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18 VIEWS


© Peter Savage The outside inside


Healthy living is a consideration we always take into account when designing buildings at gpad. As an example, One Cathedral Square in Bristol was a tired office building we transformed. It now has huge amounts of natural light, spacious reception areas and internal terracing to encourage movement. Further than that, there are showers, changing areas and enough storage for 50 bicycles.


The centrepiece is a naturally lit atrium, surrounded by large, open floorplates. This is also home to a vast living wall extending 13 metres high. It offers an impressive, lush focal point, and draws the eye upwards into the atrium. This naturally connects the building users to the outside and blends the boundaries between outside and inside.


Biophilic design


Research shows that biophilic design can be powerfully beneficial on productivity and wellbeing by lowering stress levels. The CBRE’s 2016 report ‘The Snowball Effects of Healthy Offices’, suggested that exposure to nature murals and live – or artificial – plants resulted in people perceiving their


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performance to be 10 per cent better. 65 per cent said they felt healthier, 76 per cent more energised and 78 per cent happier. Floor-to-ceiling glazing is clearly benefitting workers on the upper levels at One Cathedral Square. It gives stimulating views across the foyer and the natural wall, as well as maximising the natural light entering the space. While the greenery is a statement, it is also a calming natural backdrop allowing relief away from the desk and screen.


Conclusion


Research shows how good design is a tangible way to improve happiness and productivity – Competing budgets, such as training; management development and benefits have a more easily quantifiable, reliable return on investment, which complicates things. We need to find ways to show exactly by how much good design helps. Studies such as Bill Browning’s ‘The Economics of Biophilia’ (2015) already show how relatively small investments incorporating biophilic design in workspaces can significantly reduce company costs by


Making the physical workplace more appealing to workers is beneficial to developers and agents alike. There are numerous ways to achieve this; some offices install anything from bars and cafes to slides and mini golf


minimising absenteeism and savings in healthcare costs.


Inspiring spaces can make a major difference to worker health, happiness and productivity. Designing workspace today is also about creating an environment that can evolve as our working methods evolve. It’s about constantly striving for the best possible environments for wellbeing, while future proofing the spaces we’re creating.


Charles Bettes is managing director of gpad


ADF JUNE 2019


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