Optim Project Management – Delivering a Lasting Legacy

Optim Project Management – Delivering a Lasting Legacy

Over 100 contractors and thousands of workers were engaged by Optim Project Management to help renovate the Marmorosch-Blank Palace in the heart of Bucharest

The Marmorosch-Blank Palace, one of the emblematic buildings on the bank map of Romania, came back to life as an upper-scale luxury hotel following EUR 42 mil. investment

Romania’s top construction project management company Optim Project Management managed the entire renovation of The Marmorosch Bucharest – Autograph Collection by Marriott, which celebrated its opening last year.

The whole project lasted for almost three years, from the initial design phase to the live operation of the hotel. The scope of services involved extensive demolition, consolidation, archaeological works, restoration, renovation and new-built works, Optim Project Management managing and coordinating 100 contractors and thousands of workers, as advanced expertise was necessary for the complex work of renovating the historic building.

Optim Project Management’s full scope of services included Design Management, Construction Project Management, Tendering, Cost & Commercial Management, FF&E Procurement and Installation, Health & Safety Coordination and Site Inspection services.

After three years of full non-stop work, the Marmorosch-Blank Palace, one of the emblematic buildings on the bank map of Romania, came back to life as an upper-scale luxury hotel following a total investment of EUR 42 million, as The Marmorosch Bucharest – Autograph Collection by Marriott.

The project was a truly complex and challenging one, which required the effort and involvement of different specialists, authorities and entities. Being a historical monument, with a rich cultural heritage, special attention was paid to the blending of the restoration process and the conversion of a historic bank into a 21st-century hotel.

The palace needed an extensive consolidation of the structure, as it was left in ruins for a long time. The façade to Doamnei Street was made of rare and richly ornamented materials and it was in an advanced state of degradation, therefore it also needed emergency restoration. The façade was kept and revitalised, including the original wrought iron windows and grilles, and the window frames detailed with historical coats of arms and dragon emblems. Inside, the architectural and artworks, murals, floors, woodwork, mosaic, marble, ceramic, stone, glass, and so on, have all been thoroughly refurbished, a process only achieved by manual restoration, executed in meticulous detail and phases using specialist techniques and tools. About 20% of the palace, mainly the historical part, has been refurbished and now honours the building’s rich past and heritage.

I always said that The Marmorosch Bucharest is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity and is one of the most ambitious projects I ever managed. In 3 years, we supervised closely the works with around 400 workers present each day onsite. It was a challenging project as diverse entities were involved, from carpenters specialised in old woodwork, professionals qualified in historical facades, archaeologists, restaurateurs of paintings and hardware, to structural, installations and fit-out specialists. Working in the heart of Bucharest was also elusive, as the access with big product supply trucks and the concrete pouring had to be made during the night. It has been a hugely rewarding project to work on and we are all immensely proud of the result

said Adrian Rusu, Project Manager at Optim Project Management.

During the restoration phase, a series of archaeological activities took place. The archaeological research from Marmorosch-Blank highlighted some of the foundations of the former Serafim Inn, but also of other previous buildings dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. Archaeological research carried out in the perimeter of the former building of the Marmorosch-Blank bank resulted in the discovery of archaeological structures and materials (ceramic, glass, etc.) from the 18th and 19th centuries. Thus, the information obtained brought new data regarding the Serafim Inn, but also related to constructions before the palace’s existence or various infrastructure elements, like a drinking water pipe and a section of a sewerage system. All the archaeological findings are rigorously presented in “Journal of Archaeological and Numismatic Research – No. 6” published by Cetatea de Scaun Publishing House in 2020.

The interior was redistributed and rebuilt to divide the hotel rooms, rooms which all have high ceilings and large windows due to the architectural project of that time. There are in total 217 rooms, which are classed as standard, superior, or with a terrace, and two apartments (Heritage and Platinum). The former office of the governor was transformed into the breath-taking Presidential Suite which has 170 sqm.

The historical entrance of the building is now the spectacular hotel reception and the bank’s vault was transformed ingeniously into a bar. The vault door is the original one and was restored also, all the safe-deposit boxes made from massive brass, over 4,200 in total, were refurbished and repaired, and now all can be used by the hotel’s clients. The hotel has its own restaurant, a lobby lounge and bar, 3 rooms dedicated to events and conferences which can accommodate over 200 people, a fitness centre and SPA, and a pool.

The beauty of the building, it’s intriguing story behind, expressed homage for architectural heritage, high-quality detailing throughout, new aesthetic that is designed taking the existing building materials and colouring as a reference – all stimulates Guests imagination and nurtures creativity while defining a way of life of “la Belle Epoque Period

declared YES. Design. Architecture, the Lithuanian interior designer of The Marmorosch Bucharest – Autograph Collection.

The extension made in 1993 consisted of a large and glazed structure with a curved roof, which was highly criticised by architects and historians as it was negatively influencing the overall looks of the historical palace. To have a unitary building and to match the architectural appearance of the palace, the best solution was to demolish the whole construction and to build a new one. The entire process of building the new wing took place at the same time as the restoration and consolidation of the main palace. Today, this wing is perfectly blending with the palace’s façade and accommodates 39 rooms.

The project that led to the transformation of a monumental building in the historic centre of Bucharest was more than a simple transformation of an abandoned building, which in the interwar period was the most important commercial bank in Romania.

The secret to this success? The word that made it possible to achieve this successful transformation? The word is TEAM! The TEAM that included the young architects from Cumulus, coordinated by Adrian Soare and Cristina Popescu, the most experienced (Catalina Preda, Mihai Butucaru and Iulian Olteanu) for the consistent part of approaching the historical monument, restoring the interior but also the monumental façade in Doamnei Street, the structural engineers who had to continue the work of Anghel Saligny to preserve the integrity of the building, and last but not least, Optim Project Management’s team, who had to coordinate everyone involved, like an experienced conductor.

At the end of the works, the result did not show any of the difficulties encountered, the uncertainty of some moments, but only the success of a project for the city and its inhabitants, the building already becoming an emblematic place of Bucharest” concluded Catalina Preda, urbanist architect at Ministry of Culture, Commission of Historical Monuments.

The palace’s construction background

The palace was commissioned by Marmorosch Bank, Blank & Co., and its construction took place between 1912 and 1922, according to the plans of Petre Antonescu, one of the famous architects of the time. It was decorated in a neo-Romanian style with elements of Moldavian Gothic and Brancovenean architecture, Byzantine and discreet Art Nouveau suggestions by Cecilia Cutescu-Stock, a painter with a strong influence on the cultural life of the interwar period.

Marmorosch Bank, Blank & Co. operated in the premises of the palace until its nationalization, later the Investment Bank operated in the building, and after the 1989 Revolution, another bank occupied it, which made an extension in 1993 of the old headquarters on Eugeniu Carada street. Sadly after, the palace was abandoned and not maintained, remaining empty for many years, which lead to a considerable degradation of the building.

Fortunately, Apex Alliance Hotel Management, an active player on the hospitality market in Bucharest, bought the building to transform it into a 5-star hotel. In 2018, the building’s conversion started, with the close supervision of Optim Project Management, a company that has extensive experience in managing and delivering hospitality projects. The hotel opened its doors to guests in August 10th, 2021.

Parties involved in the project

Project Manager: Optim Project Management

General Designer: CUMULUS

Interior Design: YES. Design – Lithuania

Monuments Consultants: arch. Catalina Preda, arch. Mihai Butucaru

Structure: Somet (Cross Design + Solidis + ATI)

Interior and exterior artistic components restoration: DUCT (Iulian Olteanu)

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