I+D Magazine spoke with HOK Vice President and Toronto Practice Leader Genny Rose about how companies like TD Bank are implementing the WELL Building Standard and reimagining their workplaces with wellness in mind.
Excerpted from I+D Magazine:
Backed by a substantial body of research, WELL addresses a broad range of issues, including air and water quality, corporate policies for promoting health and such building attributes as natural lighting, prominent stairwells and acoustic control.
Designers who are familiar with current workplace design will find considerable overlap in WELL. “The way corporate design is going right now, everyone is getting rid of private offices,” says Rose. “Part of WELL is that everyone has access to natural light, so that’s very easy to incorporate.”
However, [for TD Bank’s WELL-certified floor in Toronto’s TD Bank Tower] the HOK design team had to address new technical challenges, including how to boost the amount of fresh air and increase the degree of water filtration. The designers also made sure that all the artwork in the 25,000-sq.-ft. space had representations of nature, and added a “tranquility room” for napping and meditation. Several employees have created a culture that supports the design, organizing walking meetings, a monthly speaker series on wellness, and Fitbit challenges.
While designers incorporating WELL do shoulder another set of specifications, the certification process prioritizes the end-user in an intuitive way.
“WELL really reinforces the way a designer should design. I think it is the most beneficial way of designing for your client and their employees,” notes HOK’s Rose. “It empowers the individuals who are going to occupy those spaces and they are the ones who continue to be the champions of that space.”