NEXT Generation of Science—Health and Wellness

John Swift, Buro Happold

Gensler's Future of Science Building research project began with reimagining how a science building could be a better caretaker of our tenants, differentiate itself for our developer clients, and how it decarbonizes itself for our world. The NEXT lab building puts a premium on natural ventilation and fresh air--one of the most desired workplace amenities--ensuring each floor has direct access to outdoor spaces that run up and down the building.

With a focus on natural ventilation, this session will share insights into what our future-ready science building will function like, feel like, and look like--all measured by data--and how it's meeting the evolving needs of science workplace tenants who are increasingly looking for spaces that can promote the health and wellbeing of their employees and of the communities in which they're located.

Learning Objectives

  • Explore the impacts of health and wellness strategies on worker productivity, recruitment, and retention;
  • Discuss the energy and decarbonization impacts of a natural ventilation approach for non-lab spaces including the ability to spend 34% of total occupied hours in natural ventilation mode, helping to yield energy savings of 30% compared to a conventional lab building;
  • Demonstrate how to design and implement pressure gradients in natural ventilation areas and the lab mechanical ventilation approach that ensures lab ventilation systems promote the highest levels of occupant health and safety; and
  • Examine the pros and cons of unfiltered outside air in naturally ventilated spaces.


John is a Partner with the firm and the Global Sector Leader for Health-Sci-Tech. He has held leadership positions with ASHRAE, the U.S. State Department, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the USGBC. John focuses on the quality of the environment experienced by the occupants of buildings and neighborhoods through utilizing resilient solutions.


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