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DUAL Arhitekti has chosen ZEISS OFFICES as its home

It is expected that among the residents of the upcoming A-class office building ZEISS OFFICES there will be several companies that have already been located in MŪKU SALA for some time and whose activities are closely related to this place. However, "DUAL Arhitekti" is particularly close to the upcoming project - it is this architectural office that worked on the planning of ZEISS OFFICES, and now they will work in a place that they themselves had a hand in creating.

The company "DUAL Arhitekti" was founded in 2016 and since then has received several Latvian Construction Prize of the Year awards for its work.

"Our company is developing rapidly and the need for new premises was only a matter of time. Cooperation with Mūkusala Business Centre has lasted for the past five years, so knowing Mūkusala Business Centre’s very responsible attitude towards work and its customers, it was very easy to make a choice in favor of this place. Of course, our choice was also influenced by the fact that we ourselves participated in the development of the project, which gave us confidence in the expected result," says Aleksandrs Čepiguss, chairman of the board of "DUAL Arhitekti". "Several architects have been involved in the development process of the ZEISS OFFICES project, and this, in our opinion, is a great benefit for this object, because, by respecting the contributions and ideas of other architects, we have supplemented this project with our own vision and experience. We are sure that the future works that we will create in this building will be even more creative and will give us additional motivation to continue growing and developing," he continues.

"The path of ZEISS OFFICES from the birth of an idea to completion has been long and full of challenges, but without the involvement of "Dual Arhitekti" this building would certainly not be so impressive - even now, when the construction works have not yet been completed, it is clear to us that it will be the calling card of MŪKU SALA. In addition, the fact that the architectural company that worked on the project wants to move their operations to this building is a double honour, because it shows that the same enthusiasm is felt by the architects of ZEISS OFFICES themselves," says Iveta Bahmane, Chairwoman of the Board of Mūkusala Business Centre..

ZEISS OFFICES will be a six-storey building with a total leasable area of 4,300 m2. The building is certified in accordance with the requirements of the BREEAM Excellent sustainability certificate and the project includes Class A energy-efficient air cooling, ventilation, and heating systems. The building of ZEISS OFFICES is named in honour of the Karl Zeiss optics factory, which was located in the same place at the beginning of the 20th century - references to the former building will also be found in the façade design of the new building. The construction works of the building are planned to be completed at the beginning of 2023.

Helmes Latvia joins ZEISS OFFICES as its newest resident

The construction of the ZEISS OFFICES building is rapidly nearing completion - the outline of the building has already taken shape and the main structures have been completed - only the work on the facade and interior of the building remains. However, the range of expected residents of ZEISS OFFICES is getting wider - now the provider of IT services and solutions Helmes Latvia has joined in as well. 

Helmes Latvia is one of the leading providers of integrated solutions in Latvia, mainly focusing on software development. The company offers both ready-made IT solutions and flexible individual solutions adapted to the needs of each customer. The company has more than 30 years of experience, and its office is also currently located in MŪKU SALA, but after the opening of the ZEISS OFFICE building, it will move to the new A-class office building. 

"The office of Helmes Latvia was set up a while ago and was done so according to the principles of that time, but they no longer really correspond to the way the company works now. Flexible working hours and a hybrid model are our future, so offices must fulfill the function of meeting and socializing, which ensures people's involvement, promotes and improves cooperation between people and teams," says Viesturs Bulāns, CEO of Helmes Latvia."ZEISS OFFICES promises to be a comfortable and modern building with a historical aura, as well as providing a beautiful view of the Daugava and Riga. The philosophies of Helmes Latvia and Mūkusala Business Centre are very compatible, and I believe that this is the best place for personal and professional development."

"MŪKU SALA is currently home to several companies that can definitely be called leaders in their fields, and Helmes Latvia is one of them. We are truly happy that companies of this scale not only want to continue being part of the MŪKU SALA community, but also show trust and interest in the ZEISS OFFICES building, which is the most ambitious project implemented in this area so far," says Iveta Bahmane, Chairwoman of the Board of Mūkusala Business Centre..

