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The Journey of Designing WELL: Part I

16 September 2016

Arup, an award-winning global design and consulting firm in the built environment, initially approached Dyer Brown in the fall of 2015 to conduct a fit plan in their new downtown Boston location.  Our unique skillset, ability to execute their team’s vision and seamless dialogue between the two teams gave Arup confidence that we were the right team to design their new 16,333 SF Boston office at 60 State Street.

As a practice that promotes people-centered design and social sustainability within their core values, it was important that Arup’s new Boston office practices what they preach. With a goal of LEED v4 Platinum and WELL Building Silver certification, we were excited to take this journey and hope to complete one of the first WELL-certified spaces in the Boston area. Our team is complemented with many experts in sustainable and wellness design, including Arup’s in-house WELL accredited professionals, lighting designers, commissioning agent, acoustic consultants and structural engineers. The team is further complimented by our consultants, Soden Sustainability Consulting, Commercial Construction Consulting (C3), and TNZ Energy Consulting. We’ve also worked with the building landlord, Oxford Properties, General Contractor, Corderman Construction and Furniture Vendor, Officeworks to facilitate an integrated design process prior to construction.

As we near completion of the design phase of the project, there were many lessons learned during planning and design that will help us meet our sustainability goals:

Energy Optimization: Realizing that energy optimization will help us meet our goals for both LEED and WELL certification, the team was able to work with the building landlord to incorporate a new HVAC system into the design for more efficient air distribution.

Finishes & Furniture:  The team is working hard to obtain product documentation paperwork from all finish and furniture manufacturers.  The LEED v4 Materials and Resources Credits were developed to encourage transparency in product declaration and production.  These are challenging to achieve as the industry works to meet these new requirements.

Location: The building that Arup chose in downtown Boston helps achieve LEED/WELL credits due to its close proximity to public transit and the inclusion of various amenities such as bike parking and showers within Arup’s suite.

Lighting and Views: The open floorplan allows for maximum daylighting so all employees can access the beautiful views of the city landscape.  In addition, the team chose a circadian lighting system that automatically adjusts brightness and color throughout the course of the day to replicate the natural rhythms of the sun.

Stay tuned for another update in a few months to see how our sustainable design decisions are being implemented into the construction of the project. You can read more about how Arup’s office design is evolving with health in mind here.

Post authored by Jen Taylor LEED GA, Senior Project Manager at Dyer Brown Architects in Boston.

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