By David Jeffrey Ringer
It’s the first Gold certification in Washington, D.C., and largest project in the capital to receive a human wellbeing-focused WELL Certification
ASLA has been awarded WELL Certification at the Gold level for its Center for Landscape Architecture in Washington, becoming the first WELL Certified Gold-rated project in Washington and the largest WELL Certified project to date in the nation’s capital. The prestigious WELL Certification is awarded by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) through IWBI’s WELL Building Standard (WELL), which is the premier building standard to focus on enhancing people’s health and well-being through the buildings where we live, work and play.
“ASLA pursued WELL Certification because of our commitment to our members, our staff and our community, and we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved,” said ASLA CEO Torey Carter-Conneen. “ASLA is founded on the premise that good design leads to healthier, more sustainable and equitable environments, and we are grateful for the opportunity to partner and lead in advancing initiatives like the WELL Building Standard.”
Created through seven years of rigorous research and development working with leading physicians, scientists, and industry professionals, the WELL Building Standard is a performance-based certification system that marries best practices in design and construction with evidence-based scientific research. The ASLA Center for Landscape Architecture earned the distinction based on seven categories of building performance: Air, Water, Light, Nourishment, Fitness, Comfort and Mind.
The project integrates new construction into the existing space and footprint; captures and reuses stormwater runoff; maximizes daylight within the space; increases occupant comfort and wellness; provides flexible, collaborative work spaces; and models environmental values, with a focus on improving indoor air quality, lighting, nourishment, and promoting active lifestyles.
To ensure opportunities for interaction with living things and natural surroundings, a biophilia plan describes how the Center incorporates nature through environmental elements, lighting, and space layout.
Project features that helped ASLA achieve its WELL Certified Gold rating include:
- A range of air-quality steps, including filtration, increased ventilation, and volatile organic compound reduction;
- Optimal water quality through the use of filtration techniques and periodic water quality testing;
- Enhanced natural lighting for all occupants through the creation of an atrium, circadian lighting design and low-glare workstation design;
- Fitness opportunities that promote active lifestyles; and
- Materials and furnishings selections that optimize comfort and cognitive and mental health and that evoke nature in their design.
WELL is grounded in a body of evidence-based research that explores the connection between the buildings where we spend approximately 90 percent of our time, and the health and well-being impacts on the people inside these buildings. To be awarded WELL Certification by IWBI, the ASLA Center for Landscape Architecture underwent rigorous testing and a final evaluation carried out by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), which is the third-party certification body for WELL, to ensure it met all WELL Certified Gold performance requirements.
The ASLA Center for Landscape Architecture has long been committed to innovative design features that promote health and wellness and environmental sustainability. The Center features a green roof, one of the first of its kind built in 2005; a green canopy; a side garden designed by Oehme van Sweden, which includes a 700-gallon rainwater cistern used for irrigation.
Numerous lines of research demonstrate the mental and physical benefits of green space for people, which is one of the reasons landscape architects seek to integrate high-quality green space into office environments.