ZEISS OFFICES will be a six-storey building with a total leasable area of 4,300 m2. The building is certified in accordance with the requirements of the BREEAM Excellent sustainability certificate and the project includes Class A energy-efficient air cooling, ventilation, and heating systems. The building of ZEISS OFFICES is named in honour of the Karl Zeiss optics factory, which was located in the same place at the beginning of the 20th century - references to the former building will also be found in the façade design of the new building. The construction works of the building are planned to be completed at the beginning of 2023. 

GIVEN Latvia has chosen the building of ZEISS OFFICES as its new home

Although the construction of the iconic building of ZEISS OFFICES is planned to be finished by the end of this year, GIVEN Latvia has already chosen this upcoming Class A office building as its new home, joining other market leaders who are currently residing in MŪKU SALA.

GIVEN Latvia is the largest chain of jewellery stores in the Baltics with 54 stores, the widest selection, unique collections of jewellery brands and excellent customer service. The role of GIVEN is to make jewellery accessible to everyone, because in the centre of this brand is joy - the joy of affording, the joy of decorating oneself and gifting jewellery to others, while experiencing the ease of these things.

“Thanks to the rapid growth of the GIVEN retail network and ambitious goals for the future, we have been looking for new, larger premises for some time. We looked at different options, but none of them could compete with the offer, understanding and hospitality of ZEISS OFFICES. We received the best interior design solution that meets our relatively complex needs and requirements. And, of course, the historical aura of the offices and the stunning view of the Daugava are a very pleasant added value to the work environment,” Ģirts Rudzītis, a member of the board of GIVEN Latvia, when detailing the choice of the new office.

“We are very pleased that such a recognizable and beloved company as GIVEN Latvia has chosen ZEISS OFFICES as its new home, thus making the range of companies residing in MŪKU SALA even more diverse, as it is the first company of this type in this area. I am convinced that GIVEN Latvia will be an invaluable part of our active MŪKU SALA community,” says says Iveta Bahmane, Chairwoman of the Board of Mūkusala Business Centre.

ZEISS OFFICES will be a six-storey building with a total leasable area of 4,300 m2. The building is certified in accordance with the requirements of the BREEAM Excellent sustainability certificate and the project includes Class A energy-efficient air cooling, ventilation, and heating systems. The building of ZEISS OFFICES is named in honour of the Karl Zeiss optics factory, which was located in the same place at the beginning of the 20th century - references to the former building will also be found in the façade design of the new building.

The iconic building of ZEISS OFFICES: from optics factory to becoming a Class A office building

Any person who works in the creative industries will agree that history is a powerful source of inspiration. We have better tools, instruments, and solutions than ever before, but that does not mean that we are turning our backs on things that have not only survived through the ages but have also become iconic. This is how the story of ZEISS OFFICES – an upcoming Class A office building in MŪKU SALA – begins. Why was this building given such a name? What is the source of its historical inspiration? And why did it take almost two decades to get this project off the ground?

20 years of development

 Development is the measure of not only the prospects of the territory, but also of the growth of society. In recent years, several neighbourhoods of Riga have experienced unprecedented prosperity - neglected or long forgotten areas have now become cultural and business centres, and this development is based on the well-being of the city's inhabitants.

The territory adjacent to Mūkusalas Street has also experienced such a development. Historically, it has been an industrial territory for the last several centuries - factories were created here starting with the 19th century, and this trajectory was largely dictated by the location - the proximity of the Daugava and the historical centre of the city. Times are changing, but not the benefits of Mūkusala - its location is still an extremely attractive feature.

The building of the National Library of Latvia and the Academic Centre of the University of Latvia are not the only milestones in the development of “the near Pārdaugava”. Among these projects are also the forthcoming reconstruction of the Daugava promenade of the left bank and the territory of MŪKU SALA - an environment created for business and leisure, the development of which has been active for the last 20 years, and the result is obvious - such well-known companies as Delfi, Bolt, Tele2, Cognizant, and many other market leaders in their industries now reside here. However, it is not over yet - other significant projects are currently being planned and implemented here, the first of which is “ZEISS OFFICES” - a Class A office building that combines modern solutions and the historical aura of MŪKU SALA.

To develop a new vision

The claim that the origins of the building of ZEISS OFFICES can be traced back to 1912 is not far from the truth, as it was at this time that the Karl Zeiss optics factory was built, and this building has become the main source of inspiration for the new office building. And there is more than the name itself to show for it.

