PlacesAndrew Waugh on Biophilic Design: Healthy Mind, Healthy Planet

Andrew Waugh, Founder and Director at Waugh Thistleton Architects, talks us through their latest project, which champions biophilic design and puts the environment first.
Content Team9 months ago8 min

I’ve worked and lived in Hackney and East London for my whole career. The designs that Waugh Thistleton has produced have evolved alongside the borough; we were involved in the design of the first bars and cafes that were established in Shoreditch in the early nineties. We then progressed onto loft apartments as people started moving into the old warehouses and Hackney became a desirable postcode, and now we’re building offices to house the creative communities that the area has become synonymous with.   

We’re embedded in the community in Hackney and so it is always a privilege to work here, and bring something new to the area. Working with Storey on 6 Orsman Road is an exciting step on this journey. A building of its time, it champions biophilic design, combining a mix of natural materials to create a productive workplace. Importantly, it puts the environment first with its cross laminated timber (CLT) structure.

Andrew Waugh, Waugh Thistleton Architects, talks through his latest biophilic design project which puts the environment first.
Work-In-Progress: Photograph Credit Tim Crocker

We have worked with engineered timber for the last two decades, and our residential project Murray Grove (also in Hackney) pioneered the use of CLT at scale. What’s great about 6 Orsman Road is that we were able (and encouraged) to design an honest building where the structural elements are an integral part of the overall aesthetic; visible throughout.

Storey shares our vision and passion for using natural materials for their environmental, construction and wellbeing benefits. We worked collaboratively to develop a unique workspace pushing the boundaries of current standards.

Environmental Impact

Responsibly sourced, certified timber is one of the few building materials that represents a conscious choice for the future. Buildings like 6 Orsman Road are ambassadors for this material, showcasing its merits and proving that it can be used to create amazing spaces.

Everyone involved in the development of Storey 6 Orsman Road shared a commitment to go the extra mile, to really consider every possibility. Natural materials have been used throughout and efficiency of material was considered to reduce waste – for instance offcuts of CLT have been repurposed as furniture.

Health and Wellbeing

People have used wood as a construction material forever so it’s no surprise that we have an ingrained affinity for the material. Recent studies prove our deeply personal and positive reaction to being close to all things wood, one of the many benefits of using timber in construction. A number of surveys by organisations such as Pollinate and Planet Ark illustrate the stress-relieving and wellbeing-boosting effects of timber in the work environment. The exposed CLT surfaces within 6 Orsman Road have been designed to promote calm and focus.

Andrew Waugh, Waugh Thistleton Architects, talks through his latest biophilic design project which puts the environment first.

In addition to the psychological and stress-relieving effects, timber surfaces also have practical and physical benefits. Acoustically, wood surfaces are great at absorbing and dampening sound. This means that offices with exposed wood are home to much more productive environments, free from harsh unwanted noise distractions.

Wood surfaces also improve air quality. Wood is hygroscopic, meaning that it naturally moderates humidity – absorbing moisture in humid conditions and releasing it in dry conditions. Wood doesn’t hold an electrical charge, so is far less prone to dust build-up. The result is cleaner air which helps these spaces to be noticeably more pleasant to be in – and work in.

Good Design = Happiness

Storey 6 Orsman Road demonstrates that good design can boost health and happiness – and benefit the planet. The building is a testament to how good architecture and design are instrumental to the evolution of workspace as we know it.

For another example of a biophilic design project, click here


Andrew Waugh, Waugh Thistleton Architects, talks through his latest biophilic design project which puts the environment first.

 

Content Team

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