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What is Wellness? What is WELL v2?

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

In this article, I define what Wellness means to me, why it is important to spaces, how it is measured and the future of wellness in design.

I will also give an introduction to WELL v2 and why it serves as the basis for Studio Cloud Nine.

“I believe that everyone has the right to live in healthy dwelling spaces, regardless of their income level, and especially during these times of COVID and quarantine.”

What is Wellness?

Wellness is an all-encompassing term that refers to one’s overall positive health due to physical, emotional, biological, mental and environmental factors. It often infers positive attributes such as productivity, feeling healthy and the ability to mitigate stressors of the aforementioned factors.

Why is wellness important to spaces?

Wellness is important to spaces because it impacts our species as a whole. In the context of studio cloud nine, we specifically look at how we can use design and the built environment to create a new environment that supports healthy living in our daily lives. A poorly designed space will negatively affect the various systems in the body, thereby making you sick more often.

What is WELL v2? What is the history of it? Where is it used?

WELL is a health and well-being rating system for buildings created by the International Well Building Institute (IWBI) back in 2007 but was officially launched in 2014. Under the involvement and evaluation of various stakeholders ranging from “leading scientists, practitioners from the building industry and physicians from leading medical institutions” (WellCertified, 2020), each of its 100+ featured credits (or Features) is heavily based on science and supported by empirical evidence, the primary reason which drew me to WELL.

Originally intended for workplace interiors, WELL eventually expanded in its application to various project types. Version 1 of WELL rated spaces across 7 concepts, however it was amended into 10 concepts under Version 2 which now includes: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind, Community. For more information on each concepts’ primary intent, please see the Philosophy section.

How is Wellness measured in spaces?

For Studio Cloud Nine, we reference the WELL Building Standard v2 heavily, but we've adapted it for residential design. To measure Wellness for your space, we need to obtain a few data points to better inform and empirically support our design response. Some of the data that will be collected include indoor Air quality, Water quality, Light Levels, Thermal comfortability, and Sound to even how your space impacts your Nourishment choices, Movement levels and overall sleep quality. To find out more about our services, please book a Zoom meeting with us via our Service section page.

What is the future of Wellness in the architecture industry?

Wellness will become more prevalent in our social consciousness. With the world dramatically changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home and physical distancing has become the new norm. In Ontario for example, you can already see people migrating from the city and buying homes in the suburbs to get more physical space. Living and working from home for long periods of time in health and comfort through all the seasons will thus become even more of a priority in the near future, if not already.

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