“In 2008 we were invited to provide our vision of the development of Mūkusala Business Centre. And, when coming here to present our ideas, the historic Zeiss building always attracted my attention, as it was completely different from other industrial projects built in Riga,” says Pēteris Bajārs, the leading architect of Outofbox. He was the person who can now be considered the one to come up with the idea of a ZEISS OFFICES building. At that time, representing the architectural firm India, he started researching the building of the historic Zeiss factory – the vision of the Class A office building was largely based on this historical building.

“Even before that, there was a project where one of the solutions was to demolish the building. There was also a solution where a part of the building was to be preserved, and another option, to only keep the façade,” he says. “We tried for a long time to diplomatically convince everyone, that something more could definitely be done with this building, and we asked for the opportunity to give our vision. And then we tried to do it,” says Pēteris Bajārs.

The surprising history

Although the historic Zeiss building, which once stood in the place of the current entrance to Dēļu Street, has been an iconic part of the landscape of Mūkusalas Street for a hundred years, there was very little information about its origins. "Only the executive drawings of 1938 have survived and were available at the Riga City Construction Board, but there was no information about the building itself. In our offer, we promised to do a thorough research and get all the information about this building - everything we could get,” says the author of the idea of ZEISS OFFICES. "Then we “dug” until we found out that it was once a Karl Zeiss optics factory. While searching for other Karl Zeiss factories, a colleague found a postcard from Jena, Germany, where Carl Zeiss' main factory is located. And this building had a lot in common with the building in Riga, which in turn encouraged us to write to the Carl Zeiss archive,” he says.

This decision was a success - although it is not known who designed the building, the architect's office learned that it was built in 1912 as a monolithic reinforced concrete building that would essentially make it the oldest reinforced concrete building in Riga - now the oldest building of its kind is the Splendid Palace cinema, built in 1923. So, it turned out that the Carl Zeiss's historic factory building were the proud owners of this title even 11 years earlier.

“The other interesting thing was that the façades of the building consisted of monolithic reinforced concrete, but the façades on both ends were like temporary brickwork, with the idea that the building could be built in stages as a Lego house. This is what happened in Jena, where the building occupies a whole block. But here, with the beginning of the First World War in 1914, all production was stopped,” says the architect.

After the war, the Zeiss optics factory did not resume production. But what happened to the equipment that was left in the building? Pēteris Bajārs has also found the answer to this question. "The equipment was taken to Novosibirsk, where there is still an optics factory. And as far as we gathered, it still uses the same equipment.”

Seven different ideas

The road from the idea to the implementation of the project has truly been long, but in January 2022, the official ceremony during which the time capsule was buried, finally took place. The words of Klāvs Vasks, the co-owner of Mūkusala Business Centre, serve as a reminder of how long this project has taken: “This is the longest project of my life. During this time, my two daughters have grown up, one of them has already graduated from university, and we have built at least four other buildings in the area. But my message is that everyone needs a goal. And if you believe in this goal, move towards it and do not give up, sooner or later the result will be achieved,” he said during the official ceremony.

According to him, seven different architects have been involved throughout the project and seven different ideas have been developed about what the ZEISS OFFICES building should look like. And due to various circumstances, Pēteris Bajārs, although the author of the idea for the office building, is now watching the construction of the building from the sidelines.

"There was an economic crisis in the middle of the project, so there was a break. We resumed work on the project in 2014, but by the time the project was confirmed, it was revealed that the Zeiss building had been empty and in a dramatic condition since the 1990s. In fact, maintaining it was economically unreasonable,” says Pēteris Bajārs. "It was decided to demolish the building and build a copy in its place. Mūkusala Business Centre offered us this work, but we did not want to create a copy, so we decided not to continue working on the project,” he says.

Based on the sketches and technical design developed by the architectural firm India, the work was continued by DUAL architects, and construction work is currently being carried out by the construction company Velve. However, the connection between Pēteris Bajārs and MŪKU SALA has not been broken - he has also designed other buildings for this area and developed a renewed vision of the quarter.

