World First for Wellbeing at The Crown Estate’s One Heddon Street

17/06/2021

One Heddon Street is the first fully fitted co-working space in the world to achieve WELL CertifiedTM Platinum, the highest level on the leading international framework for health and wellbeing in buildings. Marking The Crown Estate’s entry into the flexible co-working office market, One Heddon Street offers a range of workspaces and services to reflect the evolving needs of customers.

First WELL Platinum fully fitted co-working space globally

Setting a global benchmark for healthy, flexible workplaces

100% let within six months of launch

Situation

The Crown Estate is committed to creating the best experience for visitors and members. One Heddon Street offers over 200 desks and a breadth of flexible memberships. Located in the heart of Regent Street, it provides five floors of workspace and a ground and first floor café. The Grade II-listed building has previously been a stable, art gallery, cinema and theatre.

The team sought to push the boundary with One Heddon Street. With wellness a key factor for co-working space, pursuing WELL certification was a fantastic way to demonstrate the credentials of the building. The design was at an advanced stage when the decision was made to seek WELL certification. However, the design only required small modifications to meet the WELL criteria, due to the health and wellbeing criteria already embedded into The Crown Estate’s Development Sustainability Principles, which the project was already fulfilling. 

The WELL Building Standard is the leading tool for advancing health and wellbeing in buildings and communities globally. The Crown Estate sees it as complementary to BREEAM ratings and part of the wider efforts to promote wellbeing, such as recent interim improvements to Regent Street’s public realm.

Launched in 2019, One Heddon Street achieved WELL certification in January 2021, following in the footsteps of The Crown Estate’s mixed-use development, The Marq in St James’s. The Marq, now fully let, is the first new-build project in the UK to achieve both WELL Gold Shell and Core and BREEAM New Construction Outstanding. The One Heddon Street project team also gained insights from The Crown Estate’s head office at 1 St James’s Market, the first WELL Platinum certified office in Europe.

Actions

A range of wellbeing features benefits members and contributes to One Heddon Street’s WELL Platinum certification. 
Air

  • Enhanced fresh air supply to the offices at a rate 50% above the minimum recommended level, with no recycled air. 
  • Air quality monitoring system with a dashboard displayed in the reception.
  • Selection of materials, furniture, fixtures and finishes with low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) for healthy indoor air.

Water

  • All water supplied to amenity areas is drinkable and filtered water is available in the kitchens on every floor to encourage hydration.

Nourishment

  • Complimentary fruit provided for members.
  • Herb garden on the terrace, using food growing to promote wellbeing and social interaction.

Light

  • Workspace layout designed to maximise natural daylight for all desks to support circadian rhythms and healthy sleep. All offices have windows to maximise light levels, vital for both physical and psychological wellbeing. 

Fitness

  • Cycle parking spaces for 16 bikes, six Brompton lockers and shower facilities for active lifestyles.
  • Nearly all desks are ergonomic, so people can sit or stand, encouraging movement during the working day.

Comfort

  • User controls put people in charge of their own thermal comfort, without the need to adjust the building temperature. Thermal comfort preferences are highly individual, based on a variety of factors, and so it would be nearly impossible to find indoor thermal comfort conditions that satisfy everyone. Providing individual controls enables occupiers to adjust conditions to their needs, resulting in improved comfort and expansion of thermal comfort acceptability limits. All internal spaces are monitored by a smart system platform which monitors thermal comfort in real time to optimise energy efficiency in the building and provide insightful analytical data on thermal comfort preferences.
  • Installation of acoustic management throughout reduces mechanical noise and vibration to improve productivity. 

Mind

  • Internal planting throughout the building, including a 40m2 living wall and an indoor garden, as well as trees on each floor. There is a wide variety of plants which purify air and remove toxics. These include Aglaonema stripes, Sansevieria Zeylanica, Zamioculca Zamiifolia, Nephrolepis Exaltata and Asplenium Nidus.
  • Communal terrace with planting and seating for all occupiers to enjoy. 

