As more research is conducted, it is becoming apparent that minimalist workspaces and so-called “cubicle farms” are counter to increased productivity. Instead, cultivating work environments that foster wellness and creativity makes employees more productive. Paul Scialla, founder of the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), said,
“A growing body of research demonstrates the environments where we live and work have a direct impact on our well-being and it is becoming increasingly important to place people at the heart of design and construction, operations and development decisions.”
This commitment to focusing on wellness in work environments has been displayed by architecture firms across a variety of projects. Here are a few examples that encourages us to push forward in uture of sustainable architecture and interior spaces:
McKesson, a pharmaceutical distributer, recently renovated its Richmond, VA, headquarters. Beyond addressing the outdated facility and technology, the executives at McKesson wanted to take the opportunity to make the space a place that benefited their employees, as well as furthering their mission to be a sustainable company.
As a pharmaceutical company, their aim is to make people healthier; why not start with their own employees? Beyond that, McKesson’s goal is to hire and retain the best employees possible, and creating a workplace focused on wellness is a great way to achieve that objective. McKesson worked with IA Interior Architects to work to achieve WELL building certification as well as LEED building certification. There was a large focus on increasing natural light, as well as better placement of stairs to encourage employees to choose the stairs over the elevator.
TD Bank collaborated with HOK to become the first building to achieve WELL Gold Certification. The reason behind working toward this achievement was simple: people.“People are our most important asset,” said Martha MacInnis, design director, Enterprise Real Estate, TD Bank Group.
“We’re committed to being an extraordinary place to work, so it made perfect sense to look at our existing design standards and figure out a way to elevate them to the next level.”
High schools around the world are incorporating green roofs into their design. The specific reasons for each facility vary. One school valued the unification with the surrounding environment. Another used the roof for a bio swale rain garden, using the roof to collect and redistribute rainwater for irrigation. However, the overarching reasoning for these schools installing green roofs is sustainability and the wellness of their students and employees.
Hospitals are using patient and visitor experiences to improve the design of their facilities. They’re using architecture to address hospital, patient, and community needs:
“Many people enter a hospital for an urgent need. Yet once there, many design elements can help lessen the emotional stress and heighten well-being.”
These facilities are incorporating this feedback to create an environment that promotes relaxation and healing. They’ve done so by adding a more defined entryway and using nature to provide relaxation in the form of rooftop gardens, courtyards, and views of the natural surroundings. “By including patients and community members in the planning process, healthcare organizations can identify important attributes that contribute to patients’ emotional well-being, promote healthy building interiors and reinforce a sense of ownership and pride for the community.”