Free from the nihilism of industrialization

Plans have changed over time, but the overall development is undeniable - in recent years, Dēļu Street, which had disappeared from the map of Riga for some time, was rebuild, plans for a pedestrian bridge that will connect MŪKU SALA with the Torņakalns neighbourhood are also underway. “We have regained the things that the Soviet years and the absolute nihilism of industrialization had destroyed. The ZEISS OFFICES building represents the highest quality architecture, different and visible, and it serves as a business card for the Mūkusala Business Centre, and I hope that this will be the case in the future," says the author of the idea of ZEISS OFFICES.

"The process has been very interesting; the process has been very long. And, of course, a lot has happened along the way, but it is gratifying that the steps that had been taken are being continued consistently. It seems to me that we were on the right track, as shown by the fact that in 2022 we are building a building whose first sketches were made in 2008 and that these sketches have been very contemporary. And they still are contemporary.”

A time capsule buried into the foundation of ZEISS OFFICES

On Thursday, January 20, three symbolic time capsules were buried in the foundations of the Class A “Zeiss offices” building during an official ceremony. The modern office building will be located at Dēļu street 2, Riga, and its construction works, which are being carried out by the construction company Velve, will be completed by the end of 2022.

Subject to strict epidemiological safety measures, the event was attended by the project developers - co-owners of Mūkusala Business Centre Klāvs Vasks and Alvis Krasovskis, Chairman of the Board Iveta Bahmane, Chairman of the Board of the construction company Velve Kaspars Rokens, along with guests of honor.

Among the guests of honor were Jānis Lucaus, Chairman of the Board of the insurance company Balcia Insurance, and Agris Bitāns, a partner of Eversheds Sutherland Bitāns, both of whom participated in the Christmas charity auction organized by the gallery and auction house Birkenfelds and donated funds to the Latvian Movement for Independent Life, thus gaining an opportunity to prepare their own capsules with their own messages.

The common capsule of Mūkusala Business Centre and the construction company Velve contains not only messages for future generations in different formats, but also various memorabilia. Thus, for example, the representatives of the construction company Velve placed in the capsule the issue of the newspaper Diena and the coin issued by the Bank of Latvia “Liepas lapa” (Linden leaf), which symbolizes nature in the urban environment and the balance that must be observed in the environment. The Mūkusala Business Centre placed in the capsule a message created jointly by the employees and a group photo of the team, as well as 30 children's drawings depicting the Riga of future – these artworks were created by the offspring of Mūkusala Business Centre tenants and construction company Velve employees.

"Every single one of us is creating history every single day. For us, yesterday is already history, while tomorrow is future, and we can mold this history in whatever way we want. That is why we gave the children the opportunity to envision and draw the future they see. Because we think that children intuitively understand high technology and they can intuitively work with it. So, then, maybe they intuitively know what the future will look like as well,” says Iveta Bahmane, Chairman of the Board of Mūkusala Business Centre. She also added a lipstick to the time capsule, symbolizing the presence of feminine energy in any large-scale project.

According to Klāvs Vasks, co-owner of Mūkusala Business Center, seven different architects have been involved in the development of the project and seven different ideas have been developed about what this building should look like.

"This is the longest project of my life. During this time, my two daughters have grown up, one of them has already graduated from university, and we have built at least four other buildings in the area. But my message is that everyone needs a goal. And if you believe in this goal, move towards it and do not give up, sooner or later the result will be achieved. My wish for all of us, and for the future generations, is to set high goals, not be afraid of challenging tasks, and to get up every morning with the thought, “How can we get even closer to our goals?,” he says.

The Zeiss office building will be a six-storey building with a total area of 5,700 m2, and 50 tons of metal structures will be used in its construction. According to the plan of the building, it will have 200 windows and other glass structures, and three elevators. The building is certified in accordance with the requirements of the BREEAM Excellent sustainability certificate and the project includes class A energy-efficient air cooling, ventilation and heating systems, while sustainable and environmentally friendly finishing materials are used in its construction. The total construction costs of the project are expected to amount to 9 million euros.

“The location of the new building on a small plot of land with a high-traffic highway - Mūkusalas street - on one side and the adjacent office buildings on the other side will be conditions that will require our team to constantly plan and adapt to new situations. It is important for us to do our job, organizing it in such a way as to leave as little impact as possible on both the daily life of the office employees and the traffic, ”says Kaspars Rokens, Chairman of the Board of Velve.

