Living Well

by Rona Berg

A residence in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village is the first in the world to be certified under the new living WELL Building Standard

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Living room in a floor-through Delos apartment, designed by Sue Firestone of NY- and LA-based sfa design. Photography by Evan Joseph.

A few years ago, Paul Scialla, then a partner at Goldman Sachs, was renovating his loft in lower Manhattan. “I wanted to enhance the space by adding in some spa-like wellness amenities,” says Scialla. He did his research and discovered, to his surprise, that the types of wellness solutions he had in mind weren’t available for homes. “While there was such a large focus on green building and environmental sustainability, I started wondering, ‘Why stop at environmental sustainability? Why not focus on human sustainability as well?’”

So he brought together a team of experts that included architects, engineers and doctors from leading institutions like the Cleveland Clinic and Columbia University Medical Center to undertake a collaborative research and development project. The roster grew to include thought leaders like Terry McAuliffe, Dick Gephardt, Dr. Deepak Chopra, and others, who shared excitement about the idea of integrating cutting edge research in medical science and technology with design.

Wellness Living

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Spiral staircase in Delos penthouse apartment leads up to the roof. Photography by Evan Joseph.

After six years, the Delos “Wellness Living” concept  (—a shift in focus from external (clean energy, sustainable materials) to internal (how your environment directly impacts your health)—was ready to roll out. Delos introduced the first Stay Well™ hotel rooms at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in 2012, and quadrupled that number early this year.

But here’s the news flash: In April, the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) announced that it will provide third-party certification for the WELL Building Standard, a new pilot certification developed by Delos and administered by the International Well Building Institute (IWBI). The WELL Building Standard sets performance requirements in seven areas: air, water, light, nourishment, fitness, comfort and mind. “WELL incorporates evidence-based wellness amenities into homes, offices and other built environments to enhance residents’ health and well-being as an integral part of sustainable building practice,” says Scialla.  It was created through Delos’ six years of research with medical facilities. GBCI and the International Well Building Institute will oversee the updates and all professionals credentialed to certify LEED will also be able to certify WELL.

The World’s First

Delos founder Paul Scialla. Photography by Evan Joseph.

Delos founder Paul Scialla. Photography by Evan Joseph.

As we went to press, the world’s first WELL-certified residence was not 100 percent complete, but here is a sneak peek at a floor-through apartment at 66 East 11th Street, a five-residence building in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village with wellness cred that is so impeccable, Deepak Chopra just bought an apartment there.

The luxury apartments include a ventilation system that filters, purifies and humidifies air; Circadian lighting that provides energizing light in the morning and light for minimum sleep disruption at night. An advanced water purification system provides building-wide particle, carbon and ultraviolet purification; sediment and carbon air filtration removes allergens, pathogens, pollen and other pollutants from the air. A posture-supportive, floating flooring system and reflexology stone pathways activate and support the muscular systems. Centralized aromatherapy dispensers boost energy and provide an array of mood-enhancing aromas.

Facade of the new Delos apartment building in Manhattan, the first residences to be certified under the WELL Building Standard pilot program. Photography by Evan Joseph.

Facade of the new Delos apartment building in Manhattan, the first residences to be certified under the WELL Building Standard pilot program. Photography by Evan Joseph.

And a Wellness Concierge, curated by Donna Karan’s Urban Zen™, will arrange wellness appointments including acupuncture, yoga, spa and meditation from New York’s best teachers and practitioners.

“By infusing wellness into the built environment, Delos has pioneered a new movement that offers individuals a healthier living solution,” says Dr. Chopra. “There is nothing in the world more important than good health, and I am overjoyed to move into a home that is both environmentally and biologically sustainable.”

Leonardo DiCaprio is an investor and recently joined the Delos Advisory Board. “Delos’ wellness designs will change the way living spaces are built and will have a profound impact on the green building movement,” says DiCaprio. “Together, we are creating a better, more sustainable future for our planet.”

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