Date: 28 September 2021

Taking Wellness To The Streets

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When Your Building is Well

Can you imagine coming home to an apartment that has HEPA-filtered air flowing through its vents, purified water at the turn of a tap, lights in sync with your circadian rhythm, and purposely designed to get you connecting with your community?

As more and more people seek out homes and communities purpose-built to deliver more physical, mental and social wellbeing, WELL Buildings and communities are popping up like mushrooms in a light-filtered forest after a drenching of rain.

“With more than 4,000 projects in nearly 60 countries and spanning all space types – offices, schools, hotels, residences and more – it’s clear that this wave of sustainability has gathered powerful momentum,” said The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) Chairman and CEO Rick Fedrizzi. “To reach over half-billion square feet of spaces applying WELL is to positively impact the health and well-being of more people in more places and to begin to truly change the narrative around how we design and operate the spaces where we spend our time.

Today, more and more people are working from home and spending more time in their local community. So, doesn’t it make sense that the place you spend the most time promotes wellness? Rather than depleting your energy, it tops it up. Rather than having you feel isolated, you feel part of a community. And with the beautiful park lands, bike tracks and amenities at your front door, it is not a chore to get out and about, rather a gold-foiled invitation.

While this might sound like something only affordable to the elite, or too sophisticated to be available in Australia, it is not! The demand is high, driven by people like you and me, and big Australian construction companies (Mirvac) are getting on board to create WELL certified buildings and communities.

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What it takes to be WELL?

To be a WELL certified there is a high standard of sustainability ethos that must be met. You can’t pop up a green wall and declare your building WELL. This is serious business for those truly committed to a greener planet and providing wellness features for their occupants.

The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) is leading the global movement to transform our buildings, communities and organisations in ways that help people thrive. WELL v2 is the latest version of its popular WELL Building Standard, and the WELL Community Standard pilot is a district scale rating system that sets a new global benchmark for healthy communities. WELL is focused exclusively on the ways that buildings and communities, and everything in them, can improve our comfort, drive better choices, and generally enhance, not compromise, our health and wellness.

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Sydney’s Green Square

Not only will it be Australia’s first WELL v2 Certified communities (once completed), it is one of Sydney’s newest and most exciting neighbourhoods. WELL v2 Certification is a global evidence-backed approach to measuring the impact of the built environment on physical and mental wellbeing.

Aptly named, Green Square, this former industrial heartland of Sydney, is now a design-led precinct paving the way for future urban overhauls. The City of Sydney has led the redevelopment, so far committing $540 million to the creation of world-class facilities. From the award-winning library and plaza to the recently opened Gunyama Aquatic Centre. Parks, playfields and playgrounds are connecting parents, fitness fans and pet owners and a rising creative precinct is a hub for ceramicists, art studios and galleries – all just 3.5km south of the Sydney CBD.

Part of the residential offering are Portman on the Park and Portman House. Both are Mirvac-built luxury boutique apartment buildings, representing another stitch in the fabric of this purpose-designed walkable city fringe community which is already defined by its world-class architecture.

Designed by Sydney’s CO-AP (Architects) in collaboration with Mirvac Design, the two buildings are part of a suite of four buildings making up The Portman Collection are due for completion in 2023. The apartments will overlook a new central park, The Drying Green – a huge green space to ‘eat, sleep or play’!

CO-AP directors Tina Engelen and Will Fung took their design cues from walkable neighbourhoods of Sydney, like Rushcutters Bay, where residential density is balanced by greenspace and excellent community amenities.

“We didn’t need to look overseas for our inspiration, to Paris or New York or London. We looked at what we had right here, in this fascinating city where both Will and I grew up, Sydney,” says Tina.

Portman on the Park avoids the single mass/rectangular façade model that is much too common of new residential blocks of today. Instead, reintroducing some of Sydney’s best features from its iconic buildings. While concrete and glass are the materials of choice (due to minimal upkeep and environmental impact), the look is anything but industrial. And the apartments all have balconies, and most enjoy a dual aspect, maximising light, space and airflow. The cross ventilation allows through breezes for natural cooling, reducing the need for air-conditioning.

Mirvac committed to a health-focused design intent from the outset and The Portman Collection are the first residential buildings in Australia to seek Well V2 Building Standard Certification,“Portman on the Park has been designed around the concepts that enhance health,” says Diana Sarcasmo, Mirvac General Manager of Design, Marketing and Sales. The physical and mental benefits of living within a highly walkable community, with immediate access to exercise facilities, in apartments with fresh air and sunlight, will play a vital role in supporting the mind-body balance of residents.”

Ms Engelen says the bid for WELL V2 certification aligns with architectural principles CO-AP has always championed: “Good air, good light, good space and materials that will last.”

Direct trains link Green Square to the CBD in one direction and the domestic and international airports in the other, encouraging pedestrian flow through the central plaza and engagement with the surrounding businesses. Dedicated bike lanes ensure a safe commute to and from the city and there’s provision for future light rail, underlining an already highly connected residential neighbourhood.

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Living With a Shade of Green

If you’re interested in learning more about this precinct or to take a look inside the future of WELL living, visit Mirvac’s Green Square Precinct.

The A to Z of a WELL Building is here.

by Kris Abbey


Magazine Issue #5

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