Architecture continually evolves to meet societal demands. Recently, a global effort to tackle climate change, and to achieve optimum energy efficiency in buildings, has brought standards such as BREEAM and LEED to the fore. However, as scientific analysis and awareness of human mental health has increased, architects are once again required to place humans at the centre of the design process. This growing trend has led to the development of WELL Building Certification – considered the world’s first certification focused exclusively on human health and wellbeing.
The standards behind WELL have been the result of seven years of research involving scientists, doctors, and architects. Similar to LEED, WELL Certification is awarded at three levels: Silver, Gold and Platinum. However, whereas BREEAM and LEED standards focus on the relationship between buildings and the environment, WELL Certification recognizes the relationship between buildings and occupants. WELL addresses seven concepts related to human health in the built environment – air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and the mind. A WELL Certified space, therefore, is one which is deemed to improve the nutrition, fitness, mood, sleep patterns, and performance of its occupants.
WELL Certification is gaining traction within the construction industry, exemplified by Fosters + Partners' high rise office building at 425 Park Avenue in New York, which gained WELL Certification in 2015. It has since been revealed that Symantec’s California Headquarters is to become one of the first buildings in Silicon Valley to be WELL Certified. The design by US firm Little features a diverse, vibrant collection of spaces, with natural materials accented by bold colors and branding. Symantec’s energizing, comfortable workplace results in physical and mental benefits for employees, and offers an indication of what WELL Certified spaces of the future may look like.
WELL building certification focuses on human sustainability by creating environments that have a beneficial impact on human health and productivity. The Symantec design focuses on a comprehensive approach to health and wellness and goes beyond the WELL Building environmental prerequisites in some specific areas of impact including Light, Air and Mind – Carolyn Rickard-Brideau, Senior Partner, Little
News via: Little.