Contemplation Space West Downs

Healthier people through better buildings: Design Engine’s UoW West Downs Building leading the way with WELL Certification

17 October 2019

Design Engine’s new £50m landmark West Downs Building at the University of Winchester is one of the first university projects in the UK to be registered to pursue WELL Certification, an accreditation scheme which recognises buildings that support and advance human health and wellbeing.

Delivered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), the WELL Building Standard (WELL) is a performance-based rating system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features that impact human health and wellness in the built environment. The ten concepts of WELL are: air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind and community.

Features of the West Downs development that boost wellbeing include a contemplation space for practicing mindfulness; healthy food options; access to nature through the courtyard garden; landscaped areas for encouraging outdoor use; and reduced harmful buildings emissions, including air and water testing. In addition, many workstations have adjustable height sit-stand desks.

Garden View West Downs campus

Construction started in January 2018 and the building will open in early 2020. The new development will provide state-of-the-art facilities for learning and teaching including an art gallery, café, food hall, library and social learning areas and will house the University’s Digital Futures computer and digital-related degree programmes.

Whilst the practice is very proud to have been creating sustainable buildings for the last 20 years there is always more to do and it is therefore great to announce that this new building will be designed to the WELL Building Standard. The project will still reach BREEAM Excellent but will now be supported by WELL which starts to refocus sustainability towards people as much as buildings.

Richard Jobson, Design Engine, Founding Director