Lighting has been one of the key elements is helping a London office become the first building in Europe to attain the Well Building Standard.
The lighting design at the headquarters of international multi-disciplinary engineering company Cundall combines both the careful layout of the office to maximise the use of natural daylight with light level sensors that reduce or increase lux levels when appropriate.
The 1,400 square metre Cat A office, which became Well certified at gold level, was designed by architects Studio Ben Allen in collaboration with Cundall’s in-house engineers. It earned the distinction based on seven categories of building performance—air, water, light, nourishment, fitness, comfort and mind.
Alan Fogarty, sustainability partner at Cundall, told Lux: ‘We’ve taken the refurbishment of our own London office and used it as an exemplar project, not only for ourselves, but also for our clients and collaborators.
‘We’ve created a living, working example of how the Well Building standard can be applied, without breaking the bank. Our figures show a total uplift in the project costs of £200 per head. We’re now putting in place control measures to see exactly how the Well Building elements will improve staff welfare against our old office. However anecdotal feedback from our staff has confirmed the new office as a great hit.’
Pursuit of Well certification was only a part of the office’s aim to improve employee well-being. A specially developed active green wall, a planted trellis divider and acoustic baffles integrated within the tall shelving units were all elements that reflect Cundall research into acoustics and biophilia, as demonstrated in the specialist green and acoustic laboratories installed within the office.
Cundall engineers have applied Well criteria such as testing and monitoring air and water quality.
Some required preconditions or recommended optimisations of Well were incorporated into the planning of the building, for example changing facilities, showers and cycle racks to facilitate activities like cycling to work. Others are more concerned with day-to-day office life and activities, like weekly yoga classes and access to fresh fruit in the café.
‘We’ve created a living, working example of how the WELL Building standard can be applied, without breaking the bank'
‘The Well Building standard puts people’s well-being at the heart of the building,’ says Fogarty. ‘One thing our design at One Carter Lane has shown quite clearly is that, although sustainability and the standard need to be addressed together and holistically, the two are not always completely compatible. It’s exciting to be able to use our knowledge and expertise in the discussions on how best to combine the well-being of the person and the well-being of the planet in a single design.’
Created through seven years of research and development, working with physicians, scientists, and industry professionals, Well is a performance-based certification system that marries best practices in design and construction with evidence-based medical and scientific research.