WASHINGTON–The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI)™ today announced a partnership to advance the AIA’s design and health initiative. As the first sponsor of the initiative, IWBI will bring leading edge health and design information, research, and professional education opportunities to AIA members to enable their stewardship of health and wellness-focused design and architecture. Through WELL Workshops hosted around the country, AIA will provide educational opportunities to support its membership in becoming WELL Accredited Professionals (WELL APs).
“Design has the power to improve the health of the American public,” said AIA CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA. “Partnering with IWBI will engage and empower our architect members and more effectively link the built environment with public health and well-being as the WELL Building Standard™ is adopted in the marketplace.”
The partnership will generate shared research, co-developed informational articles, and direct support for the AIA’s recently established Design and Health Research Consortium. The AIA and IWBI will co-develop a publication detailing the ways in which architects can improve health and well-being through design, which the AIA will share with all 87,000 members. As part of the partnership, AIA will also engage its full membership in regionally available WELL Workshops, webinars and other online educational opportunities. The AIA and IWBI will also collaborate on a special event to be held at the 2016 AIA National Convention in Philadelphia aimed to inspire attendees with the latest research on design and health issues and honor practitioners dedicated to designing places that inspire health and well-being.
As part of the collaboration, IWBI will support the education of a WELL/AIA Summer Scholar to help develop a new architecture professional in the marketplace focused on design, health and well-being. Additionally, IWBI will support the annual Design and Health Research Consortium convening beginning today in Washington, DC.
“Architects play a pivotal role in designing for health and wellness – from site orientation and architectural design to material specification and beyond,” said Paul Scialla, founder and Chief Executive Officer of IWBI. “We’re excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the AIA to drive the research agenda and to make sure every AIA member has access to leading edge professional education about health, wellness, and design.”
The AIA has been investigating the possible impact of design on human health and well-being for more than a decade, beginning when its 2003 Annual Convention explored the impact of design on neuroscience. Recommendations on advancing research and education for architects from two later AIA-led meetings of architects and public health experts received AIA board approval and formed the basis for AIA’s current strategic initiative. In 2013, the AIA brought together its Design and Health Leadership Group, a multi-disciplinary group that guides the strategic direction of the AIA’s efforts in this area. Members of this group come from leading academic universities, policy think tanks and award-winning architecture firms around the country.
In 2014, the AIA announced a partnership with the American Institute of Architects Foundation and Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture to form the first-ever Design and Health Research Consortium, a group of leading academic public health institutions and universities that helps translate research on design’s influence on public health into architectural practice for policymakers, design and public health professionals and the general public.
Pioneered by Delos™, the WELL Building Standard (WELL) is the first building standard to focus exclusively on the health and wellness of the people in buildings. WELL is an evidence and performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features that impact human health and well-being in the built environment, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. WELL is administered by IWBI and third-party certified by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI). To date, the program has enrolled nearly 30 million square feet of building projects in 13 countries.
About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders, and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.
About the International WELL Building Institute™
The International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI™) is a public benefit corporation whose mission is to improve human health and well-being through the built environment. Public benefit corporations like IWBI are an emerging U.S. structure for corporations committed to balancing public benefits with profitability – harnessing the power of private capital for greater good. IWBI administers the WELL Building Standard™ (WELL) – a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of buildings that impact the health and well-being of the people who live, work, and learn in them. Fulfilling the vision of IWBI Founder Paul Scialla, IWBI has a pioneering altruistic capitalism model that will address social responsibility and demonstrate a sustainable model for philanthropy. IWBI has committed to direct 51 percent of net profits, after taxes, generated by registration fees, certification fees and recertification fees received from real estate projects applying for WELL Certification toward charitable contributions and impact investment focused on health, wellness and the built environment. IWBI was established by Delos in 2013 pursuant to a Clinton Global Initiative commitment to improve the way people live by developing spaces that enhance occupant health and quality of life by sharing the WELL Building Standard globally. www.wellcertified.com