HB Reavis’ flagship development in Warsaw city centre, Varso, has joined an exclusive group of buildings worldwide that have been awarded WELL Core & Shell Precertification by the International WELL Building Institute™. WELL Building Standard™ is an innovative way to focus on enhancing people’s health and wellness through the built environment. Through the introduction of these solutions at the building design stage, Varso is WELL Core & Shell Precertified™ at the Gold level, and could be awarded WELL Core & Shell Certification following a final performance verification upon completion in 2020.
Designed to address issues well known to impact professionals who spend most of their working day indoors, the WELL Building Standard takes into account not only workplace air, water and lighting quality, but also issues related to nutrition as well as physical and mental well-being. That is why designers and engineers creating Warsaw’s largest business centre are going to great lengths to ensure that the internal layout, materials, construction solutions and technical features are optimised to support workplace wellness.
“When creating a healthy, welcoming workplace that stimulates creativity and productivity, we need to prioritise these elements from the beginning of the design stage and the very first day of construction. We are proud to be the Europe’s first to boast WELL Core & Shell Precertification. This is one of those elements that will make Varso a truly unique place, together with its location, scale and architectural quality,” said Stanislav Frnka, Country CEO at HB Reavis Poland.
“Varso’s WELL Core & Shell Precertification demonstrates tremendous leadership in health and wellness, not only in Poland but for the whole of Europe,” said IWBI Chairman and CEO Rick Fedrizzi. “Our mission at IWBI is to expand health and wellness to as many people as possible, and we truly believe that projects like this which aim to instill healthy workplace environments have great potential to inspire others in Warsaw and beyond,” added Fedrizzi.
100 performance metrics
To be awarded WELL Core & Shell Precertification by IWBI, Varso underwent thorough review and analysis to ensure it met all WELL Core & Shell Precertification performance requirements. Created through seven years of rigorous research and development, WELL is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being. WELL is composed of over 100 features that are applied to each building project. WELL sets performance requirements and objectives in seven categories, or concepts, relevant to occupant health and well-being in the built environment: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.
Every building has to meet certain preconditions within each concept, including high air quality, for example by using low-emitting finishing materials, in order to provide an adequate air supply, and to properly monitor ventilation and air conditioning systems. WELL features also include an outdoor smoking ban within a close distance from the building, with a single designated outdoor smoking area. WELL Certified™ buildings also must ensure access to clean water, the quality of which must be regularly tested. Lighting guidelines help ensure beneficial access to natural and artificial light of proper intensity, colour and temperature, which adjusts to the human circadian rhythm. WELL Certification aims for spaces to be designed to provide supportive acoustics, including limiting exterior noise. Projects may also draw upon biophilic design, a method inspired from nature using greenery and natural materials. In terms of nutrition and fitness, WELL Certified buildings can meet certain performance requirements by providing healthy snack and beverage vending machine options, promoting sports and bicycle commuting.
WELL Precertification is an optional step in the certification process for WELL projects, which allows registered projects to review the work already completed and confirm that they are on the correct path towards achieving certification. Varso is the first to achieve WELL Core & Shell Precertification in Europe. Only three projects have achieved final WELL Certification in Europe, one each in the UK, France and Spain. Upon completion, earning WELL Core & Shell Certification will better enable Varso’s future tenants to achieve WELL Certification for their interior office spaces.
Varso is scheduled to be completed in 2020 and the underground part is currently under construction. It will feature a 230-metre tower designed by renowned British architectural practice Foster + Partners. At 230m tall (310m including a spire), it will be the tallest building in Poland, and one of the tallest in Europe. It will comprise first class office space and an impressive observation deck, which will be open to the public.
The project will also include two lower buildings designed by the Warsaw-based HRA Architects, combining office space with a ground floor covered walkway, lined with shops and restaurants. In addition to WELL, Varso is pursuing BREEAM certification requirements at the highest Outstanding level.
The WELL Certification process for Varso is managed by Adamas International, on behalf of HB Reavis. The developer is also planning to apply for WELL Certification for its future developments in Poland. The company has already registered three buildings in Slovakia and the Czech Republic for WELL Certification.