Arch + Eng, Sci + Tech

BFI at WELL Building

450 people gathered last week in New Orleans for a full day of immersive discussion on human well being and the built environment to celebrate the public debut of the WELL Building Standard 1.0, a pioneering concept that marries building construction with evidence-based technologies grounded in medical research and public health practice. Opening remarks were provided by 2012 Fuller Challenge Winner Jason McLennan of the Living Future Institute where he posed the question: “What if every single act of design and construction made the world a better place? We are now developing tools for radical transformation toward a Living Future: socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative.”

BFI Program Manager Sarah Skenazy was present as one of very few non-profit representatives to participate in the dialog surrounding this emergent collaborative field of inquiry and practice. “Though no one used the phrase ‘whole systems design’ throughout the entire symposium, evidence of the framework was everywhere. In the U.S. we spend 92% of our time in buildings and there is great opportunity to leverage technology, integrative design and multi-sector collaborations to interpret existing research and breakdown the barriers to wellness in the built environment. Buckminster Fuller believed that human health in our environment should be a fundamental right, not a privilege of an elite few. While they use primarily the vocabulary of medical data and real estate, the International Well Building Institute is at the forefront of a catalytic shift that would make Bucky proud.”

You can read more about the WBI and the Program of the symposia at