The building of “Zeiss offices” is named in honor of the Karl Zeiss optics factory, which was located in the same place at the beginning of the 20th century - references to the former building will also be found in the façade design of the new building. The historic structure, built in 1912, was the first reinforced concrete construction building in Riga. In the interwar period, the Latvian Leibovitz radio factory was located there, and after the Second World War - the Riga Radio Factory.

The total office area of Mūkusala Business Centre after the construction of the project will exceed 35,000 square meters. Offices for such companies as Tele2, Bolt, Delfi, Cognizant and Civinity are among those located in the territory of Mūkusala Business Centre. The largest solar power plant in Riga, which produces green energy for the tenants of the business center, is also located on the roofs of the Mūkusala Business Centre buildings.

A contract for the construction of the new Zeiss office building in Mūkusala Business Centre has been signed

On May 11 of this year, the developer of the project “Mūkusalas Biznesa Centrs” and the construction company “VELVE” signed an agreement on the construction of the new Class A office building “Zeiss Biroji”. The new building will be located in the territory of Mūkusala Business Centre, Riga, Dēļu Street 2. The project is planned to be completed by spring 2023.

The new Class A office building will be built on the site of the former Karl Zeiss optics factory, renovating the historic building and adding new and modern architectural elements. The project, according to the project developers, will combine the historical aura of this place with modern construction solutions and the latest technologies. One of the main advantages of the building is its strategically advantageous location - at the corner of Mūkusalas Street and Dēļu Street, with a view of the river Daugava and the towers of the Old Town. In addition, the territory of the business centre will be supplemented with a new multi-storey car park, which will provide more green areas for pedestrians and convenience for motorists.

“”Zeiss Biroji” is a long-planned project for the expansion of Mūkusala Business Centre. By renovating the historic Karl Zeiss factory building, which has inspired by its more than 100-year history, it will turn into a comfortable and modern office building that will not only incorporate the latest technical and energy efficiency solutions, but also embody the best workplace designs and amenities, which will be especially appreciated by the new users of the building. We have proved that local capital companies can also create and manage important real estate projects that have served and will continue to serve as a place for the growth and new ideas for decades to come for various expanding businesses, thus making this area an active centre on the map of Riga, ”says Mūkusala Business Centre co-owner Klāvs Vasks.

"We have grown and developed together with our customers through various economic times for twenty years. The Covid-19 pandemic, I think, has taught us that the ability to adapt is what drives companies through any crisis. I think that many employees want to return to work in their offices, that not only respect the individual work habits of everyone, but allows to separate the home from the work that is done in premises suitable for it. Working in Zeiss offices will definitely ensure the well-being, loyalty, and growth of our tenants' employees in the companies whose tenants will work in the new offices,” says Iveta Bahmane, Chairman of the Board of Mūkusala Business Centre.

The signed contract envisages the construction of a 5,600 square meter office building, which will be certified in accordance with the requirements of the BREEAM Excellent sustainability certificate, and the project will include Class A energy efficient air cooling, ventilation and heating systems and sustainable and environmentally friendly finishing materials, as well as user-friendly solutions, from lighting and hinged windows to an ergonomic work environment. It is also planned to create a conference centre for up to 80 people in the office building. It is estimated that the total construction costs of the project will amount to 9 million euros.

“The construction of the new office building will not only be interesting, but also challenging in a way, because the building will be constructed in an already existing office building quarter, where there is intensive traffic and which is located next to a busy city street - Mūkusalas Street. The construction site is also surrounded by adjacent buildings and intensively used access roads, in places literally reaching up to the facade itself. Working in such conditions will require particularly careful planning of material procurement and technical work to be performed. In addition, the construction of the building will have to take into account the operation of the surrounding offices and provide them with easy access for visitors and staff. However, we have gained a lot of experience working on similar types of projects, so we will be able to implement this project as planned,” says Kaspars Rokens, Chairman of the Board of Velve.

The total office area of Mūkusala Business Centre after the project implementation will exceed 35,000 square meters. Companies such as "Tele2", "Bolt", "Delfi", "Cognizant", "Civinity" and others are located in the territory. The largest solar power plant in Riga, which produces green energy for the tenants of the business centre, is also located on the roofs of the Mūkusala Business Centre buildings.