Diuna – how to turn urban concrete space into a climate island

The key works in the modernisation of Diuna office complex have been completed in Warsaw’s Służewiec district. The courtyard has been transformed from a huge concrete car park into a public green park. The common areas of the four office buildings have gone through a metamorphosis, and modern building systems have been implemented throughout the project. The effects of the upgrade are clearly visible. The surface temperature of the complex has been reduced by around 15 degrees. The final finishing touches are currently being put on the site.

Diuna, formerly the Marynarska Business Park, opened in 2008. It was a typical product of its time and place: Warsaw’s “Mordor” office district. Over time, the complex ceased to be attractive to tenants and investors. The potential of the investment was recognised by PineBridge Benson Elliot and Syrena Real Estate, which decided to thoroughly modernise and adapt the office park to current market requirements.

Tenant after tenant put their trust in the Diuna and see the future of their business in our complex. We are delighted with the renewed leases, which confirm that our great project, the thorough modernisation of the entire complex, is appreciated by our tenants. Since we started the revitalisation, all existing tenants have renewed their office space leases. The commercialisation of the Diuna is progressing and we are negotiating with new clients, who we hope will soon join the project’s tenant portfolio.

The starting point for us in the modernisation of Diuna was to create a new value for the project because real estate in Mokotów, although attractively located, has seen better days. We do not like to demolish anything and we strongly believe in giving projects a second life. We have already tested our business model of revitalising older buildings with HOP office building on Chmielna Street in Warsaw. For Diuna, we created a proprietary modernisation programme that covered three areas: the exterior and surroundings of the buildings, the entrance lobbies of the four office buildings, and improvements to the building systems. The strategy worked well. When we took over the project, the vacancy rate was 60%. Since we started the revitalisation process, all existing tenants have renewed their leases of office space and we have signed new contracts. At this time, the commercialisation of the complex is close to 75% and we are in the process of negotiating leases of further space. The new office park is popular with both the employees of the complex and the local residents,” said Witold Zatoński, founder of Syrena Real Estate.

As a result of the modernisation, a range of solutions have been put in place at Diuna to improve the operation of the building systems, including carbon dioxide concentration-dependent ventilation control, VAV ventilation systems, and airflow control. One of the most important measures implemented during the modernisation was the replacement of the chillers with energy-efficient screw chillers. Thanks to measures improving the energy efficiency of the buildings, a significant reduction in carbon dioxide of up to 31 per centis expected, corresponding to a reduction in CO2emissions of 1,575 tonnes per year. In addition, solutions reducing water consumption have been implemented at the Diuna, including the regulation of flows in fittings in common areas, leak detection and prevention systems, and an 80 m3 rainwater retention tank.

Thanks to the changes made at Diuna, an urban heat island has been eliminated. A concrete car park of 6,000 square metres has been replaced by a green park with 50 trees and 96 species of shrubs. This native greenery is important for sustainable projects. The vegetation humidifies the air and lowers the temperature of the courtyard. This has been confirmed by measurements taken before the patio was upgraded (in July 2021) and after the greenery was planted (in July 2023), which show that the temperature in Diuna courtyard has decreased by around 15 degrees Celsius over this time. The patio is sculpted with green hills – dunes. With this solution, the hills create cosy spaces and nooks filled with vegetation. Trees are planted in special structures exactly where the underground garage poles are located. On the patio, traditional lawns have been replaced by a flower meadow, which is home to many beneficial species of animals and a paradise for pollinators. The complex also features 13 anti-smog screens with a total area of 416 sq. m, which have been planted with climbing plants. The structures not only have an aesthetic function; they also separate the park area from the traffic of Marynarska Street, stopping noise, dust, and exhaust fumes.

Water retention plays an important role in the outdoor area of Diuna. All the water from the courtyard flows first into small reservoirs at ground level and then into larger underground tanks for reuse. In addition, we have designed a stream, a fogger with 200 nozzles producing a water mist on hot days, and an educational pavilion with a roof in the shape of a rain cloud to popularise the idea of water retention,” said Maciej Jakub Zawadzki, chief designer of the new complex from MJZ Studio. “When creating the new concept of Diuna, the social aspect was extremely important to us and we wanted to reinvent the place. We wanted it to serve both the office workers and the local community, be open to the city and encourage people to spend time communing with nature,” said the chief designer of the new version of the Diuna.

The former entrance area to the complex from Taśmowa Street has been turned into an 80-metre-long woonerf with greenery and resting areas. The entire area is free of car traffic, with only short-term stops possible. A new infrastructure dedicated to cyclists has been developed: a bike park with 114 spaces on the underground level, changing rooms with showers, four chargers for electric bicycles, self-repair stations, as well as ground-level racks. There is an internal cycleway running through the Diuna, which will connect the complex to the surrounding path network. The concept of a circular economy is also important in the revitalisation of the Diuna. All of the greenery from the original patio has been distributed to the tenants, and some of the materials from the demolition have been used in the new project, including old advertising masts as well as stone from the entrance hall used for the construction of an educational pavilion on the patio.

The four building lobbies in the complex have also undergone a transformation, with Anna Łoskiewicz of Łoskiewicz Studio responsible for the design.

We wanted a design that evokes emotion in the audience. We opted for huge artistic sculptures, placed in each of the office halls. The structures emphasise the fluid transition between all the common spaces while intermingling with the patio landscape. Art is an extremely important element that we used in the design. Works by Polish and foreign artists have been placed in the lobby interiors. We took care of the comfort of the tenants and users of the office buildings. A new 250 sq. m conference centre is available in one of the office buildings, with four rooms that can be arranged depending on needs. Comfortable spaces are available for work and for meetings in each lobby,” said Anna Łoskiewicz

The key construction work on the exterior and interior of all four office buildings has been completed on the site. At the moment, the Chief Contractor of the modernisation project, Reesco, is still carrying out work on the pavements in the outdoor area, and planting is being finalised. The two main entrance gates, the ramps leading to the underground car park, and the underground car park will also soon be upgraded.

Diuna (formerly the Marynarska Business Park) comprises four office buildings with a total usable area of 46,000 sq. m. Companies located here include Accord, NewCold, Colgate, Daikin Europe, Eurocash, Ford, JDE, Oceanic, S.C Johnson, FOUNDEVER, Business Lease, Leasing Team, and WDX. The complex houses a LUX MED clinic and a Gorąco Polecam café. The complex has a WELL Health & Safety Rating and WIREDSCORE certification at the Silver level. After the completed modernisation, the Diuna will apply for Breeam In-Use certification under the new v6 system. The investor is working with the Integration Foundation to make the investment as accessible as possible for people with disabilities.


Diuna in numbers:

46,000 sq. m of leasable space in the complex’s four buildings

6,000 sq. m of green patio

1,300 parking spaces in the underground car park

12 species of trees

50 trees

96 species of shrubs

48 m of stream running through the patio

80 m woonerf

114 bicycle parking spaces in the underground garage

56 above-ground bicycle racks

4 charging stations for electric bicycles

416 sq. m of anti-smog screens

200 water mist jets in the patio area

14 benches and resting areas

50 hills/dunes