5 Ways to Design for Wellness in Your Home

Many companies are adopting a hybrid work model for the future. This change in work environments has and will continue to influence the way people use their homes. Our homes are not only places where we live but also office spaces, places to exercise, and places to play. Including the following healthy design ideas in your home can improve your overall well-being, both mentally and physically.

  1. Biophilia – Biophilia is popular in interior design to connect people with nature. Studies also show biophilia supports productivity, physical health, and psychological well-being. Utilizing windows for natural daylight and open airflow is one way to incorporate biophilia. Using calming colors and natural materials can help improve mental well-being. Another simple way to add biophilic elements to your home can be to add indoor plants, which can help improve the air you breathe.
  2. Home Gym – Physical activity contributes significantly to our physical health, mental health, and psychological well-being. Movement and getting our blood flowing can help stimulate our brains and gives us a clear mind. A home gym also helps eliminate the excuse of not having time to get to the gym; it’s a win-win!
  3. Office Space Separate from Living Space – With more people working remotely post-COVID, it’s essential to separate our workspace and living area. Designating a work area can be accomplished by creating a nook, a completely closed-off room, or even outside of the house like a coffee shop. Having a separate space makes it much easier for us to remove ourselves from work when the day is over, which will improve our well-being and quality of life.
  4. Outdoor Living Space – This can be especially nice if you don’t have a lot of square footage in your home. Having a nice outdoor seating area can encourage us to gather outside and enjoy the fresh air and could even double as an office space! Including a garden in your outdoor living space can enable you to source your food or ingredients for homemade meals.
  5. Healthy/Sustainable Materials – These could include any materials that are locally sourced, durable, and long-lasting. Reclaimed or recycled materials like wood or metal are also good options to have in your home. Also, low or zero VOC paint can help to improve the quality of air that we breathe.

Incorporating these elements into your homes is a great start to bring a sense of wellness into the places we live. All of these elements can be designed into new homes and can also be added to existing homes. Take some time to consider how you can start implementing these ideas to improve your quality of life!

Contact Danielle King, IIDA, NCIDQ, LEED GA @dking@wellogydesign.com to share your products or insights on healthier design materials.

Designing Healthier Homes : Wellogy Design Charette and UC Class Engagement Reveal Top 3 Concepts

by Jennifer M. Bobbitt

The guiding principle of our work is to “create places of well-being to enrich people’s lives.” Driven by this ideal, our trademarked concept, Healthy Urbanism™, is integrating intentionally designed elements that help communities thrive and prosper. We promote the healthy outcomes of communities by working with partners engaged in designing a better way to live.

Wellogy (formerly Davis Wince, Ltd.) has been working with healthy home concepts for several years. We’ve partnered with home builders, manufacturers of home materials, and town planners to design a template for incorporating wellness into the home. Senior planners, designers, and seasoned veterans in their fields with knowledge and experience have all contributed to our mission to design healthier homes in pursuit of overall improved health and wellness. The year of COVID shook up the game and made us dig deeper for solutions and possibilities as we move into a new world with more remote working, learning, and enhanced safety protocols. The need for an efficient, safe, and “well” home has never been more apparent. We have broadened our thinking and our search for solutions by tapping into additional resources and innovations.

The 2020 pause in design and construction allowed us to engage with new voices and explore ways to contribute beyond immediate project needs. We took two varied approaches to explore healthy homes opportunities further, and both yielded interesting, marketable results. The top three ideas that rose to the surface in our discovery and exploration are:

  1. Invest in healthy materials and sustainable options to impact wellness
  2. Design flexible living spaces to adapt to changing needs of the home
  3. Include accessible design to allow residents to age in place

We reached these conclusions through two concentrated efforts. The first approach was an internal design charrette, including our entire Wellogy team. The project addressed the need to incorporate the elements of Healthy Urbanism™ into a small town in Central Florida. The goal was to improve the services in the area so residents could have everything they needed within a 15- minute walking distance of their home, thus creating Healthy Urbanism™. The community was also in need of housing that would serve the current population and support new growth.

