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UNIQA Tower: a new landmark for Vienna

Austria’s leading insurance group opens new head office

After a mere 33 months for the tower to be completed, Vienna is one landmark richer. The 75-metre high UNIQA Tower is not only going to become an ultra-modern place for more than 1 000 members of the UNIQA staff to work in this summer, but will very soon be actively involved in events in its surroundings in Vienna’s 2nd district. The inviting ground floor design, the generous foyer glazing and the public spaces on the lower floors will make the new UNIQA Tower a potential “hotspot” in the city of Vienna. Both the DO & CO gastronomy and event area, and the branch of the Raiffeisenlandesbank Lower Austria-Vienna, as well as John Harris Fitness, will lend it even more atmosphere.

UNIQA Tower – visible expression of corporate philosophy
Construction of a new domicile for the group became necessary, as the various companies which had combined at the beginning of 1997 to form the BARC Insurance Group were already scattered around various locations. In 1999, the new brand, UNIQA, was positioned in Austria and stands for unique quality of products and services today. “Values such as openness, vitality, flexibility and most of all, orientation towards the future, should be expressed visibly in the group’s new head office”, according to Herbert Schimetschek, CEO of the UNIQA Real Estate Project Construction Co. Ltd.

The UNIQA Tower – visual focus on the Danube Canal skyline
The UNIQA Tower, conceived by architect Heinz Neumann, emphasises the significance of its prominent site in the immediate surroundings of the Urania, the Danube Canal and the Ringstrasse through its optical impact. The objective was to create a visual focus as a future landmark on the Danube Canal skyline.
The choice of an ellipse-shaped high-rise ground plan permits an all-round view of Vienna from each individual storey on a sensitive site for urban development, and features optimal light conditions owing to the specially selected incline of the structure as it opens out in its lower areas. Architect Heinz Neumann: “The building shoots up spiritedly, emotionally, opening out and almost playfully. Its shape absorbs the impetus of the UNIQA logo and transforms it into architecture, with interior and exterior openness dominating.”

The ecological, economic concept
The UNIQA Tower uses warmth from the earth and is equipped with an environmentally friendly heating and cooling system. A third of the tower heating and cooling is regulated via this highly efficient circuit. During long cold spells, a district heating connection will ensure that the offices are the right temperature. This means price-effective operation, a high degree of safety and low servicing costs. The use of earth and district heating will reduce annual CO2 emission by 84 tons.

As the windows are easy to open, all members of staff can air their working area individually at any time. The extensive glass surfaces provide optimal daylight conditions. Anti-glare and sun shields, as well as reflection-free, artificial illumination allow computer workstations to have the right light conditions.

Open structures and flexibility characterise interior design
The open structures of the total conception and interior design allow a high degree of flexibility and mobility. The premise of open structures holds true here for the lobby, which was conceived as public space, as well as for the design of the areas for the executive or supervisory boards. “We wanted anything but the hermetically sealed office zone that is usual in our latitudes. We would like to bring the city and its people into the UNIQA building and therefore have the whole of the ground floor zone open to the public”, remarked Konstantin Klien, CEO of the UNIQA Versicherungen AG at the opening press conference.

Offices without barriers
All the office space is extremely bright, airy and flooded with light. Every member of staff has the opportunity to sit very near one of the windows forming part of the front of the building. For this reason, all service rooms are situated in the dark zone in the middle. The surrounding areas between there and the outside wall of the ellipse remain completely free, with all the working areas having a view of the city below. There is a lounge on every floor, along with the archive, the EDP terminal room and the rest rooms which are also located on every floor. The lounge always opens on to the atrium, which is an open-plan, 70-metre high air space in the centre of the building, and is intended to be a place where the staff can spend their breaks. No barriers – so goes the slogan for the interior fittings as well. Even if a department head has a separate zone where discussions can take place in a private atmosphere, special attention has been paid to maintaining the transparency of the building so as to prevent the development of barriers. There is a spectacular view of the federal capital’s skyline from the Skylobby on the 21st floor and the terrace on the top floor.

Tower financing developed with Austrian leasing companies
As is usual with construction projects of this size, the financing of the UNIQA Tower was worked out in close cooperation with the Austrian Leasing Company. The UNIQA Real Estate Project Construction Company Ltd., in which Immorent holds a third of the shares, and Raiffeisen Leasing two thirds, was engaged to erect the UNIQA Tower following public tender and now leases it to UNIQA. A buyer’s option has been granted for 15 years from now. The building costs alone amount to a total of EUR 70.04.

Synergetic effects surpass financing costs
For the first time, the UNIQA Tower permits all the most important company offices to be together on one site and thus to be a centre for UNIQA knowledge management. Synergy in very different areas is a result of this. Logistics, administration and communication are going to be more efficient in the future. The synergetic effects will surpass the ongoing financing costs.

Top event location for up to 1 000 guests in the heart of Vienna
DO & CO sets high standards with “Platinum Vienna”
On 25 June, 2004 Vienna’s newest, most modern event centre, “Platinum Vienna”, was opened in the new UNIQA Tower. A state-of-the-art, multifunctional event centre with space for up to 1 000 guests has been erected, with an area of around 1 100 square metres. Equipped with the most up-to-date technology, eminently suitable for telecasts and with innovative light and sound systems,  the new top event location offers a wide range of modular, accessible services for events of a variety of dimensions. “Platinum Vienna” is an ideal location for presentations, gala dinners and company and private parties, as well as for cultural events such as literature readings and concerts. In the daytime, the bistro in “Platinum” and an AIOLI shop are open for UNIQA staff and any other customers, with baked goods – fresh from the oven – tea and coffee specialties, fresh juices, salads, sandwiches and convenience foods on sale.

John Harris Fitness also in UNIQA Tower as from September
The state-of-the-art fitness centre to be run by John Harris in cooperation with the UNIQA VitalClub as from September is located on the first lower floor of the new UNIQA Tower. In the training area, there are 30 high-quality cardio machines, such as bicycle and rowing ergometers, treadmills, crosstrainers and steppers available. “John Harris Fitness has an international, versatile clientele of all ages. I think we suit UNIQA perfectly”, comments John Harris confidently. Collaboration between insurance companies, their policy holders and fitness studios is a trend all over Europe. The policy holders benefit from the lower membership fees, the fitness studios from new target groups and the insurance companies are able to reduce their costs for the treatment of various illnesses.

Raiffeisenlandesbank Lower-Austria-Vienna in public space in UNIQA Tower
As a UNIQA Versicherung partner of many years’ standing, Raiffeisen offers a variety of RLB Lower-Austria-Vienna financial services in the UNIQA Tower. “A modern bank lies at the feet of the 1 000 people who are going to fill the building with life”, points out RLB Lower-Austria-Vienna CEO Peter Püspök as he explains Raiffeisen’s presence in the newly erected office block. With the new branch in the UNIQA Tower, 50 Raiffeisen branches run by the Raiffeisenlandesbank Lower-Austria-Vienna are forcing the idea of a group of advisors.

Attachments:

UNIQA Tower Photo 1
UNIQA Tower Photo 2

Links:

Neumann + Partner
RLB NÖ-Wien AG
DO&CO AG
John Harris Fitness GmbH

Vienna, 24. June 2004


UNIQA Group Communication

Untere Donaustraße 21
A-1029 Vienna, Austria
Phone: (+43 1) 211 75-3414
Fax: (+43 1) 211 75-3619
E-Mail: presse@uniqa.at