Kiralyegyhaza cement plant architect and manager discuss the award-winning site
Our Királyegyháza cement plant in Hungary was recently awarded the Prix d’Excellence from the International Real Estate Federation, winning over the jury with its architectural character and environmental performance. To find out more about what makes this cement plant so special, we interviewed two key actors in the life of the industrial site.
3 questions for Tamás Perl – cement plant architect and CEO of M Mérnöki Iroda Ltd.
What were your design goals for this project?
When the project was first announced, there was some pushback from parts of the community who believed that a cement factory could only be a disturbance in their daily lives. The goal was to use architectural design to show the community that this plant was different from what they know. It is the most modern cement plant in Europe with the newest technology available and has attracted over 3,000 visitors.
How have the plant’s employees reacted to such a daring design?
Actually, we’ve got feedback from employees who said that the aesthetics of the buildings had a positive influence on them. They feel they come to work at a “not ordinary” industrial facility. I think this shows that it’s important for industrial buildings to strive for innovative aesthetics.
Was it difficult to balance your architectural concept with the functional needs of the plant?
This plant was not our firm’s first cement plant design project, so we already knew quite a lot about the technology involved in production. What was different this time, was that we had complete creative freedom over how we wanted to design the buildings around the technology. We were able to choose the materials (concrete, steel) and this flexibility was a luxury that architects rarely have, when designing this kind of site. We never would have achieved this result without the freedom we were afforded.
3 questions for István Mikita – cement plant manager
Tell us about your background with LafargeHolcim and your current responsibilities as plant manager.
I have been working at Lafarge Cement Hungary Ltd. as Plant Manager for the past six years. My main responsibilities are guaranteeing that all safety standards are being met, ensuring that environmental regulations are being respected and producing the best quality cement for our customers - at a competitive cost. I’m proud of our plant rising to these challenges and meeting all requirements in a sustainable way.
Your plant has just been awarded a prestigious prize. The jury has commended its pleasing design and commitment to sustainable development. What are you most proud of?
For me, the health and safety culture we’ve built from the beginning and our environmental performance are unique achievements that are worth commending. We have reduced our CO2 emissions by 20 thanks to our commitment to the circular economy. It is also remarkable how we involved our neighbors in the conversation on different plant related topics and being able to mobilize them towards community development projects.
It’s true that the plant does a lot of outreach work. Could you talk about some of the initiatives?
We maintain a close relationship with local communities, which goes above and beyond our core competencies. Through our volunteering program – in which over one-third of our colleagues participate, we devoted 668 working hours to 35 initiatives in 2016. A shining example of community outreach is our charity run, “Together for our children”, organized together with neighboring municipalities for the third time this year, with the aim of raising funds for sports equipment for the nearby schools.