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Friday 17 November 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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17 Nov 2017
IAAPA 2017: Brass Ring winners announced
IAAPA has announced its winners for this year’s Brass Ring Awards, recognising a number of companies at the annual IAAPA expo for their achievements in excellence across different parts of the industry.
15 Nov 2017
ESPA spa at Gleneagles named ‘best in the UK’
The Spa at Gleneagles by ESPA has been named the best UK spa at this year’s 2017 Good Spa Guide Awards.
14 Nov 2017
IAAPA 2017: Four join prestigious Hall of Fame at Opening Ceremony
IAAPA has welcomed four new members into its prestigious Hall of Fame, with Puy du Fou’s Phillipe De Villiers, Give Kids the World Village’s Pamela and Henry Landwirth, and music composer Richard Sherman all named in this year’s class of inductees.
09 Nov 2017
Russian Spa Congress shows market potential
Last week, almost 250 spa professionals gathered in the Caucasus thermal springs region of Russia for the 4th annual Spa & Wellness International Congress, or SWIC.
08 Nov 2017
Emotional healing, self-development, retreats: Photi reveals trends to watch in wellness travel
The wellness travel market will continue the dramatic change seen over the past 10 years, according to Stella Photi, founder of Wellbeing Holidays.
06 Nov 2017
IAAF plans clearer world rankings system and heritage department to boost participation
The qualifications system for the athletics World Championships and the Olympic Games will be redesigned in an effort to make the sport clearer and increase participation at all levels.
01 Nov 2017
Future of wellness travel to dominate WTS agenda
The future of wellness travel and how to gain a competitive edge within the booming sector will feature heavily at this year’s Wellness Travel Symposium (WTS).
31 Oct 2017
Founder of Spabreaks.com named finalist for inaugural female travel awards
Abi Wright, the co-founder and managing director of Spabreaks.com, has been named as a finalist at the inaugural everywoman in Travel Awards.
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Diary dates
13-17 Nov 2017
Cosmoprof Asia Hong Kong
Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre
Hong Kong SAR
13-17 Nov 2017
IAAPA Attractions Expo 2017
Orange County Convention Center
Orlando
United States
15-17 Nov 2017
World Architecture Festival
Arena Berlin
Berlin
Germany
15-17 Nov 2017
MAPIC 2017
Palais des Festivals
Cannes
France
16-17 Nov 2017
Museums Association Conference and Exhibition
Manchester Central Convention Complex
Manchester
United Kingdom
17-19 Nov 2017
SpaCE (Spas of Central Europe) Show
Radenci Spa & Health Resort
Radenci
Slovenia
18 Nov 2017
Undergraduate Open Day
Bucks New University
High Wycombe
United Kingdom
20 Nov 2017
Awards for Hospitality Experience and Design (AHEAD) - EUROPE
Park Plaza
London
United Kingdom
20-21 Nov 2017
Destinations & Travel Management Summit
Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted
Stansted
United Kingdom
21-22 Nov 2017
Sleep: The Hotel Design Event
The Business Design Centre
London
United Kingdom
22 Nov 2017
Postgraduate & Professional Open Evening
Bucks New University
High Wycombe
United Kingdom
23 Nov 2017
Beautyworld Middle East Roadshow to Nigeria
Sheraton Hotel
Lagos
Nigeria
23-24 Nov 2017
European Health Prevention Day
Chamber of Commerce (IHK)
Wiesbaden
Germany
27 Nov 2017
Leisure, FEC and Indoor Play Trade Exhibition
Drayton Manor Hotel
Tamworth
United Kingdom
more diary dates
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