Our firm divided into teams and met regularly for six weeks as we researched, designed, and modified our concepts. We analyzed trends and challenges and brainstormed the ideal collection of homes for this area based on market needs. The final designs included:

We focused on creating pocket neighborhoods and providing options like age-in-place and ADU’s to co-locate support. The designs are flexible, inviting, and incorporated into the community, allowing residents to easily engage with needs, services, and entertainment and not rely heavily on transportation.

The second approach involved engaging with 25 University of Cincinnati Visual Innovation Studio (VIS) students. Working with the University of Cincinnati and the VIS class led by Associate Professor Aaron Bradley, we created a project overview for the design exercise. The VIS project challenged the group of students to explore two primary questions. First, how can healthy home environments improve their inhabitants’ social, health, and economic, mental well-being? And second, how does the design of a healthy home fit into and enhance the Healthy Urbanism™ formula? We provided architects and planners a team to support the students by responding to their questions and providing additional information.

According to Bradley, “This is a new program we created in response to COVID and the fact that students wouldn’t be able to have traditional co-op experiences, and many companies had innovation challenges that would benefit from students’ perspectives.” Bradley is an Associate Professor of Creative, Culture, and Social Impact Initiatives in UC’s Division of Experience-Based Learning and Career Education.

The 25 students presented the final presentation deck via a Zoom meeting to display their findings to Wellogy associates. Teams were encouraged to incorporate digital prototypes, images of physical prototypes, data visualizations, and interactive elements when possible and relevant (3D/SLA printed models, mockups, etc.). Compiling research from articles, interviews, and existing research data, they determined four key features of a Healthy Home- adaptable space, water quality/ access, maximized lighting, and air environment.

The students created consumer profiles and explored the option of designing spaces where people could age in place. “Something that I found very intriguing was the thought of aging with the home. I have moved around a lot so thinking about living somewhere long term never has crossed my mind. I do think it is important to think about though and how the home can adapt with the homeowner to be accessible/user friendly,” according to Chloe Pi, University of Cincinnati Industrial Design student, Class of 2024.

According to Gary Gray, Wellogy architect, and Healthy Homes innovator, the students were thoughtful and thorough in their designs. They even took the extra step to code graphics to provide a visual aide showing before to after images of age in place transformation for critical rooms in a home. Gray is a long-time designer and developer of homes throughout the United States and has worked for several large home builders.
Click the photo to see the before and after

Both exploration exercises yielded similar expectations for future healthy homes with flexibility, age in place, and homes incorporated into a walkable community. Wellogy continues to evolve their healthy home design concepts and create solutions for designing communities focused on wellness. Our challenge now is to expand the consumer’s knowledge and benefit of the healthy home, influence the market away from urban sprawl and look to the future full of innovative ideas to improve our quality of life.

Exploring Healthy Homes Ideas with the University of Cincinnati VIS Class

by Jennifer M. Bobbitt

The Visual Innovation Studio (VIS) project challenged a group of 25 University of Cincinnati students to explore two primary questions. First, how can a healthy home environment improve its inhabitants’ social, health, and economic, mental well-being? And second, how does the design of a healthy home fit into and enhance the Healthy Urbanism™ formula? Wellogy (formerly Davis Wince, Ltd.) provided architects and planners to support the students by responding to their questions and providing additional information.

“I learned a lot about the design process through this project. Aaron Bradley, our faculty advisor, taught us to ‘fall in love with the problem’ before we even started forming solutions. By doing so, we could fully understand what needed to be addressed and had something to fall back on when revising the project,” according to Natalie Kunes, University of Cincinnati Urban Planning student.

University of Cincinnati Associate Professor Aaron Bradley teaches the popular innovation class and is well known to his students for challenging their thinking and pushing them outside their comfort zone of ideas.

