Cundall office achieves WELL Building Standard Gold

19 August 2020

Cundall’s Birmingham office has achieved Well Building Standard® Gold Certification from the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), making it the second in the Midlands and the first in the city centre to achieve this prestigious accreditation.

Following the fitout and refurbishment of their office space at 15 Colmore Row in Birmingham’s Business District, Cundall received official notification of WELL Building Standard Gold certification this week. WELL is the leading tool for advancing health and wellbeing in buildings globally, it is grounded in a body of medical research that explores how buildings impact upon their occupants.

To achieve certification, Cundall collaborated with architect Studio Ben Allen to refurbish the existing office space. The design principles had to comply with WELL Building Standard requirements to consider aspects of the built environment such as air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.

Managing Partner of Cundall’s Birmingham office, Robert van Zyl commented:

“The news that we have received WELL Gold certification is a tremendous achievement for our team. The redesign of our own office is a project we are all very proud of, we knew from the start that we wanted to achieve WELL certification and made the wellbeing of our staff a priority throughout the design process.

“Having a WELL designed office like this will make our return to the office following the Covid-19 lockdown easier, because the fitout is designed with the health and wellbeing of staff in mind. For example, many of the fittings in the office are made out of brass which has anti-microbial properties, and the wash basins have been designed to facilitate better handwashing practices; this demonstrates how focusing on our staff through the WELL Building Standard, has delivered positive outcomes for our business.”

In addition to the WELL Building Standard requirements, the design team had to consider both the existing services solutions and the additional office space which had been acquired. Principles of a circular economy were also employed to conserve materials and minimise embodied carbon, and existing lights and fan coil units from the original office fit-out were re-purposed and utilised in the newly designed office.

Engineered by Cundall, Studio Ben Allen designed a timber staircase to link the two-storey office. The striking spiral staircase not only physically connects the two floors, but also creates a strong visual signifier for the unification and collaboration between the two levels. It also promotes the health and wellbeing agenda by encouraging physical activity in the workplace.

Biophilia was also a key feature of the design, and planting is integrated with the structural aspects of the office to help create areas of refuge and give identity to the spaces.

Architect, Ben Allen from Studio Ben Allen commented:

“We have designed several of Cundall’s offices around the globe, and the Birmingham office encapsulates the distinctive sustainable design that runs through the other offices, whilst also accommodating the unique needs of the Birmingham team. The design provides a dynamic and creative space for the design teams to work, whilst the innovative use of natural materials is used to reinforce the strong focus on health and wellbeing in line with the WELL building standard.”

Cundall took the 7,000 sq. ft fourth floor of 15 Colmore Row in 2014, believing the new office would provide sufficient space for five years of growth. Within 18 months, the practice was outgrowing the office, with staff desks creeping into breakout and meeting areas, and new premises were sought. When the floor above the existing workspace became available, Cundall took advantage of the opportunity.

The Birmingham office is the second of Cundall’s offices to become WELL certified. The practice is committed to showcasing health and wellbeing across the world, and Cundall’s London office was the first project in Europe to receive WELL certification. Cundall’s Dubai office was one of the first WELL registered projects in the MENA region and Cundall’s Qatar office is also WELL registered.