Vera Iconica Architecture is moving its headquarters! Learn about what health and wellbeing strategies we implemented, and what remains on our Wellbeing Wish List.
When Opportunity Arises
With our unique specialty in Wellness Architecture, our passionate team jumped at the bit to hash out ideas to infuse our new office with methods and products that increase human health and wellbeing. Like many of our Workplace Wellness clients, the project was a tenant fit-out where we had to select appropriate strategies for the existing conditions. We found some methods easy to implement, and others cost prohibitive. Below, we share what made it in the design and what is still on our wish list.
Instead of keeping the pink fiberglass insulation that existed in the space, our team unanimously decided to specify 100% wool insulation as its replacement. Havelock Wool helped us make this vision a reality.
No VOC Paint & Sealant
We know that Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) cause both environmental issues including breaking down the Ozone as well as human health issues, particularly related to asthma and allergies. The good news is there are many low or no-VOC options on the market today. We chose:
- For the walls, we specified Sherwin William’s ProMar 200 Zero-VOC Paint (a Builder’s Line)
- For the concrete floors, we specified the Acri-Soy concrete sealer, also a Zero-VOC, non-toxic, water-based mixture of solvent-free resins and renewably sourced bio-based emulsions.
- Finally, for wood walls, we chose to leave these in their unfinished state to age naturally over time. This decision eliminates the use of a chemical-based sealer (Note: “No VOC” does not indicate that a product is free of toxins.)
Regulated EMF Pollution & Exposure
All computers & telephones in our new office are hardwired to prevent unnecessary EMF where we can.
Nature & Natural Materials
Natural wood surfaces support healthy stress responses and encourage the sense of calm. Our sculptural conference room is made entirely from hemlock wood with the use of traditional joinery instead of fasteners or glues!
Also, each employee benefits from the use of a customized standing desk made only of wood & steel. The standing style encourages movement throughout the day, promoting better health and alertness.
Variety of Work Areas & Styles
We have combined the benefits of open and closed office layouts by providing smaller gallery spaces with open workstations, small library niches, small group work rooms, a conference room, and an open collaborative space with moveable walls and pin-up boards complete with couches and mobile workstation “touch-downs”. When it comes to workplace wellness design, environmental psychology has a huge role. Environmental psychology studies the relationships between human behavior and experience and the built environment. The goals of our design is to create an environment where people are happier, more productive, and engaged. When individuals have both a designated territory to claim as their home, as well as choices of where and how to work by themselves or with others throughout the course of the day, they can self-regulate and find the environment that supports the task(s) at hand.
Plants to Bring in Nature
The presence of nature improves health & state of mind and acts as a natural air purification powerhouse. Each employee has personalized plants at their station. Throughout the office, we have integrated a variety of plants ranging from trees that define space and add privacy, to flowers, and air plant artwork!
Plaster for Purification
Natural clay plaster has amazing benefits. For example, it regulates humidity, releases negative ions, and combines with air-born pollutants such as formaldehyde at a molecular level to purify the air.
Wellness Wish List
Working with both existing conditions and our budget, there were some wellness strategies that are still on the top of our future Wellness Wish List:
- Operable Windows
- Better Acoustics
- Increased Views and Natural Daylight from all Spaces
- In-Floor Heat and natural ventilation as opposed to a forced air system
- More Plaster to eliminate all chemically based products
- Water Feature for ambiance and white noise
- EMF Protection and isolation zones
We welcome any questions and are happy to provide tours of the space. Please contact Blair at [email protected] if you are interested.