For Christine Bruckner, ‘Build a Better Normal’ means prioritizing the wellbeing of people and the planet

July 15, 2020



Gabrielle de la Cruz and Judith Arellano Torres

Embracing a workplace paradigm shift prioritizing human wellbeing and planetary stewardship through design’ — that is the title of Dr. Christine Bruckner’s presentation at the upcoming LIXIL Design DeepDive™ Live Session, which will be hosted on the American Standard Facebook page on July 22nd. 

As architects, we must continue to be relentless in the design of spaces that heal, inspire and empower,” says Dr. Bruckner, who, as Director for M Moser Associates, has long advocated best practice, sustainability, and wellness in design.

Not only must architects be relentless in designing healthy and empowering spaces, but they must also “do so at ever-increasing scales to create vibrant, safe, and energizing communities,” Bruckner wrote in an email to BluPrint’s former editor, Judith Torres, who is moderating the Design DeepDive™ Live Sessions, ‘Build a Better Normal.’

M Moser Associates’ design for the Beam Suntory office in Singapore. “The office communicates a sense of comfort through natural materials and biophilia. Meeting rooms are located around the core of the floor plan to infuse maximum daylight inside the open office, with unobstructed views of the Singapore skyline.”

M Moser Associates is a leading global workplace design company that aims to transform the way people work. Established in 1981, Moser says they design to inspire innovation and foster social experiences in offices and workspaces. Will COVID-19 and the threat of future pandemics impact Moser’s design philosophy and the way they live up to it? 

Apparently not. Bruckner’s first call to architects is to create “life-affirming, creativity-provoking, healthy places for people,” an advocacy the firm has espoused since 2014, after research led them to support the then newly-established International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).

At no time has this advocacy been proven so urgently needed than in this age of the novel coronavirus. Architects play the leading role in making life-affirming places a reality, says Bruckner. For most design firms and developers, however, this design goal and mindset require a paradigm shift.

“As the first WELL Gold-certified office in the global chemical industry, Covestro’s new workplace in Shanghai sets the standard for future-proofed work environments through dedication to staff wellbeing and sustainability,” M Moser Associates says.

FOR MORE INFO ON THE ONLINE SESSIONS: Are you ready to build a better normal? 

Convincing clients to adopt new ways is Bruckner’s forte. “Architects must be relentless in the design of spaces that heal, inspire, and empower,” she reiterates and relentless she is. As an early adapter of WELL Building principles, Bruckner leads M Moser’s global WELL integrative design solution initiatives. Her focus is working with client and community stakeholders to encourage deep-dive investigation, coordination, and sustainable best practice. She brings her experience with urban integration, revitalization, and design excellence to guide the development of the built environment at all scales. 

“The office would be the first point of contact for people aspiring to join this young and unconventional firm. The finished design makes its impression the moment one steps out of the lift. The reception area is expansive, with two-thirds of its area covered by a shimmering water feature. Masan logos evocatively break the water’s surface like stepping stones,” M Moser Associates says. The company designed Masan Group’s office in Singapore by “connecting business with the world.”

“The current COVID-19 response is pushing the boundaries of the workplace as we know it and accelerating its evolution. As architects, we see the challenges this propelled change poses as unique opportunities to innovate and redefine best practices towards a sustainable, healthy future,” Bruckner wrote in M Moser’s website last April. Come July 22, Christine Bruckner will share more about the workplace paradigm shift that she espouses for M Moser, and the positive outcomes their clients achieve when they embrace the shift.

“While many of the metrics for workplace design for employee wellbeing may appear to be straightforward engineering solutions regarding fresh air, water filtration, and acoustic measurements, wellness design encompasses far more. It is the elegance and integrity of the holistic design solution, responding directly to a full spectrum of needs, that results in an ability to transform.” 

For example, clients, users, and visitors of M Moser Associates’ Hong Kong office space, which they designed, were surveyed. Bruckner says that they “cannot discern exactly why they feel good in spaces designed for health and wellbeing, but they absolutely feel the intangible spatial qualities that enhance their experience.” She underscores that over the long term, this translates into real benefits of productivity, creativity, and positively impacts the bottom line. 

M Moser Associates transformed a mixed-used building constructed in 1992 into a modern healthcare facility to support the area’s urban regeneration goals. The Shanghai United Family Hospital “not only supports world-class healthcare services but establishes a compelling form to elevate its surroundings.”

Bruckner enthusiastically agreed to speak at the LIXIL Design DeepDiveLive Sessions because it is M Moser Associates’ hope that global best practice standards will continue to rise and spread globally, particularly now, with people’s heightened awareness and concern for their health and very survival. Speaking at the first virtual edition of the International Living Future Institute’s Living Future 20 Summit last month, she addressed architects and designers saying, “This is a momentous opportunity to work together to create a livable, resilient future with a focus on health and wellness. Every design decision we make matters.” 

Being a LEED AP and BEAM professional and her experience in community building and placemaking compel Bruckner to make her third call to architects “to create equitable, vibrant, safe communities which touch lightly on our shared planet.” This resonates with the advocacy of the National Organization for Minority Architects, based in Chicago, which recently launched a campaign for design excellence that fosters justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI).

M Moser Associates- Christine Bruckner-SAIC, Shanghai
“Stepping into the next century of innovation, SAIC’s design acts as a vehicle to integrate its people into the future. This master planning project combines landscape planning and building repurposing on a new site with a scale and flexibility that provides a bigger picture perspective of the change in business vision, ways of working, and management,” M Moser Associates says.

How do these principles apply in the workplace? How does a healthy workspace create a healthy office culture and sense of community? How does M Moser Associates guide clients through the decision making process to embrace prioritizing human wellbeing and planetary stewardship? In the harsh light of COVID-19 and climate change, can big business still afford to view a built environment that promotes health, wellbeing, inclusivity, resilience, and sustainability as a luxury?  

Christine-Bruckner-Mumbai,India-M Moser Associates project
A Specialty Pharmaceutical Company in Mumbai, India requested M Moser Associates to study inserting its program into a very tight interior block site. “The result is a building of great strength, with the ability to perform as an integrated vertical research and office campus.”

Watch the three-part LIXIL Design DeepDive™ Live Sessions – Philippines and join the discussions. The theme of the three live sessions is ‘Build A Better Normal.’ The first one kicks off on July 22 with the sub-theme, ‘Advising Clients in a Brave New World.’ Stream it live from 2:00 PM to 3:15 PM (UTC+8) on the American Standard Facebook page. 

Christine Bruckner will be joined by speakers Sigrid Zialcita, President and CEO of Asia Pacific Real Estate Association and Jojo Tolentino, President & CEO of AIDEA. Responding to the speakers and initiating the Q&A with the audience are reactors Cherie Fernandez, VP for Developments at Federal Land,  Toni Vasquez, CEO and Principal Architect of T.I. Vasquez Architects & Planners; and Dexter Lee, Managing Director of Luana Lifestyle and Leisure Hotel and co-developer of Lotus Central Mall.

Watch out for more updates here on BluPrint, the exclusive media partner of LIXIL Design DeepDive™ Live Sessions – Philippines, co-presented by LIXIL brands American Standard, GROHE, and INAX

Design DeepDive™ Live Sessions is a LIXIL Asia Pacific regional activity, with the first webinar series hosted by India and Build a Better Normal hosted by the Philippines.

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