The New World Priorities for Building Interiors
by Tim Evans, Managing Director, Allied
Gone are the days when a building was judged solely on its beauty. The rapid introduction of new regulations, standards, certifications and accreditations in today’s world prove that we now care about much more than aesthetics. Architects are challenged more than ever before. Building performance means as much, if not more, than a striking façade or a shape that appears to be a feat of engineering.
When did you last see a building win an architectural award without it already having a sustainable certification or its social impact being highlighted?
Building performance has been a term recognised for many years but more recently, we have begun considering building impact. The natural environment was the initial focus, looking at how our buildings and the materials we use to create them will affect the future of our planet. Then came the more direct and current human impact, or rather, occupant comfort and wellbeing. These human factors have been a growing consideration for architects and building engineers for at least the last five years but then, almost overnight, they became a key element for building design. Now, in a world where Covid-19 exists, building performance and impact is at the top of every architects agenda.
The worlds of architecture and interior design for communal spaces are now focused on the health, wellbeing and safety of the users, whilst the International WELL Building Institute, which has the objective of advancing health, human experience and wellbeing in buildings through design, has seen a rapid growth in registrations and overall awareness.
At Allied, we share a vision with the International WELL Building Institute: we focus our attention more on the occupants of a building than the buildings themselves. We believe, that a building’s interior and the products that create it are how you put people first, by making choices based on performance and impact rather than purely aesthetics. We give preference to suppliers of products that are tried and tested, and their performance third party independently tested and certified.
“It’s refreshing to see a company like Allied focusing their efforts on the occupant’s experience and their wellbeing, as opposed to purely a building’s aesthetics” says Ann Marie Aguilar, Senior Vice President; EMEA Region, International WELL Building Institute. “With the ongoing pandemic, I foresee an urgent need for more businesses to accelerate their thinking around occupant satisfaction to provide us with confidence when returning to the spaces we share.”
We have all seen and experienced many examples in the recent months of building owners and managers reacting to the stresses and strains of the pandemic by introducing temporary distancing and hygiene measures that haven’t stood the test of time. But now, most realise that there is a need to demonstrate to a shaken population, that their health is a central consideration of the organisations who own, operate and manage the spaces they need to re-occupy, thus rebuilding the economy as a result.
Interior products contribute to significant wellbeing issues such as lighting, noise and space. If you get the products and performance combination right, your building occupants will be content and naturally, more productive, inclined to stay longer or have higher propensity to spend, whatever the objective, depending on the building use. A solid return on your client’s investment.
Allied are committed to educating and supporting all our staff, sub-contractors and suppliers on the WELL Building Standard and how to achieve optimum performance for wellbeing so that we may share this with our clients, and work with them to deliver projects that not only meet, but exceed the expectations of everyone, including the user.