The WELL™ Building Standard
A haven of calm and community
By Cassandra Houghton
The intersection of Montague Road and Drake Street in West End is a hive of activity on any given day, with buses, cars, bikes, electric scooters and people jostling for parking places and footpath spaces. But in the Thomas Dixon Centre and its surrounding gardens, a small haven of calm, community, and sustainability beckons – or it will, when the redeveloped building opens in 2021.
Inside Brisbane’s new cultural centre (and the home of Queensland Ballet), the light will be designed to minimize disruption to the body’s circadian system – enhancing productivity and supporting good sleep quality; the air will be clean and free from pollution; and the filtered water will be regularly tested for optimum quality. The indoor environment will induce comfort and the exterior and interior spaces will embrace creative thinking and contribute to the occupants’ health and wellness.
This visionary redevelopment has been enabled by Queensland and Australian Government Partners, the Ian Potter Foundation and many organisations and individuals. Its focus on wellness design is testament to Brisbane’s transformation to a ‘new world city’. The Thomas Dixon Centre is on track to become the first performing arts building in the world to achieve the WELL Building Standard™, and we couldn’t be more excited.
WELL™ Building Institute
If you haven’t heard of the International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI™), you wouldn’t be alone. It’s a company leading the global movement to transform buildings, communities and organizations in ways that help people thrive.
Currently under construction, the Thomas Dixon Centre will put people’s wellness at the centre of its design by taking a holistic approach across seven concepts: air, light, mind, water, fitness, nourishment, comfort, and innovation. More than a centre of health and wellbeing for our elite artists and arts workers, visitors to our theatre, café, bar and gardens will have the opportunity to benefit, too.
IWBI™ president Rachel Gutter says vibrant communities designed for energy sustainability, human health and wellbeing are at the centre of their vision.
“We understand through findings from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and other renowned entities that our physical and social environments have a greater impact on our state of health than our lifestyle and behaviours, our access to healthcare or even our genetics,” she says.
“Given that we spend more than 90 per cent of our time indoors, those environments have a profound impact on our health and wellbeing.”
Through the Thomas Dixon Centre’s design and management, we are striving to achieve WELL Building Standard™ Platinum Level certification – the highest ranking possible.
The WELL Building Standard™ consists of features across seven concepts that comprehensively address not only the design and operations of buildings, but also how they impact and influence human behaviours related to health and wellbeing.
Promoting clean air and reducing or minimizing the sources of indoor air pollution.
Minimizing disruption to the body’s circadian system, enhancing productivity, supporting good sleep quality and providing appropriate visual acuity.
Optimising cognitive and emotional health through design, technology and treatment strategies.
Providing safe, clean, optimal quality water for various uses through the implementation of proper filtration techniques and regular testing.
Integrating physical activity into everyday life by providing opportunities and support for an active lifestyle and discouraging sedentary behaviours.
Making fresh, wholesome foods available, limiting access to unhealthy ingredients and encouraging better eating habits and food culture.
Creating distraction-free, productive and comfortable indoor environments.
Embracing the creative thinking that is needed to address the complex ways in which interior spaces contribute to health and wellness.