“I’m constantly surprised at the effort it takes to get them (students) to push past the ‘safe’ answers at early stages of an innovation project. I think that by the time they get to university, they’ve had years and years of very linear approaches to education and a lot of classroom situations where there’s ultimately only one “right” answer that the test or the teacher has set up. Creative problem solving implies that there are multiple ‘right’ ways to solve a problem. Over the years, I’ve come to expect this, so I build in a lot of early work in this area at the start of every new project with students. As they get more comfortable with the idea that it’s OK (in fact, it’s encouraged) to push past boundaries and propose bold ideas, the creative process always gets a lot more fun, and the results are more impactful,” Bradley said.

The students were divided into teams, each consisting of multiple disciplines, and started their research and exploration. Each week, Wellogy staff interacted with the students numerous times to help ensure the project moved forward and involved complete information and mentorship.

“This virtual class setting, although not conventional, was the perfect think tank for possibilities. The past year has taught us to listen, learn and be open to new ideas and opportunities,” according to Kathy Kelly, Wellogy architect and Director of Strategy. Kelly was actively involved with the students every week as they researched and looked for ideas.

Chloe Pi, University of Cincinnati Industrial Design student, Class of 2024, said the research and design phase also sparked new ideas for her.

“I learned a lot about the research phase within the design process. I learned that topics unrelated to the prompt you have been given can be helpful and that it does not have to directly relate to the subject matter. It can be something as simple as understanding more about human behavior,” Pi said.

At the end of the five weeks, the students compiled their research findings and insights and packaged their graphics into a well-orchestrated presentation. Wellogy architect Gary Gray was impressed with the level of detail to which the students explored the healthy home idea.

“From materials like copper handles to reduce the transmission of bacteria and adjustable height bathroom counters and cooktops, the students addressed the adaptations for a healthier home and aging in place options,” Gray said.

Wellogy architects Gray and Kelly agreed; they learned a lot from their experience as mentors and found the information the students created very inspiring and innovative. The designs have sparked new conversations and ideas both in architecture and for aspiring students.

“There are things that have influenced what I envision my future home(s) to be like. I can incorporate small things into a current residence or bigger things like the kind of materials I use. But on a broader scale, how can I be more conscious of how my home functions with surrounding homes and communities,” Kunes said.

Bradley noted that this class was different due to COVID-19 related restrictions put on students this semester.

“Bringing us a challenge that has the potential for real impact was paramount. All too often students are given a very constrained problem set to work with, and the output is very tactical (redline a set of plans, design a logo, etc.). It was great to work on a challenge that asks larger questions of human behaviors and human futures,” according to Bradley.

Wellogy completes its first new building on the OSU campus

Wellogy is excited to introduce our first new building with The Ohio State University. The Frank Stanton Veterinary Spectrum of Care Clinic enhances the learning experience for the College of Veterinary Medicine students by providing a unique hands-on environment modeled after a small general practice. This new, innovative facility was made possible by a generous contribution from the Stanton Foundation. Dr. Frank Stanton was a former president of CBS and an avid dog lover.

Wellogy is the Architect of Record and worked with Bostwick Design Partnership as the Design Architect. Other team members include:

Elford, Inc.- Construction Manager at Risk
Osborn Engineering– MEP, Technology/ Communication, Security
Jezerinac Geers & Associates, Inc.– Structural Engineering
Korda/Nemeth Engineering – Civil Engineering/ Surveying
EDGE– Landscape Architect
BDA Architecture – Building Design for Animals– Small Animal Design Consultant
Susan Gladden– Interiors
Resource International, Inc.– Geotechnical Engineers
WSA– Signage & environmental graphics

Take a tour of the new facility!

