The new offices of the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) are situated on the 8th floor of 220 5th Avenue, a 1912 neo-Gothic structure opposite Madison Square Park. Behind the exterior lined by gargoyles and historical copper-hung, double-hung windows, nearly 6,00 square feet of office space was renovated for the organization dedicated to accrediting the health and wellbeing of the built environment and its inhabitants. Featuring biophilic design and active work stations, the overhaul is reflective of the values of WELL certification, and, at the same time, demonstrative of how their criteria can be met within a tenant space of an existing building.
According to COOKFOX project architect, Bethany Borel, “in order to achieve WELL certification and our health and wellness goals, seamless collaboration was required between the owner, architect, and landlord.” The layout began with “a communal space that has a view of the southeast corner of Madison Square Park.” Throughout, COOKFOX specified carpet inspired by lichen from Mohawk, standing workstations by Teknion, and, of course, lots of plants. Achieving WELL Platinum, the highest level of certification by the organization, the interior employs not only healthy materials but also programmatic elements for the health of employees.