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Sunday 20 May 2018
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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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16 May 2018
Wellness for Cancer hosts second roundtable at Mayo Clinic
Attendees at the second Wellness For Cancer roundtable last week identified steps to take to move the spa industry forward in treating guests who have – or have had – cancer.
15 May 2018
Global Wellness Day 2018 to focus on kids’ wellness
Global Wellness Day – an international celebration offering a range of free health and wellness activities to the public – will be celebrated this year in more than 4,000 locations in 100 countries on 9 June.
15 May 2018
National Fitness Day 2018 to celebrate local 'fitness heroes'
This year's National Fitness Day (NFD) will look to celebrate the most inspiring fitness individuals in communities across the UK.
09 May 2018
Wellness designer Clodagh to speak at GWS
Multi-disciplinary designer Clodagh, whose recent projects include the Six Senses Douro Valley and the reopened Six Senses Kaplankaya, will share her vision for truly integrated wellness design with conference delegates at the Global Wellness Summit in Italy this October.
08 May 2018
London Stadium to host Europe's first ever MLB game in 2019
Major League Baseball (MLB) will be making its European debut next year, when the London Stadium will host two regular season games between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.
08 May 2018
Venue plans completed for Tokyo 2020 Olympics
The Tokyo Organising Committee for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games (TOCOPG), has finalised its plans for the venues for the Games.
08 May 2018
Breaking: Jeremy Hunt to headline ukactive National Summit 2018
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt will be the headline speaker at the ukactive’s National Summit 2018.
03 May 2018
ukactive Awards finalists revealed
The finalists for this year's ukactive Awards have been revealed. The 2018 award categories have been divided into three groups – business excellence, specialist impact and individual achievement – and in total winners will be announced in 11 categories. Replacing the Flame Awards, this year's edition will feature an expanded Leisure Centre Operator of the Year award, which covers any club or centre – from independents, studios and boutiques to budget gyms, local authority centres and clubs that are part of a nationwide chain.
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Diary dates
24 Apr - 26 Nov 2018
MAPIC Russia
Expocentre
Moscow
Russia
20-21 May 2018
Professional Beauty Durban
Greyville Convention Centre
Durban
South Africa
20-23 May 2018
SPATEC Spring North America
Ritz Carlton Sarasota
Sarasota
United States
21-22 May 2018
Total Supply Chain Summit
Heythrop Park Resort
Enstone
United Kingdom
21-22 May 2018
World Spa & Wellness Asia
JW Marriott Resort & Spa
Phuket
Thailand
23-24 May 2018
SIBEC UK
tbc
tbc
United Kingdom
23-24 May 2018
MAPIC Italy
MiCo Milano Congressi
Milan
Italy
23-24 May 2018
MAPIC Food and Beverage
MiCo Milano Congressi
Milan
Italy
23-25 May 2018
23rd Annual ESPA Congress
Various
Domburg
Netherlands
30-31 May 2018
Vision for Cardiff Bay & Heritage
The Exchange Hotel
Cardiff
United Kingdom
04-05 Jun 2018
Hotel Summit
Radisson Blu Hotel
Stansted
United Kingdom
04-05 Jun 2018
Professional Beauty Delhi
Pragati Maidan
Delhi
India
05-08 Jun 2018
IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo 2018
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Hong Kong
Hong Kong SAR
06-08 Jun 2018
HI Design Europe: Hotel Interior Design: The Decision Makers' Forum
Andel’s by Vienna House Hotel
Berlin
Germany
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