On June 29, leading wellbeing provider Therme Group and the One Health Research Centre hosted a Wellbeing culture forum workshop at the Klosters Forum 2022 titled Wellbeing Infrastructure: A Call for a New Evidence-Based Approach Toward Built Environments. The workshop aligned with the TKF 22/23 overarching theme: Future of the Built Environment.
Wellbeing Infrastructure: A Call for a New Evidence-Based Approach Toward Built Environments, highlighted the power of Wellbeing Infrastructure in reshaping our urban landscapes to promote the health of human and natural environments, through the incorporation of regenerative architecture. The workshop was part of the One Health Research Centre’s year-round programme comprising discussions, working groups and research projects, aiming to bring together multidisciplinary experts and progressive leaders from the fields of climate science, environmental conservation and architecture to initiate actionable plans toward a realisable Wellbeing City. Prior initiatives in the programme include a paper presented by the One Health Research Centre at COP26, titled From Building to Growing Cities: A Position Paper on how climate-positive and health-promoting economic growth can be achieved by integrating nature-based solutions into the building code.
The workshop was co-moderated by Mikolaj Sekutowicz, Vice President of Therme Group and CEO and Co-Founder of Therme Art, and Sumayya Vally, architect and founder of Johannesburg-based architecture studio Counterspace, who invited participants to think about buildings across their full lifecycles and to envision the possibility of implementing measures by which the full impact of a building is to be accounted for.
Sumayya Vally presented a workshop that dissected the importance of considering representation in architecture and built environments, to reflect the diversity of perspectives of the people inhabiting them. She discussed the influences of the cultural richness and plurality of Johannesburg in her work, including the 2021 Serpentine Pavilion, and the urgency to create structures that concurrently honoured voices from across time, and reflected who we are in the present.
Participants shared and discussed examples of buildings and architecture they considered to have successfully established a symbiotic relationship with the natural world, with a focus on materials, integration into natural landscapes, as well as disintegration and regeneration over time. Examples were drawn from around the world and from history, and included: the mosque of Djenne, the living root bridges of India, a bamboo theatre designed by Xu Tiantian, Scandinavian suburban housing and Mediaeval hill cities such as San Gimignano in Italy, among others.
The workshop established more broadly that in order to strive towards a mode of building that is carbon negative, global communities must be presented with the tools and strategies to create a greener and more sustainable world. Wellbeing Infrastructure: A Call for a New Evidence-Based Approach Toward Built Environments successfully expanded the dialogue on our built environments, and the ways in which we approach infrastructure, beyond architecture and urban development professionals, to include a true diversity of perspectives and resulting in fruitful and impactful discussion on the future of our cities.
All images are courtesy of Julian Tse for Klosters Forum 2022.
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