Structure Tone, one of Manhattan’s largest construction firms, isn’t giving “sick building syndrome” a chance. Its new headquarters at 330 West 34th Street is the first in New York City to be certified WELL, meaning that it’s deliberately designed to boost the wellbeing of the people inside it. The 82,000-square-foot office space received a Silver rating for a host of prescriptive features, including flooring, soundproofing, furniture, paint, and sealants that have low or no volatile organic compounds—that is, toxic gas emissions that frequently contribute to indoor pollution.
Other pro-health elements include scrupulous air and water filtration, circadian-attuned lighting that promises to foster alertness in the day and better rest at night, and sit-and-stand desks so employees can keep their bodies limber and moving.
Structure Tone even brought in acoustic consultants to dampen ambient noise and minimize distractions.
Nutrition-wise, the company has its staff covered, as well. An on-site café serves up plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, along with beverages that contain less than 25 grams of sugar.
There is also an automated system that allows employees to “customize their own health profile” and learn to make more nourishing choices.
“Targeting WELL certification for our new office was important to us not only for our employees’ health and wellness, but also to ensure as construction managers that we understand what it takes to build these kinds of spaces,” said James Donaghy, chairman of the board at Structure Tone. “We have already seen our clients incorporating wellness into their built environments and firmly believe WELL will play a strong role in the workplaces of the future.”
It’s not meant to supplant environmental building certifications, according to the International WELL Building Institute, but rather augment them.
And the captains of industry had best pay attention.
“Having Structure Tone achieve the first WELL certification in New York for its headquarters is indicative of its global leadership,” said Rick Fedrizzi, chairman and CEO of IWBI. “This is a company that at its core deeply understands the connection between the health of people and the importance of designing and constructing spaces that enhance health and wellness. We congratulate them on this significant achievement.”