To demonstrate how today’s healthy workplace can function, Armstrong Ceiling & Wall Solutions recently renovated a 10,000-square-foot workspace on its corporate campus in Lancaster, Pa. Named the Living Lab, the new workspace was created in partnership with architectural firm Gensler and designed with optimal acoustics, lighting, cleanliness, comfort, and exceptional air quality in mind. Armstrong employees work in the fully-equipped office space, providing feedback on the functionality of both individual and collaborative areas.
Intended to be a testing ground
Designed with indoor environmental quality at the forefront, the Living Lab is intended to be a testing ground and to push the limits of innovation of a workplace model that embodies a “healthy spaces” philosophy. Innovations resulting from the Living Lab range from systems creating cleaner air and enhancing effectiveness of HVAC systems to piloting new installation methods, materials, and design concepts.
Bringing the outdoors in is an important theme. To introduce more natural light into the space, existing offices along perimeter windows were removed. Other biophilic design elements in the Lab include numerous hanging plants, warm wood tones, and deep, earthy colors.
Lab houses eight distinct areas
Once inside the Living Lab, the first element employees and visitors encounter is a large 5’ x 20’ wall-mounted dashboard that displays detailed real time information about the Lab’s indoor environmental quality. Building metrics displayed include air quality, carbon dioxide level, humidity, temperature, and other biomechanical data. The intent is to assure occupants they can feel confident in their surroundings while working in the space.
The Living Lab itself houses eight distinct areas. They include the main entrance, a work lounge and café, 24 open office workstations, an ideation area, a hands-on “maker” space designed to allow teams to work on new products for testing, huddle spaces and focus rooms, conference rooms, and an outdoor working space.
Features safe, healthy products
A myriad of ceiling and wall products from the Armstrong 24/7 Defend portfolio are installed throughout the space to reassure those retuning to work that they are surrounded by materials and systems that work 24/7 to keep them safer and healthier.
Those products include both AirAssure gasketed ceilings to reduce air leakage through the ceiling plane and VidaShield UV24 self-contained UV air purification systems to maintain indoor air quality. Total Acoustics ceilings, including AcoustiBuilt seamless acoustical ceilings that look like drywall, provide a combination of sound absorbing and sound blocking. Environmentally, all of the ceilings in the Living Lab are part of the Armstrong Sustain portfolio and meet the highest sustainability standards in the industry today.
Earned WELL Health-Safety Certification
Upon completion, the Living Lab earned a WELL Health-Safety Rating Certification seal from the International WELL Building Institute. It achieved 17 credits including two innovation credits. It also earned an Air Quality Recognition Award from HVAC provider, Trane, for its clean air.
The reaction by both employees and visitors to the workplace has been very positive.
The most common comment is that it looks like the future of work. To learn more about the Living Lab, go to armstrongceilings.com/livinglab.