‘WELL’ness in the workplace: the building with a nutritional label

A brand new office development in Slough has become the first building in the UK to achieve a global, healthy ‘WELL’ building rating.

Grounded in medical research, the WELL Building Standard is an international, performance-based assessment methodology that focuses on human health and wellbeing in the built environment. With ‘wellness in the workplace’ becoming a major factor for designers, architects and for those who work in built environments, the WELL Standard has become a key marker of new office designs.

© Andy Stagg

In both the US and the UK, major office developments which are currently under construction are registered for the rating. However, the Porter Building in Slough has recently become the first building in the UK to achieve the WELL Core and Shell certification with a Gold rating – the second highest rating possible.

Launched in November 2017, the Porter Building was designed by tp bennett, and was developed with occupiers’ wellbeing in mind. Maximising wellbeing has included creating an abundance of natural light; allowing fresh air into the space; providing filtrated drinking water and healthy eating options; adding indoor planting and noise reduction measures; and creating a layout that encourages movement around the workplace.

© Andy Stagg

A range of studies has shown that focusing on workplace wellbeing has a remarkably positive impact on productivity. The WELL Building Standard certification that the Porter Building has received acts almost like a ‘nutritional label’, outlining the ingredients that prove the 120,000 square foot development is one of the UK’s healthiest office buildings.

Located directly opposite Slough Station, the Porter Building features a double height reception and two restaurant/cafes that spill out onto the pavement, providing outdoor seating for occupants. Meanwhile, on the 5th floor of the building, a 2,000 square foot communal roof terraces offers views over Slough town centre and the surrounding countryside, giving occupiers a space to collaborate and socialise in the fresh air.

Downstairs, the Porter Building offers 100 spaces in their car park, including 10 electric vehicle charging points. Continuing on the ‘wellness’ theme, there are also 100 secure bicycle spaces - as well as showers and lockers - for workers who wish to ride or run to work, allowing them to securely put away their kit when not in use.

“We are really pleased to have helped design and deliver the first commercial office building in the UK to achieve WELL Building Standard certification. It is a huge achievement for the client and team, and sets a precedent for future office design,” Principal Director at tp bennett, David Blair mentions.

© Andy Stagg

“Staff wellbeing and productivity are at the heart of our design concept and the most up to date research has informed our design at every stage, resulting in a workspace that is open, connected and flexible, for the modern occupier,” he continues. “The new premises are elegant and contemporary,” while using materials that reflect the history of the area, complementing the adjacent rail station and listed church building.”

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