Options for Vertical Transportation in the Wake of COVID-19

by Jennifer M. Bobbitt

As we cautiously emerge from our COVID-19 cocoons and individually expand our level of comfort in public settings, there are a few areas we may find ourselves stuck and confused about what to do. According to a recent article in NJ.com titled, “Elevators are a claustrophobic coronavirus nightmare. There may be new rules for riding them,” there are currently no state guidelines on elevators, nor does the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer any guidelines. This means if there is no direction provided, you are left to decide whether to board the elevator that could fill up with people and their germs, take the stairs, or hold your breath and hope others around you are doing the same.

By now, we’ve all heard the recommendations about maintaining a safe six-foot distance from others to avoid the possibility of spreading respiratory particles. With the average size of an elevator at six to seven feet wide and deep, you can quickly do the math and figure out that there is not much wiggle room to provide the safe space between multiple patrons. It’s also unrealistic to believe that everyone will follow the same protocol as you, whether in the elevator cab or the queuing lobby area. With an estimated 900,000 elevators in the United States and so many opportunities for breathing, sneezing, and coughing in a closed space, what do you do to stay safe and keep your building occupants safe in the age of the current pandemic?

According to Wellogy (formerly Davis Wince, Ltd.) Architect and Principal Julie Delos Santos, there are many options to explore, and it depends on the size of your building and the number of cars you have running. Delos Santos should know, in the past 20 years with the firm; she has made quite a name for herself as the go-to elevator resource. From the modernization of historic elevators at the Moyer Judicial Center, which houses The Supreme Court of Ohio, to the Bureau of Workers Compensation Elevator Modernization and numerous service and passenger elevator modernizations, Julie has managed projects to modernize over 75 elevators, including 24 with Destination Dispatch capabilities.

Wellogy and elevator consultant Lerch Bates have worked on multiple projects together. They have proven themselves as valuable problem solvers when faced with a myriad of elevator challenges, like the current ones posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Delos Santos is currently working with Lerch Bates on an elevator modernization project at The Ohio State University but points to the completion of another recent project as a possible safe spacing solution for large buildings. The Vern Riffe Destination Dispatch Elevator Modernization is the best example of creating an efficient and safer elevator experience, both now and in the future, according to Delos Santos.

The Vern Riffe State Office Tower houses the Ohio Governor’s office, at the heart of the COVID-19 task force. The 32-story building was completed in 1988 before the Destination Dispatch system was an available option. Wellogy led the multi-phased modernization of 18 elevators and their respective machine rooms. All work is being completed in the fully occupied high rise office building. The design team worked closely with the Owner to phase the work in such a manner to minimize any impact to the building occupants. According to Delos Santos, “We are currently looking at options that the new Destination Dispatch (DD) system can provide to aide in social distancing for vertical transportation. There are several social distancing options related to this system.”

What is the Destination Dispatch system, and why is it a good option for buildings moving forward or upward?

The Destination Dispatch system groups passengers together by the same destination. So instead of pressing the up or down button, you will push the button for the floor you wish to go to, or in some cases, swipe a card and therefore creating a touchless system. The system will then direct you to a specific car in the elevator line-up, where you join others going to the same or adjacent floors, decreasing the number of stops for each trip. There are no buttons in the elevator that need to be pushed.

The system can also be adjusted to limit the number of patrons in a car going to a particular floor. An example would be if three people want to go to the 5th floor, they would be directed to go to elevator A. The next three patrons also going to the 5th floor might be directed to elevator B, and so on. According to Delos Santos, this might cause another issue with an increased queue in the elevator lobby. However, there are multiple ways to address this. The building operations may shift to create a system for social distancing in the lobbies, or perhaps the building occupants are assigned to staggered work hours to minimize peak times. Traffic studies can help to provide direction. “That’s where we have to get creative and add in more direction and signage,” according to Delos Santos, who admits to problem-solving elevator challenges in her sleep. “It is more difficult for vertical transportation that does not have the Destination Dispatch system. For a typical elevator system, it would be helpful to mimic some of the DD system features,” Delos Santos said.

