Crown Estate HQ becomes first office in Europe to achieve WELL Platinum Certification

The Crown Estate has announced that it has been awarded WELL Certification at the Platinum Level for its head office at No 1 St James’s Market, London by the International WELL Building Institute. The Crown Estate earned the distinction based on seven categories of building performance—air, water, light, nourishment, fitness, comfort and mind—and achieved a Platinum level rating.

There are only 11 platinum projects globally, including in the U.S., Australia and China. There are currently five WELL Certified projects in the UK, three of which are gold and one of which is silver.

The Crown Estate’s head office, located on the first and seventh floors of the Make Architects designed building at No 1 St James’s Market, has taken several steps to secure accreditation. The office layout maximises access to natural daylight for all desks to support circadian rhythms, and the majority of the desks allow people to sit or stand.

Project features that helped The Crown Estate achieve its Platinum WELL Certification include:

  • Procurement of catering to ensure we are delivering a healthy variety of meals for staff;
  • Internal green walls and planting to promote biophilia, as well as moss on the walls to control acoustics;
  • Filtered water available at various locations to ensure hydration;
  • Selection and procurement of furniture, fixture and finishes (eg paints, chairs, etc) with low VOC content to maintain healthy indoor air quality levels;
  • Provision of different types of workplaces and spaces including a library, contemplation rooms, and provision of a number ergonomic desks to meet the different needs of people;
  • High-quality base build features including fresh air rates, visible stair case, acoustic performance, and the location of the building to local amenities, local parks and public transport.

The Crown Estate is also aiming for WELL Certification for a further two buildings in central London, both the Marq on Jermyn St as well as 1 Heddon St. It has also produced a guide to sustainable fit-out.

EDGE Architecture and Design worked with The Crown Estate on the project. Other key members of the design team were sustainability consultants, Cundall; project managers, Buro Four; building services consultants, Watkins Payne, and cost consultants, Alinea.

Rachael Cadey, EDGE Founder and Project Principal said, “EDGE was commissioned to deliver the client’s vision and objectives and enable their headquarters to become a strategic tool that could help transform and futureproof the business. Achieving the highest certifications for health, wellbeing and sustainability were important ambitions in the brief and these required absolute focus, new learnings, rigorous specifications and an innovative use of materials from the whole project team. We are also thrilled that the post-occupancy data is highlighting really positive statistics of how the people love their new space and recognise the positive impact of their new environment on working practices, wellbeing, and productivity.”

The Crown Estate earned the distinction based on seven categories of building performance—air, water, light, nourishment, fitness, comfort and mind across two floors of No 1 St James’s Market. These link into a design strategy of ‘Active landscapes’ which encourages mobility and wellbeing over both floors. The work spaces have been tailored to employee needs and tasks: some social and collaborative, others quiet and private, all flexible and connected to technology.

With a central philosophy of ‘no offices’ the office layout maximises access to natural daylight for everyone and for primary desk spaces to support circadian rhythms, and ergonomic choices to sit or stand. Biophilia is also part of the core design strategy and is visible wherever you sit with key innovative features such as acoustically performing moss creating visually stunning backdrops.

Project features that helped The Crown Estate achieve its Platinum WELL Certification include:

• Procurement of catering to ensure we are delivering a healthy variety of meals for staff;

• Internal green walls and planting to promote biophilia, as well as moss on the walls to control acoustics;

• Filtered water available at various locations to ensure hydration;

• Selection and procurement of furniture, fixture and finishes (eg paints, chairs, etc) with low VOC content to maintain healthy indoor air quality levels;

• Provision of different types of workplaces and spaces including a library, contemplation rooms, and provision of a number ergonomic desks to meet the different needs of people;

• High-quality base build features including fresh air rates, visible stair case, acoustic performance, and the location of the building to local amenities, local parks and public transport.

Judith Everett, Chief Operating Officer at The Crown Estate commented: “We are all delighted that our Head Office in St James’s Market has become the first office in Europe to achieve the Platinum WELL standard. When we moved to our new offices we wanted to deliver the very best environment for the people who work at The Crown Estate, and this accreditation shows we achieved that. The WELL standard has changed the way we, as an industry, think about how we can have a positive impact on the people who work in our buildings.

“We’ve worked hard to ensure that our own space here at St James’s Market represents the best standards in flexible, contemporary workspace, and this formal accreditation would truly demonstrate our commitment to creating brilliant places – both for ourselves and for our customers. We are exploring ways we can work collectively at portfolio level to make well-being requirements are being considered.”

Rick Fedrizzi, Chairman and CEO of the International WELL Building Institute™ said: “With its platinum level WELL Certification, The Crown Estate Headquarters at St. James’s Market joins a select group of industry leaders worldwide committed to delivering the very best in buildings that advance human health. We congratulate The Crown Estate team, including EDGE Architecture and Design, for their outstanding achievement and dedication to elevating health and sustainability to new heights in ways that help people thrive.”

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 wellness impacts on us as occupants of these buildings. To be awarded WELL Certification by IWBI, The Crown Estate office in St James’s Market underwent rigorous testing and a final evaluation carried out by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), which is the third-party certification body.

With the offices scoring above the Leesman+benchmark (78.3) for workplace effectiveness, employees recognise the impact of their new space. Post-occupancy data shows that the new workspace is loved by the client and its people (+25% LMI) and that the move to new ways of working achieved a satisfaction +92% LMI.

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