• QA+M Architecture

Fitwel for a Healthier Future

QA+M Architecture is a community that values professional development. We are continuously investing and participating in industry organizations, educational programs, and various credential pursuits. Our enthusiasm for these initiatives is fueled by a dedication to creative, informed designs.

As a part of this community, Designer Victoria Fagan recently expanded her breadth of design expertise.

After graduating from Long Island University Brooklyn, Victoria earned a Master of Architecture from Roger Williams University in 2019. She joined QA+M Architecture shortly after, augmenting her portfolio with community, housing, and educational projects, and a specialty in rendering production.

Now, Victoria is a proud Fitwel Ambassador.

Right: As an avid golfer, Designer Victoria Fagan embraces health and wellbeing in and out of the office.

Created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. General Services Administration, The Fitwel System is a building standard that is dedicated to the advancement of occupant health and well-being by encouraging health-conscious improvements to building design.

Now more than ever, designers are seeking their Fitwel Certification. With thousands of ambassadors across 50+ countries and Fitwel Champions like Anthem, Inc. and Cushman & Wakefield, Fitwel is forging a future where all buildings are thoughtfully designed to prioritize, support, and elevate the health of its inhabitants.

It was this increase in Fitwel Ambassadors that piqued Victoria’s interest. She notes that the surge in COVID restrictions has caused architects to carefully consider their responsibility to the built environment. “The Fitwel System is advocating for the well-being of people. I want to be a part of that movement.”

The Fitwel Certification goes beyond the standard and expected; while things like good air quality are a given, Fitwel addresses aspects of chronic illnesses, mental health, and fitness, taking wellness a step further.

According to Fitwel’s Seven Health Impact Categories, design strategies that encourage people to take the stairs, increase views throughout a space, and consider changes in lighting can a have huge impact on building occupants, including decreases in depression and absenteeism.

Above: In this resimercial office fit-out, efficient workstations were intentionally designed and positioned to take advantage of the woodland view. Sit-stand desks offer comfort while a cheerful palette energizes the space.

Resimercial office fit-out: efficient workstations were intentionally designed and positioned to take advantage of the woodland view. Sit-stand desks offer comfort while a cheerful palette energizes the space.

Victoria was particularly drawn to Fitwel’s commitment to psychological health. The daughter of a psychology professor, mental health has always been a household topic. Now, she aims to bring cognitive health to the built environment. “One thing COVID has taught us is that mental health should be a top priority.”

Though anyone can become a Fitwel Ambassador, including people who are not AEC professionals, architects have a special responsibility. “Aside from the Owner’s guidance, we designers have a lot of control. If we have the ability to design a healthy building but do not, we are doing a disservice to the community at large.”

Victoria believes the success in the Fitwel System lies in sharing her knowledge with others, including building owners. “In design conversations, I can communicate to clients how particular design features have certain benefits, including increased productivity.”

Victoria plans to continue the conversation with other Fitwel Ambassadors, educate fellow emerging professionals, and encourage everyone to receive their Fitwel Certification. She hopes to use her newfound knowledge to improve the overall health and well-being of the communities we serve by implementing the Fitwel System into the design process.

In a time when health is paramount, we designers must use our skills as the creative problem solvers to make the necessary changes for a healthier future.

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