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How the Global Wellness Institute is looking to create wellbeing through architecture

by Jane Kitchen | 07 Sep 2016

The nonprofit Global Wellness Institute is launching a Wellness in Architecture Initiative with a mission to bring together diverse thought leaders to raise the awareness on how our surroundings affect us.

Initiative members will gather emerging evidence of the effects that the built environment has on humankind – diving into scientific corners of academia, interviewing experts within the building industry, collecting personal experiences of healing spaces, and more.

“Our goal is to establish a vocabulary and start raising awareness about the ways in which the environment is impacting us,” said Initiative chair Veronica Schreibeis Smith, CEO and founding principal of US-based Vera Iconica Design.

While many in the spa and wellness industry are already using or asking for these principles, Schreibeis Smith said it’s not quite as common in the general architecture community.

“It’s profound if we have a better understanding of – and are willing to talk about – emotions and energy and nourishing your soul,” she said.

Other Initiative members include Eric Corey Freed, director of business & Partner Development for EcoDistricts, a nonprofit organisation that helps cities and developers create regenerative, resilient and socially equitable neighbourhoods for everyone; Susie Hoffman, principal of US-based Envi Interior Design Studio; Luis Longhi, owner of Peruvian architecture firm Longi Architect; and Brandon Sinclair, founder of Legacy Ranch in Canada.

Schreibeis Smith is particularly interested in how materials in inanimate objects in our environment are impacting us emotionally or energetically, and the committee will also be looking at understanding green and sustainable materials as well as incorporating culturally specific elements in design, among other things.

“There are different spaces that people feel more uplifted going into,” said Schreibeis Smith. “Those spaces – their proportions, materials, light – they’re all doing different things.”

While many of these aspects have been looked at individually, bringing them together will help create a bigger picture, said Schreibeis Smith.

“There are a lot of best practices that are being looked at from one lens, but we need to have a more grounded viewpoint to truly have wellness architecture,” she said.

The Global Wellness Institute launched 16 other wellness initiatives earlier this year.

Global Wellness Institute  architecture  wellness  health  
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The nonprofit Global Wellness Institute is launching a Wellness in Architecture Initiative with a mission to bring together diverse thought leaders to raise the awareness on how our surroundings affect us. Initiative members will gather emerging evidence of the effects that the built environment has on humankind – diving into scientific corners of academia, interviewing experts within the building industry, collecting personal experiences of healing spaces, and more. “Our goal
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Veronica Schreibeis Smith, CEO and founding principal of US-based Vera Iconica Design, is Initiative chair
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