The Durham studio of global design and architecture firm Perkins+Will recently earned Fitwel certification, becoming the first workplace in North Carolina to demonstrate its commitment to employee health and well-being in this way.
Fitwel was developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. General Services Administration, and is administered by the nonprofit Center for Active Design. The certification process includes an evidence-based assessment to examine workplace features and programs that promote occupant health and well-being, such as proximity to public transit, on-site fitness facilities, indoor air quality, and healthy food standards. Perkins+Will is the first U.S. company to pursue Fitwel certification for all its North American and European offices.
The Durham studio of Perkins+Will, located in the landmark Legacy Tower building, provides an open and collaborative workspace with abundant daylight penetrating the entire studio. The use of sit-to-stand desks and the arrangement of teaming spaces within the studio creates a flexible work environment that encourages activity, creativity, and collaboration. A wellness room gives employees a quiet space to relax and recharge. The walkable and bike-friendly urban location offers easy access to the nearby Durham Station Transportation Center and the bustling cafes, shops, and cultural sites of one of America’s fastest-growing small cities.
“Our firm is known as a great place to work, and our recent move to downtown Durham gave us the perfect opening to think about how to make the employee experience even better,” said Kenneth Luker, principal at Perkins+Will who led the new office design. “We seized the opportunity to create a holistic workplace that integrates Fitwel standards and, in doing so, we’re now better able to help our clients achieve a similar health and wellness standard.”
Jessica Braverman, an architect who worked on the Durham office design at Perkins+Will and is trained as a Fitwel Ambassador, is already seeing the benefits of integrating Fitwel certification strategies. “In addition to earning this important recognition from Fitwel, our purposeful design provides us the everyday advantage of coming to work in a space that supports healthy lifestyles and inspires our teams. Designing for health and wellness is now inherent in everything we do.”
To date, Perkins+Will has registered or achieved certification for 17 of its U.S. and European offices. The firm also employs 13 Fitwel Ambassadors, who serve as advisors to clients on the healthy building movement, certification, and the evidence-based connection between design and health.