Addressing Health: A Great Place To Spend A Day, Or A Decade  

by Corey Squire

Three key drivers–Climate, Health, and Equity–continue to guide the vision for Bora’s new studio. By holistically addressing health in our design, we mindfully steward both the building we are adapting and the well-being of our staff.

While it might seem that great design can be recognized and appreciated at first sight, it must be considered through the lens of time. For example, the beach is a wonderful place to spend a day, but an overly harsh environment for ongoing exposure. Since different aspects of the built environment impact occupants on varying time scales, a successful building needs to provide inspiration and joy at a single point in time, but also tangible health benefits over years of exposure.

The Bora studio addresses both. Operable windows, natural daylight from all sides, and an outdoor workspace connect occupants with the world beyond the building’s four walls. Timber trusses and other natural materials offer biophilic wellness, while distinct spaces for focus and collaboration provide the appropriate acoustics to support varied work needs. 

Long-term health and well-being also centers around air and water quality and the chemical makeup of the materials that exist in a space. Small changes in the size and quantity of particles we take into our bodies add up over the long term, as does our exposure to hazardous off-gassing or harsh chemicals. These subtleties have no correlation to the beauty of a space, and must be dealt with separately from the many qualities that make for a great environment on Day One.  

To address health over the long term, our new studio will ensure air and water quality through a high level of filtration and ongoing measurement. Ongoing air quality monitoring will also acquaint the full office with metrics and a range of indoor air quality, empowering each individual to take corrective action (e.g. open a window) when more fresh air is needed.  

Finally, our future home will champion healthy materials. As a longtime leader in the field of material safety, Bora has identified a list of chemicals that we believe do not belong in the built environment due to their health or environmental hazard. Understanding the chemical constituents (and their implications) of every material we specify is a practice we use on all our work—including our own studio–to optimize safe, healthy environments. 

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