Twenty-two Bishopsgate is set to become one of the country's best known addresses. It will be home to London’s tallest skyscraper and the first fully certified WELL building in Britain.
It's developers hope not only to create a building that systematically protects and enhances the health of those working within it but to blaze a trail for 'active design' in London. If they get it right - and there are dozens of others watching from the wings - it could revolutionise workplace health in Britain.
The sixty-two storey skyscraper, due to open in 2019, will be the UK's first building to be built from the bottom up to meet the rigours of the new WELL building standard. To achieve this, it will need to meet requirements across seven areas: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. Each category is scored out of 10 and, depending on the total achieved, silver, gold or platinum certification is awarded.
The initial designs for 22 Bishopsgate suggest it will win a platinum rating. Not only will this give prospective tenants a fillip in the area of Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) and an edge on recruitment, it could also reduce health insurance costs and boost staff productivity.
Ann Marie Aguilar, International Client Relationship Representative for the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), said the developer - Lipton Rogers - was determined to put tenant health at the heart of the project.
“They felt that the workplace should offer people better nutrition and healthier choices, an opportunity to exercise while at work, and the best in terms of ventilation requirements, lighting, and access to daylight", she said.
The tower will house some 12,000 people from between 10 and 15 tenants and has been described as a “vertical village”. Over 100,000 sq ft of amenity space will be permanently provided by the developer. This includes healthy food outlets and restaurants, exercise areas, meditation areas, co-working places and a range of other healthy features are baked into the building permanently and not subject to the whim of future tenants. There will also be a "climbing window" where workers can enjoy London’s scenery while climbing the fully transparent wall on their breaks.
Twenty-two Bishopsgate is part of a growing trend in building design. Google’s new London HQ, designed by Olympic Cauldron architects Heatherwick Studios and Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), also promises a masterclass in ‘active design’. A vast diagonal staircase will slice through the building's eleven stories to encourage face-to-face interaction and constant physical movement among the 7,000 Googlers to be based there. There’s a 25 metre swimming pool, a 200 metre rooftop running track, and a sports hall. Massage rooms, meditative gardens and lactation rooms will further protect and boost employee health, mental as well as physical.
What’s driving this change? There are a number of factors at play but most significant is the rise of long term conditions (LTCs) such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease amoung white collar workers and mounting evidence that the modern office is a large part of the problem.
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