The installation of the Destination Dispatch system not only allows for better occupant spacing but an overall increased efficiency of the elevators. If implemented in a new building, the DD system may allow for fewer elevators to service the same population compared to a typical dispatch system. It will also enable the Owner to adjust the security levels they would like to implement on specific cars in real-time.

Elevator Studies and Assessments are also a critical part of the equation. Delos Santos notes that a usage study and an assessment of your current elevator system can provide insight as to the best solution for your building. “The answers often reveal themselves, and when working with an elevator consultant and our engineering partners, we can quickly execute a solution to keep things moving up through the current pandemic and whatever new standards the future holds,” according to Delos Santos.

What are some other alternatives for smaller buildings and offices in lieu of a major renovation?

Delos Santos notes a host of new products coupled with directional signage and other operational changes. One option is staggering start and end times for employees to help reduce congestion in the cars as well as the lobby. Other options include the addition of ultraviolet rays (UV-C) technology. According to an article in Send2PressNewswire.com, UV-C light has been used for over 70 years to kill viruses. Directional signage can also be a useful tool when incorporated in the lobby and cars with circles placed on the elevator floor, indicating which direction to face for the best protection. Other options noted in a recent NPR.org article, “The Office Elevator In COVID-19 Times: Experts Weigh in on Safer Ups and Downs,” includes using antiviral stickers for the elevator buttons or utilizing buttons that can be activated by your feet, and HVAC air purification systems. The article also recommends wearing a mask and using tissues or toothpicks to push buttons. According to Delos Santos, “There are options both large and small to help building owners manage the risk. It is important to assess your traffic patterns and work within your means to keep your building occupants safe in preparation for whatever lies ahead.”

6 Materials to Create a Healthier Environment

by Danielle King, IIDA, NCIDQ, LEED® GA

Perhaps you, like me, have become much more cautious of your environment as we move through new precautions due to COVID-19. Do you question what germs reside on that surface? Who touched this lever before me? How do I avoid touching the most common component of the door but still open it? What choices can we make in our environments that both ease our peace of mind and create a healthier atmosphere? A healthy interior space starts with healthy materials. Here are our picks for the top six healthy products that have created excitement amongst our design team…

1. Xorel ArtForm Panels

Benefit: Provides necessary acoustic properties as well as being bleach cleanable and red-list free.

2. Bradley’s WashBar Advantage

Benefit: Touchless soap + water + dryer fixtures ensure a cleansing process that is touch-free.

3. Chemetal Copper Laminate

Benefit: Studies have shown surfaces containing copper can slow the spread of acute respiratory diseases.

4. Fabrics with SiO silicone

Benefit: Inherent to bacterial growth and resistant to diluted bleach and most cleaners.

5. Shield’s solid surface casework

Benefit: Surfaces are durable, seamless, non-porous, and cleanable, thus the perfect solution for any healing environment.

6. Bradley Corp’s Verve 

Benefit: The cast-in-place quartz washbasin is seamless, non-porous, mold & mildew resistant, and resistant to household cleaners.

These are products I can get behind! Several of the products are also environmentally friendly. We are seeing a surge of healthy materials in the industry. As the demand for healthy products increases, so will the availability and choice. At Wellogy (formerly Davis Wince, Ltd.), our mission is to enrich people’s lives by creating places of well-being. This belief starts by specifying healthy materials. By selecting sustainable materials, we have a greater impact on the ingredients and processes that go into creating healthy spaces, and in turn, make for a healthier environment for all. Let’s get started, we have much to do to improve each and every space we inhabit.

Why We’re Turning our Offices into Blue Zones

by Jennifer M. Bobbitt

What are the Blue Zones? The term “Blue Zone” comes from Dan Buettner, author and National Geographic Fellow, who researches areas of the world where people live long healthy lives. His curiosity with those living into their 100’s led to the discovery of common themes in areas with high numbers of centenarians. Buettner and his team identified places in the world where there are high concentrations of those living over 100 and labeled them “Blue Zones.” What is it about those areas that encourage longevity, and why are we trying to recreate it in our Wellogy (formerly Davis Wince) offices?

