The centre now offers double the floor space, up to 99,500m2, comprising of 31,000m2 of retail, a food court and 10,000m2 (over 3 storeys) of work space above the existing building and a multi-level car park on the upper levels of the new wing. By the end of 2008, 85% of the available retail space had been leased, include recognised Polish brands in addition new international brands entering the Polish market for the first time attracted by its historic setting.

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