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Office wins European-first rating

Jez Abbott
Thursday 17 Jan 2019

UK's The Crown Estate has clocked up a European-first accreditation for an office design that improves the health and wellbeing of its users.

The Crown Estate, a collection of properties belonging to the British crown, achieved the WELL Platinum certification for its head office at St James’s Market, London thanks to creative work by EDGE Architecture and Design.

It is the first office in Europe to gain the certification from the International WELL Building Institute. WELL is a global building standard designed to enhance people’s health and wellness through the built environment. 

Created through seven years of research by leading physicians, scientists and industry professionals, the standard marries best practices in design and construction with evidence-based scientific research.

There are only ten platinum projects globally, including in the US, Australia and China. And while there are currently four WELL certified projects in the UK, three are gold and one is silver, leaving The Crown Estate office the only one to achieve platinum rating.

The Crown Estate earned the distinction based on seven categories of building performance—air, water, light, nourishment, fitness, comfort and mind. These link into a design strategy of ‘active landscapes’ which encourages mobility and wellbeing over both floors. The work spaces have been tailored to employee needs and tasks: some social and collaborative, others quiet and private.

EDGE Architecture and Design worked with The Crown Estate on three so-called principles of progression and professional standing and to to put people at the heart of the business. The result is a WELL workplace environment of the highest performance and certification. 

Other key members of the design team were sustainability consultants Cundall; project managers Buro Four, building services consultants Watkins Payne, and cost consultants Alinea.

EDGE founder and project principal Racheal Cadey said: “EDGE was commissioned to deliver the client’s vision and objectives and enable their headquarters to become a strategic tool that could help transform and futureproof the business. 

“Achieving the highest certifications for health, wellbeing and sustainability were important ambitions in the brief and these required absolute focus, new learnings, rigorous specifications and an innovative use of materials from the whole project team.

“ We are also thrilled that the post-occupancy data is highlighting really positive statistics of how the people love their new space and recognise the positive impact of their new environment on working practices, wellbeing, and productivity.”

Project features that helped The Crown Estate achieve its Platinum WELL Certification include: procurement of catering to ensure we are delivering a healthy variety of meals for staff; internal green walls and planting to promote biophilia, as well as moss on the walls to control acoustics; filtered water available at various locations to ensure hydration; and the selection and procurement of furniture, fixture and finishes (eg paints, chairs, etc) with low volatile organic compounds (VOC) content to maintain healthy indoor air quality levels.

Judith Everett, chief operating officer at The Crown Estate said: “When we moved to our new offices we wanted to deliver the very best environment and this accreditation shows we achieved that. The WELL standard has changed the way we, as an industry, think about how we can have a positive impact on the people who work in our buildings.”

Rick Fedrizzi, chairman the International WELL Building Institute added: “The Crown Estate headquarters joins a select group of industry leaders worldwide committed to delivering the very best in buildings that advance human health.”

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