“The Power 9” The research uncovered that the “secrets” to longevity aren’t secrets at all but simple, easy to obtain, and maintain lifestyle choices that, when put into action, can benefit people for a lifetime. Buettner brands the everyday lifestyle choices common among the Blue Zone regions as the “The Power 9”.

Wellogy thought it would be interesting to incorporate “The Power 9” into our office culture. Throughout the evolution of our firm, we’ve been exploring how to make a lasting impact and ignite change in health and wellness by rethinking the way we design communities, buildings, and homes. Our journey started when our design experience collided with our passion, and we discovered our purpose- To Create Places of Well Bing to Enrich People’s Lives. We accomplish this by incorporating intentionally designed elements that help communities thrive and proposer- a concept we call Healthy Urbanism™. To thoroughly explore our purpose, we decided to make healthy changes and support opportunities to learn more in the place where we spend our days- at work.

Following the Power 9 areas for improvement, we asked everyone to participate by taking a topic to research and present on at our weekly staff meeting. The presentations have been very informative, interactive, and all very unique.

Stretch time and standing desks in action in our Denver, CO office. Below: Wellogy President and Founding Principal, Buck Wince provides examples of office stretching.

Additionally, we asked a sample group from each office to take the Blue Zone True Vitality Test. According to the Blue Zone website, “calculates your life expectancy and how long you’ll stay healthy.” We also took the Blue Zone True Happiness Test “to improve your environment and maximize happiness.” The tests are based on leading scientific research and make recommendations to improve your well-being. We plan to retake the test at the end of our nine-week challenge to determine if we’ve improved our scores.  More important than the actual score, though, is the impact the changes are having on our day to day wellness. We’ve also explored the “The Blue Zone Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100” cookbook and shared recipes while encouraging healthy eating at our office Blue Zone breakfast.

Our monthly potluck/ cookouts focus on fresh and healthy foods.

From walking meetings, standing desks, stretching breaks, healthy snack options, and increased awareness of the benefits of plant-based diets, we have all learned something that we have taken home and incorporated into our daily lives. While we may not all live to be 100, working together to make changes to be better and create a healthier way of life for the next generation, benefits us all in hundreds of ways.

Can Architecture Affect Your Health?

by Jennifer M. Bobbitt

Can architecture affect your health? We passionately believe that it can. That’s why we’re working with partners engaged in designing a better way to live. From healthcare, senior housing, higher education, and our other market segments, the goals for each partnership are the same- to enhance and improve the quality of life by creating a new standard in the way we live and interact with the built environment.

We’re on a mission to incorporate elements of Healthy Urbanism™ into every project we deliver. What is Healthy Urbanism™? It’s the integration of intentionally designed elements that helps communities thrive and prosper. No matter what the size of the project, an impact occurs when the built environment is purposely designed for wellness, creating a ripple effect that places a priority on health. The result is a wellness-centered community with the potential for improved physical health, accessibility to medical care, healthy food, activity, and social interaction.

Our projects can be as broad as a surgery center in a new community to ensure better outcomes for its residents, and designing student dining halls with a focus on healthier choices, and as specific as designing buildings with sustainable materials that incorporate walking and bike paths to promote physical activity. At the heart of Healthy Urbanism™ is the drive to reimagine health by creating communities of wellness. We hope you’ll join us on the journey as we create places of well being to enrich people’s lives.

Wellogy designs Esports Arena at The Ohio State University

There’s a lot of buzz about the new Esports Arena designed by Wellogy (formerly Davis Wince, Ltd.) for The Ohio State University. Located in Lincoln Tower on the main campus, the arena supports the esports interdisciplinary curriculum that spans five colleges. The arena houses a room for competitive gaming with other universities as well as nearly 80 gaming computers, consoles, and virtual reality systems.