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Office Innovations: Bee Hives, Summer Cinemas, and Special Bike Racks

skanska July 18, 2018  |  Text by Matěj Pokorný Text by Matěj Pokorný

A good office is about more than designer lighting and the right choice of furniture. The most modern office buildings in the Czech Republic try to make the time that their tenants spend inside them more pleasant using less traditional elements as well—like the silver screen and the buzzing of bees.

In recent years, premium office buildings have been outdoing each other to be the “greenest.” To use the least energy for its operations or manage water the best (from graywater to rainwater...)

In all this toiling over better “green” construction, we’ve all somewhat forgotten that buildings should above all be made for the people who’ll be working in them, or to put it better: living in them. (Their relationship to their environment is of course also important.)

That’s why WELL certification has been coming to the fore in recent years. It sets objective criteria for what an ideal, and above all healthy, work environment should look like. In recent weeks we’ve presented you with seven pillars of WELL certification and their ambassadors, who define things such as quality lighting, how an employer should promote employees’ physical condition and mental comfort, and how to influence the air quality in interiors.

His Domain Is Ideas for a Better Tomorrow

The eighth and last member of the Mindful Eight employees is Elon. Just like Elon Musk, this Elon doesn’t have a traditionally defined “territory.” He moves among a variety of areas. His true territory is innovation—anything that can make the world of “paper pushers” better.

In this area, the authors of the WELL standard accent the constant scientific research that’s taking place into the various aspects that affect a work environment and, in all their complexity, act upon human health and well-being.

Individual applicants for WELL certification thus have a chance to propose innovative elements that are in line with the basic principles of the WELL Building Standard while also expanding it, supplementing it, or propelling it into another area. These “tricks” can bring them bonus points in the overall rating.

3 specific examples of innovations in practice in projects that are striving to acquire WELL certification:

1/ Beehives Above the Worker Bees (Praga Studios, Prague)

The tenants at the new Praga Studios offices in Prague’s Karlín district will have have access to a rooftop terrace where they’ll never feel alone. Skanska Property, as these offices’ developer, plans to place several smart beehives on the roof. “The users will be able to interact with them. The very act of contact with nature, in the form of working bees, aids relaxation and helps to relieve stress,” explains Skanska Property’s safety and sustainability manager Eva Nykodymová. The company is simultaneously cooperating with the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, which will be selecting a suitable species of bees for an urban environment.

2/ Off to the Outdoor Cinema After Work (Visionary, Praha)

Visionary, a recently completed complex of two office buildings in Prague’s Holešovice district, is primarily unique for the running track on its rooftop. But the developer is also planning to build a summer outdoor cinema in the adjacent newly established park. “This is one more of the elements that WELL doesn’t specifically require; we want to give people a chance to relax right after work and do so without having to head far from the office,” says Eva Nykodymová from Skanska Property of their motivations.

3/ A Two-story Bike Stand (Visionary, Prague)

Support both for cycling and for active transport to work and among offices is one of the basic principles that WELL values. “At Visionary, we’ve installed a unique two-story bike stand that, due to the innovative way in which the bikes are parked, offers cycle-using employees a much greater capacity,” explains Eva Nykodymová. Employees who bike to work naturally also have access to showers and a bike maintenance stand, and additionally all of this is supplemented with interactive signage.

 

WELL certification covers eight areas that are decisive for a healthy office. We showed you seven of these pillars in previous articles; you’ll find them behind the links below.

► Report: 1 Day in an Office Designed According to the Highest of Standards

► A Healthy Office: No Distractions, No Microwaved Fish

► Why Just Ride Your Bike to Work? Ride It at Work Too

► Your Light at Work Shapes How You Sleep at Home

► A Healthy Office? Soft Drinks No, Gardens Yes

► Ordinary Water Improves Your Concentration and Memory. It Staves Off a Sweet Tooth Too

► How can a mat, a wastebasket, or a door handle influence your office’s air quality?