Wellness Week 2018 Round-up - WilkinsonEyre Green Group

While sustainability has been incorrectly perceived as how buildings affect just the environment, wellness in architecture is about how buildings affect the people inside them. This is one of the key reasons why health and wellbeing is one of the world’s fastest growing markets; wellness is about people first, it’s about us!

But what does wellness mean? And what is our role as architects and designers in the making of buildings which perform well? How well are we doing? We have started the research from our own office where we have completed a POE, a BUS methodology and a WELL pre-assessment. From here we are developing a wider plan of changes and implementations to improve the health of our staff and create better spaces for our clients.  

In 2017 we introduced an annual Wellness Week, which this year celebrates its second edition. From stress-busting CPDs and healthy lunches to life drawing and early morning yoga classes, we introduced a wide range of activities to the practice to celebrate and assimilate the growing culture of wellness.

Monday 

We had a colourful start to the week with a lunch time CPD led by Ptolemy Mann, a contemporary textile artist and designer renowned for her bold use of colour in architecture and design. Throughout her presentation Ptolemy shared an insight into the basic principles of intelligent colour theory and the psychological benefits that colour can have on our health and wellbeing. 

To accompany the first of our brilliant programme of CPDs we enjoyed a healthy and fresh all staff lunch, encouraging us to spend some time away from our screens.  

Tuesday 

It is widely recognised that yoga has enormous health benefits, from fostering a healthy heart to controlling diabetes and relieving back pain. It’s a brilliant way to keep your mind and body in shape. In keeping ourselves as well as our buildings ‘well’, we held a morning yoga session for all those early risers.  

Later in the day, Kavita Kumari, engineer and wellbeing specialist held a CPD on delivering healthy and sustainable spaces. Kavita works as a consultant on our project, 21 Moorfields, soon to become the Deutsche Bank UK Headquarters. She shared some valuable insights into current and future strategies in creating green, people centred spaces for the building’s future occupants.  

Highlighting the seven principles of WELL, she went on to share her expertise on making existing spaces greener and how implementing WELL strategies from the outset of any new project can have long lasting, positive effects. 

Wednesday 


Or third day of Wellness Week was full to bursting with activities and events. It was another bright and early start with boot camp in the park from 8am.

We had an exciting CPD led by Oliver Heath, exploring his research into fostering and utilising biophilic design. Drawing from his experience as a leading biophilic designer he shared examples of human centred designs which incorporate principles of wellness to improve the quality of our built environment.  

In the evening, we hosted a very special event in collaboration with Green Sky Thinking, ‘Wellness and Architecture’. Mirroring themes touched upon at lunch, the event bought together an eclectic mix of disciplines to discern where we are as an industry in designing and promoting healthy spaces.

Charles Jencks co-founder of Maggie’s, Chris Wilkinson RA, WELL building consultant Julie Godefroy and Dr Edward Edgerton explored aspects of wellness through professional, psychological and academic viewpoints. The event created lively and stimulating debates and was followed by drinks and networking. 

Thursday 

Have you ever stopped to listen to your city? Sound quality has an enormous effect on our mood and wellbeing but is often overlooked as having any tangible health benefits.

Joe Baggaley and Grant Waters from Anderson Acoustics presented a stimulating CPD on shaping our daily soundscapes to improve our quality of life within the urban environment. The session ended with an interactive workshop questioning our perceptions of sound within cities and promoting the integration of sonic solutions to the design process. 

From the everyday noise of our cities to the creative respite of drawing, we shifted gears in the evening where director Chris Wilkinson led a life drawing class. Modelled by the talented Andrew Crawford, we enjoyed a wonderfully calm and reflective session to end the day. We would like to thank our generous sponsors Tarkett, Desso and Cass Art for making the evening possible.

Friday 

Our final day of the week rounded off with a stress-busting CPD led by occupational therapist and in-house masseuse, Rose Kouri. In a notoriously demanding profession, it was refreshing to gain some useful techniques to help us become calmer, reduce stress and enable us to work better.

Finally, on Friday afternoon we hosted a plant SOS drop in session. Where we were encouraged to bring along browning, drooping or wilting desk plants for some expert advice and care, reminding us that wellness isn’t just for humans! 

The week has been an eye opening and hugely rewarding experience. Sparking off ideas, thoughts and lines of practice, it has allowed us as a practice to consider our place in the debate on what it means to be ‘well’.  A huge thank you to our directors for supporting the week, all the brilliant industry professionals who held sessions and to all the staff at WilkinsonEyre who got involved to make it all possible!