Episode Overview:

What moves the needle for you? Joe Walker welcomes Iris Meeker LEED AP, WELL AP, Senior Interior Designer and Director of Sustainability for Walker Architects, and Dustin Stephany LEED AP, WELL AP, CEM, Sustainable Building Coordinator for the University of Florida. They review how the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed interior space design, focusing on student health and well-being. They discuss the crucial role building professionals play in influencing people's health, given the substantial time spent indoors, and highlight the importance of incorporating environmental responsibility, social equity, and health into architectural designs. The WELL certification process has sparked conversations about various aspects like sound, materials, light, and nourishment, enriching the student and staff experience.

Collaboration was key during the challenges faced in the design process. By educating and supporting each other, gathering valuable feedback from user groups, and engaging everyone involved, the team succeeded. The University of Florida's dedication to wellness and sustainable design aims to attract students from around the world, focusing on creating healthy and happy environments beyond financial returns.

Key Takeaways:

Key Takeaway 1: WELL Certification Impact: The University of Florida's Student Healthcare Center achieved WELL Platinum Certification, emphasizing a commitment to healthy and sustainable spaces. This certification prioritizes human health and well-being, incorporating biophilic design, adjustable workstations, and personalized spaces for occupant comfort.

Key Takeaway 2: Collaboration and Education: Successful project implementation relied on extensive team collaboration and education. Monthly WELL coordination meetings, regular communication, and mutual coaching fostered teamwork, integrating sustainable practices and promoting continuous learning among design and operational teams.

Key Takeaway 3: Creating Community and Collaboration: The design process emphasized community and thoughtful discussions, with environmental graphics and signage reflecting the Gainesville community. Incorporating nature elements and biophilic design fostered a sense of community and ownership among staff and students. Early stakeholder engagement and evidence-based research were key to navigating new criteria and resistance, leading to successful sustainable design outcomes.

Connect with Dustin Stephany LEED AP, WELL AP, CEM: Sustainable Building Coordinator in Planning, Design, and Construction at the University of Florida:

Dustin has a B.A. in Architectural Engineering and a B.A. in Construction Management. After graduating, Dustin traveled to Europe on a fellowship to learn simple building design techniques for minimizing construction and demolition waste.

He followed that up with a Master’s in Building Construction with a Sustainability focus at UF. Dustin’s early career work included building hospitals. He also held a position as an engineer in downtown Chicago designing military buildings and providing sustainability design concepts to international clients.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dustinstephany/

Connect with Iris Meeker LEED, AP, WELL AP: Director of Sustainability, Senior Interior Designer at Walker Architects

A successful design carefully integrates interior space with the architecture and systems of the building. Iris brings 20 years of blended project management experience in Interior Design and Sustainability. Her project experience includes higher education, healthcare, corporate, religious, and municipal projects. She enjoys working collaboratively with project team members and clients to achieve sustainability goals and has worked to achieve LEED certification for many projects. Iris brings to Walker Architects a strategic focus on embedding sustainable initiatives within the design process, and a deep understanding of the critical importance of durability, maintenance, schedule and budget. Iris is committed to volunteering in her community and believes that successful interior design should be cohesive with its architecture and support the culture of the people within the space.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/irismeeker/
Website: https://walker-arch.com/

Follow Joe Walker

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joe-walker-335b0914/
Website: https://walker-arch.com/