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Designing for Health in HDR’s New Corporate Headquarters: From Planning through Evaluation

Many aspects of the built environment have effects on health and wellbeing throughout daily life, and designing for health must extend beyond healthcare. Hear the story of HDR’s new headquarters (HQ) and its role in the development of a vibrant and resilient mixed-used community in Omaha, Nebraska, USA. Originally a horse-racing track with expansive surface parking, the new development creates diverse opportunities for social engagement, healthy living, eating and shopping, and outdoor activities. The headquarters building itself was also designed with health promotion in mind, achieving Fitwel 3-Star certification. It offers ample access to natural light for all, spacious work stations, a variety of work space types to accommodate individual and collaborative activities, active stairs, bicycle storage and showers, and many other amenities. In order to assess the effects of the new work environment on employees, we conducted a natural experiment with pre- and post-measurement of the HQ and two control sites in other cities. We’ll share the story of the new neighborhood and workplace development, along with the findings from this groundbreaking study.