Ben Adams, Founding Director, Ben Adams Architects

Ben Adams, Founding Director, Ben Adams Architects 3540 5034 Bucharest Real Estate Club

BREC Talks to Ben Adams

Founding Director, Ben Adams Architects

``Office buildings need to be interesting, creative, non-standard and exciting to be in. Bucharest is still building largely boring buildings and needs to wake up to the demand for better buildings that let at higher rents..``

Established in 2010, Ben Adams Architects has quickly developed a reputation for elegant, contextual architecture balancing function with an appropriate degree of innovation and flair.  With offices in London and Los Angeles, the architectural studio has in its portfolio clients such as Nobu Hotel, Derwent London, The Science Museum, Great Portland Estates etc. The company’s founder, Ben Adams, has recently visited Bucharest for un upcoming project and shared with BREC his opinions on the development of the city.

Bucharest is now experiencing a “natural gentrification” phenomenon. How do you see the potential of historic, industrial buildings in Bucharest? What successful examples did you develop/ see?

Bucharest is a beautiful city, with a long history and a unique position in Europe between the ‘old’ countries of Western Europe and the new frontier to the East. Bucharest should position itself as a vibrant mix of old and new, with so many opportunities for those looking to make a difference. Be brave.

The historic buildings and industrial heritage of Bucharest are one of its most powerful assets.

We have seen Brooklyn explode with developments in old Industrial neighborhoods, and Shoreditch in east central London is now one of the most desirable parts of the city in which to live and work. Making something new by reinventing your heritage has driven development in London, New York, Chicago, Berlin and many other successful cities in the last twenty years. Bucharest needs to embrace this process and recognize how powerful it is as an engine of change. We are working on a huge re-use project in Grivita that is a great example of this phenomenon.

You have recently visited Bucharest – what type of projects do you think Bucharest can accommodate now? What idea would you give a developer to build together with you in Bucharest?

I think the market in Bucharest is maturing as new office buildings, shopping malls and residential projects appear in different parts of the city. What I haven’t seen is the kind of characterful mixed-use buildings that are common in cities like London and Los Angeles. They can be large or small, and the mix of uses is what makes local neighborhoods desirable, interesting and also valuable.

What should Bucharest do to attract international investors (let`s say, your clients from London)?

I think Bucharest needs to shout about its growth and the returns that are on offer from what is a low commercial basis. It means you can acquire land at low cost and build projects in phases according to demand. I know that a lot of office space in Bucharest is pre-let before the buildings are begun, or complete, and this suggests that there is a big opportunity for investors in speculative buildings that stand out from the crowd.

What`s your proposal for economically efficient office buildings? How would you help a developer maximize his investment through architecture?

Office buildings need to be interesting, creative, non-standard and exciting to be in. For many years the office market was boring and repetitive and then everything changed about ten years ago in London, New York and Los Angeles. Bucharest is still building largely boring buildings and needs to wake up to the demand for better buildings that let at higher rents. There is some evidence of this happening near the Government in Piata Victoriei but it is an exception for the moment.