Olga Turner Baker is the co-founder and director of Ekkist, a consultancy providing design advice on health and wellbeing in the built environment.
She is a Chartered Surveyor and WELL Building Standard™ Accredited Professional and has been included in 2019 Forbes 30 under 30.
I’m no architect, but I enjoy a beautifully designed home like anyone else. I learned about sustainable homes when I interviewed Mihai Toader-Pasti, but the concept of designing homes to human wellness principles was new to me.
Since Olga Turner Baker is a WELL Building Standard™ Accredited Professional, I reached out inviting her to share her story with us.
1. You design houses which improve the health and wellbeing of their occupants by following the WELL Building Standard™ principles. When did you decide to dedicate your career to building healthy houses?
I have always been interested in ways in which we can improve the design and build quality homes. I came across the WELL Building Standard at a conference and was instantly inspired and thought: why aren’t we building places in this way already? There is a huge amount of medical research outlining how we can create healthier places to live and work but very little practical application of this. I wanted to change this.
2. The WELL Building Standard is fairly new. Were there any challenges implementing its principles?
The WELL Building Standard is still fairly new, particularly in the UK, but it is a growing global movement gaining huge traction. The main challenges are as with any early adopters: providing enough evidence that this will improve build quality and add value for developers and landlords, taking examples of where it has worked well and encouraging those to be applied more widely.
3. Share with us your vision of the future.
As evidence of the benefits of creating healthy buildings grows, designing and constructing buildings in this way will become the norm. The WELL Building Standard will encourage the industry to be more mindful of the materials used in construction and of the human aspects of design, changing the way we build forever.
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