Health and Wellbeing in buildings
BuroHappold Engineering cares about designing quality workplaces; healthier environments foster happier occupants who are more productive for the businesses for which they work.
However, how do we quantify this? Following on from Neil Billett’s contribution to the Green Building Council’s Landmark report, Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices, BuroHappold hosted a daylong seminar in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and the Feel Good Foundation, bringing together engineers, architects, contractors and academics, to discuss progress in this exciting field.
The opening address was delivered by Sophie Smith and Laura Kudrna from the LSE who explained the definition of wellbeing as the difference between how you feel minute to minute and how you evaluate your life overall. Following on, Prof. Derek Clements-Croome, from the University of Reading and the Feeling Good Foundation, provided a detailed overview of research into the links between buildings and productivity, including a look towards future research directions. Other highlights included Richard Francis and Chris Pottage presenting the work they’ve done with the World Green Building Council with a sharp view of the commercial benefits of wellbeing for the property market. Isaac Jamieson’s comprehensive review of the effects of biophilia demonstrated that green spaces really do matter. Two of BuroHappold’s researchers also presented; Jamie Anderson about his work on measuring wellbeing impacts at the community level, and Trevor Keeling about his work on environmental conditions in offices.
The afternoon was more focused on wellbeing in practice. Mike Loosemore of UCL presented his findings on active environments: he questioned whether it’s more effective to spend money on encouraging inactive people to walk more than it is subsidising sports facilities that benefit the already active. Dr Bridget Juniper from Work and Well-Being presented a case study of the practical design interventions that can improve the work experience at a call centre which included better break areas, better parking and more tea trolleys! To round off the day, Elina Grigoriou of the Feeling Good Foundation provided an insight into how interior designers approach wellbeing.
The seminar was a great success, bringing together a mixture of academics and practitioners and providing a forum for lively debate at the end about what the next steps are for wellbeing in the construction industry.
The event was put on in partnership with the Feeling Good Foundation and CIBSE Intelligent Building Group. Click to read the World Green Building Council report Health, wellbeing and productivity in offices.