Additional wellbeing initiatives in and around One Heddon Street include:

  • The Crown Estate hosts a wellbeing programme for customers, including yoga, pilates and kickboxing sessions, lunch and learns, and creative workshops. This pivoted to virtual during Covid. Over 2020-21, the programme was moved online because of Covid-19. 2,829 customers from across the Central London portfolio attended fitness classes and 1,369 customers attended talks, covering topics such as financial wellbeing, nutrition and sleep.
  • The Crown Estate and Westminster City Council have delivered interim plans for Regent Street to help create a greener, safer and more accessible West End. These include 5,000m2 of additional paving space to improve the visitor experience and support social distancing, new cycle lanes for safe and active travel, and seating to support social interactions and relaxation, along with sustainable tree planting and greenery to boost biodiversity and improve air quality.

Financial

  • 1.3% construction cost uplift to take One Heddon Street from The Crown Estate’s Development Sustainability Principles standard to WELL Platinum certification. The Crown Estate’s high specification standards mean that projects are already delivered at top levels for health and wellbeing, so major interventions were not needed to reach WELL Platinum. However, additional attention to detail was needed in some areas, particularly lighting for circadian rhythms, biophilia and choice of materials.
  • The additional costs to achieve WELL Platinum were balanced against anticipated greater returns through enhanced customer appeal, including higher rental income and long-term asset value.
  • 100% let within six months of opening.

Benefits

  • Enhancing customer appeal. One Heddon Street has successfully attracted a broad range of businesses, including technology, media, finance, real estate, retail, construction and recruitment, from start-ups to established companies.
  • Empowering members to be healthier and happier, which supports productivity. The Crown Estate believes that WELL certification will boost customer confidence, due to knowing that they are returning to a workplace where health and wellbeing are prioritised, including best practice standards for air filtration and high levels of fresh air.
  • Supporting customers’ own wellbeing goals. There is growing customer interest in WELL certification, as evidenced at The Marq, where The Crown Estate delivered the shell and core to WELL Gold and a customer is progressing towards WELL Platinum certification for their space.
  • Piloting new wellbeing features, which The Crown Estate is now rolling out on additional projects across Central London and its Regional portfolio through its Development Sustainability Principles.
  • Encouraging best practice across the industry, with the project team taking lessons from One Heddon Street onto future projects.
  • Positive feedback from customers at One Heddon Street includes:
    • “The variety of spaces makes for greater collaboration and helps us adopt different working styles, leading to better work and a better atmosphere within the team.” Nick Ellsom, Founder of Fast Thinking 
    • “We wanted to find a co-working space that represented our culture, beliefs and brand values. After an extensive market search, we were introduced to Heddon Street, which was just what we were looking for. The location is excellent, and the space clearly has wellbeing at its core. We can’t wait to move in and enjoy all the benefits of Heddon Street!” Jess Sturkey, Finance Director at Philip Kingsley 

Challenges & Achievements

DESIGN

 

How to design for the highest standards of wellbeing?

Learnings from projects such as One Heddon Street help to shape future iterations of The Crown Estate’s design standards. The current Development Sustainability Principles, published in May 2019, include the requirement to incorporate WELL principles into developments and refurbishments. This includes focusing on indoor air quality, thermal comfort, biodiversity and accessibility at RIBA Stage 0, and monitoring the effectiveness of measures in use (RIBA Stage 7). This third version of The Crown Estate’s Development Sustainability Principles applies across all its development activity of its real estate portfolio, with one of its core outcomes focused on putting people at the heart of every development. Not all projects are targeting formal WELL certification, but they all incorporate the WELL principles. In addition, the architects Barr Gazetas and wider design team are now taking WELL principles to other projects and sharing insights with clients. Even where projects are not targeting formal WELL certification, there are opportunities to embed WELL principles, from biophilia features such as living walls, to technologies such as user controls, building analytic tools and circadian lighting.

 

OPERATIONAL

 

How to maintain WELL Platinum in operation?

WELL is a performance-based system. Every project is verified through on-site testing in operation. At One Heddon Street, The Crown Estate has introduced enhanced air quality monitoring, water sampling, temperature checks and audits as standard for the in-house engineering team. They have also piloted new cleaning protocols, in terms of choice of products and undertaking team training. Alongside the rollout of the One Heddon Street community wellbeing programme across the wider portfolio, this approach to cleaning is now being applied across The Crown Estate’s whole Central London portfolio.