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Saturday 22 July 2017
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05 Jul 2017
Wellness Architecture Initiative hosts inaugural roundtable

Wellness continues to infiltrate industries and disciplines, and now is gaining traction in the architecture, engineering, and construction fields.

With spa and wellness clients searching for authenticity in their experiences, it stands to reason that they are going to start looking deeper than the service menu or room décor. Millennials, especially, are seeking businesses that demonstrate a commitment to myriad social issues, including the environment, sustainable business practices, and the creation of healthy work environments.

Last week, the Global Wellness Institute’s Wellness Architecture Initiative held its first global roundtable discussion at the headquarters of architecture, furniture and technology company Steelcase in New York City, which was attended by several dozen architects and designers from far-flung locales.

Initiative chair Veronica Schreibeis Smith, CEO and founding principal of US-based Vera Iconica Design, created an agenda that looked at the shifts in demand for wellness design, what meaningful results we’re seeing in enhancing health and wellbeing through design, and how the industry can move the conversation forward.

The roundtable discussion was made up of 15 participants, all experts in some aspect of architecture, engineering or design, and was moderated by Smith.

Many architects and engineers are thinking about ways to design and create buildings that make wellness more accessible to the mainstream, and there is already a quantity of research and information available to share.

Panel participants reported that clients today are increasingly interested in incorporating biophilic design principles and green walls, and there is a growing awareness of indoor air quality, awareness of light and its effect on people, and the need to avoid electromagnetic radiation. One designer commented, “We forget how much influence we have with every client and community contact where there is engagement.”

Businesses are starting to think holistically, across functions and industry, in both the public and private sector. From mayors of cities to parents of special-needs children, the number of inquiries into wellness design is increasing, the panel agreed.

From a financial standpoint, businesses are starting to see that environments created with wellness in mind are a way to differentiate themselves – as well as a way to increase ROI by keeping tenants longer.

But there was consensus that there is still some way to go to make the economics work, and a need to translate awareness of the opportunity into a widespread commitment. Government and regulatory bodies need to become involved, the panel agreed – the fact that wellness makes us feel good isn’t compelling enough to create regulations.

However, progress is being made; in the US, Fannie Mae, one of the biggest government-lending housing agencies, just launched its Healthy Housing Rewards initiative, which provides a financial incentive for healthy design features in newly constructed affordable rental properties. The first phase provides a pricing break for borrowers who incorporate design features that improve air quality, encourage physical activity, and incorporate common space, community gardens and playgrounds into their projects.

Panel participants explored how to elevate the conversations about emotional and spiritual aspects of wellness in design, which for now is mostly the realm of academic research. The key seems to be measurement; with organisations like Steelcase and Delos starting to measure social interactions and outcomes in wellness-designed spaces, there will be more support for the concept of wellness design as more data becomes available. Wearable technology can measure people’s reactions to wellness design by measuring heart rate or skin response, and seeing positive outcomes in places like hospitals and prisons with intentional design will also help the cause.

The roundtable also included individual presentations from Sally Augustin, PhD and principal of Design With Science, a firm that conducts studies and uses research to guide design principles; Paula Baker LaPorte, FAIA, a founder of EcoNest Homes, a designer and builder of natural and non-toxic structures; and James Brewer, workspace consultant at Steelcase, who showed a comparison of LEED, Fitwel, Well Building, and the Living Building Challenge – four of the current leaders in wellness architecture guidelines.

The afternoon was spent in several workshops, with all of the attendees gathering into groups to discuss topics such as defining wellness architecture, measuring and metrics, and identifying other industries that can positively influence wellness architecture.





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14 Jul 2017
Disney reveals scale model of new Star Wars lands at D23
Disney has offered its most in-depth look at its upcoming Star Wars Land yet, unveiling a scale model of the attraction ahead of the D23 fan expo taking place this weekend in Anaheim, California.
12 Jul 2017
IOC: 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games hosts will be named at the same time
Both the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games will be awarded to their respective hosts at the same time in an unprecedented move announced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
04 Jul 2017
Welltodo Summit to explore the business of wellness
The first Welltodo Summit is set to take place on 13 July, bringing together business leaders, industry experts, investors and founders of the world’s leading wellness brands with an aim to help attendees find new ways to succeed in the global wellness industry.
28 Jun 2017
Green Spa Network’s 2018 Congress to take place in March
The Green Spa Network will hold its next Congress from 11-14 March, 2018, at the Carmel Valley Ranch in California. This marks a shift in timing for the Congress, which has historically been held in the autumn.
27 Jun 2017
LA 2024 bid recruits 10,000-plus volunteers
More than 10,000 people have signed up to volunteer at the Los Angeles 2024 Olympic Games, should the city be successful in its bid to host.
26 Jun 2017
Birmingham unveils indoor venues for Commonwealth Games bid
The National Exhibition Centre (NEC) will be one of four indoor arenas at the heart of Birmingham’s bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
19 Jun 2017
Liverpool plans new facilities for Commonwealth Games bid
New facilities including the stadium being planned for Premier League football club Everton FC and a proposed 50 metre swimming pool are at the heart of Liverpool’s bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
15 Jun 2017
AAE 2017: Holovis debuts new robotic VR experience
Holovis has debuted a new virtual reality ride at this year’s Asian Attractions Expo, combining interactive VR with a robotic arm to create a virtual flying taxi ride through Singapore.
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Diary dates
08-30 Jul 2017
Dynamic Reformer Course
Ten Health & Fitness Hatton Garden
London
United Kingdom
21-22 Jul 2017
Live Love Spa: Miami
Miami
United States
24-24 Jul 2017
Live Love Spa: Atlanta
Atlanta
United States
31 Jul - 01 Aug 2017
Live Love Spa: Dallas
Dallas
United States
01-04 Aug 2017
IHRSA Institute
Rizzo Conference Center
Chapel Hill
United States
07-08 Aug 2017
Live Love Spa: Scottsdale
Scottsdale
United States
11-13 Aug 2017
China (Zhongshan) International Games & Amusement Fair
Zhongshan Convention Center
Zhongshan
China
14-15 Aug 2017
Live Love Spa: Chicago
Chicago
United States
24 Aug 2017
Leisure Industry Communication and Marketing Awards
ANZ Stadium
Sydney
Australia
28-29 Aug 2017
Live Love Spa: Cancun
Playa del Carmen
Mexico
31 Aug - 02 Sep 2017
18th Annual IHRSA / Fitness Brasil Latin American Conference & Trade Show
Transamerica Expo Center
Sao Paulo
Brazil
03 Sep 2017
Soccerex Football Festival
Manchester Central Convention Complex
Manchester
United Kingdom
03-04 Sep 2017
Professional Beauty Johannesburg
Gallagher Convention Centre
Johannesburg
South Africa
04-06 Sep 2017
Soccerex Global Convention
Manchester Central Convention Complex
Manchester
United Kingdom
more diary dates
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