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Invest in design to improve health and wellbeing

Sara Harraway and Richard Flisher, Directors at CPMG Architects, look at why investing in green buildings can help to improve productivity

Posted by Lucinda Reid | April 03, 2017 | Sustainability

The concept of green design not only creates spaces that minimise the impact a building has on the environment, but also provides a setting where the experience of end users is fully considered.

CPMG Architects has found that more organisations across all sectors are giving greater priority to the environment in which people operate, allowing them to flourish in those spaces, whether they’re working, learning, living or playing.

Teesside University library

There has been increasing recognition of the impact good design can have, with organisations expecting to motivate others to achieve their best by providing workspaces that aim to optimise their wellbeing.

At CPMG, we engage stakeholders within the initial stages of the design process so that we can create concepts that are fit for purpose and ensure the finished space allows the client’s culture to evolve and thrive.

The culture of an organisation reflects its values, bringing them to life and creating an overall positive experience for everyone. Understanding that people are a vital asset to the overall performance of an organisation is integral to this concept.

CPMG has found there is much more awareness from its clients about the implications of providing a suitable environment for their culture, and are increasingly working on concepts that incorporate the three fundamental elements to deliver this; people, purpose and place.

Providing spaces that are comfortable, practical and suitable for each person is key. For instance, if a student is relaxed in their learning environment, they will be more productive, and less likely to miss days.

Reimagining spaces to bring the outside in is also a growing concept in the architectural and design industry and helps with creating a productive workplace. Biophilic designs link the natural with inside worlds, and many projects incorporate such elements within an interior so people can connect with nature whilst learning.

Natural light is a crucial element, with views of greenery, water and wildlife having the strongest impact. Having no view can lead to lower levels of creativity, and office colour schemes that incorporate accents of green, blue and brown can instigate increased happiness, motivation and creativity than blank white walls. This is true, of course, for all spaces and not just places of work.

Teesside University

One of CPMG’s most recent projects embracing the concept of biophilia is the refurbishment of the library at Teesside University – a facility which has a pivotal role for every student and visitor to the campus. CPMG has reimagined the library to include external landscapes into the design, and incorporated nature into the building.

The first floor of the existing building has been completely reinvented, and now provides a rich variety of group-working and collaborative environments in a way which encourages innovative use and thinking. Interiors were transformed by removing small spaces and introducing large, full-height windows in each corner, flooding the internal space with daylight and offering fantastic views out over the campus.

The human factor of a building is now as important as the bricks and mortar that hold it together. Of course, efficiency and the construction and engineering of a building is fundamental – but today, organisations want to ensure that for people who use the building, health and wellbeing is optimised by providing well-designed facilities that cater for everyone’s needs.

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