This Incredible Office Building Is Designed to Promote Employee Wellness

Ontological design is way cool.

Have you ever seen a building that incorporates a product into its design? You might be familiar with the famous Randy's Donuts facade, or have seen an ice cream shop built to resemble an ice cream cup; those are two obvious examples. But how would you incorporate into your building's design a more abstract product like, for example, if your business sold health insurance?


Enter: the HQ for Aussie insurance giant Medibank, designed by the noted international architecture firm Hassell.

As architect Rob Backhouse notes in the video above, the Melbourne-based Medibank wanted its office to be much more than an office. It wanted a multi-layered, integrated workplace that promotes collaboration, allows new ideas to percolate, and supports the wellness of employees. This is what Hassell came up with.

The main atrium features a rainbow spiderweb of different stairs (almost like something out of Harry Potter, though much more modern), which Backhouse explains contributes to the building's overall theme: movement. The building's design encourages employees to walk to their destination rather than take an elevator. Other wellness-based features include several green "retreat and rejuvenation spaces," which employees can use to duck away from the stresses of work. 

Medibank's HQ exhibits many of the key features of ontological design, which Big Think expert Jason Silva explains is the idea that our surroundings play a major unseen role in shaping our lives:

Since the building opened in 2014, a vast majority of Medibank employees have reported improvements in productivity and morale. Both Medibank and Hassell believe the new HQ has reshaped the company's culture — that the design has, as Silva would say, designed the company back, perhaps even in ways that may not be entirely noticeable to those on the receiving end. That's the big idea behind ontological design: Your subconscious is a canvas and your surroundings are the painter of your being.

As far as Medibank is concerned, if its fancy new building really has painted more productive and happy employees, then the partnering with Hassell was a major experimental success.

Source (and for additional photos): Dezeen

Photo: Hassell

**

Robert Montenegro is a writer and dramaturg who regularly contributes to Big Think and Crooked Scoreboard. He lives in Washington DC and is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Twitter: @Monteneggroll. Website: robertmontenegro.com.

Befriend your ideological opposite. It’s fun.

Step inside the unlikely friendship of a former ACLU president and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were unlikely friends. They debated each other at events all over the world, and because of that developed a deep and rewarding friendship – despite their immense differences.
  • Scalia, a famous conservative, was invited to circles that were not his "home territory", such as the ACLU, to debate his views. Here, Strossen expresses her gratitude and respect for his commitment to the exchange of ideas.
  • "It's really sad that people seem to think that if you disagree with somebody on some issues you can't be mutually respectful, you can't enjoy each other's company, you can't learn from each other and grow in yourself," says Strossen.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less

3 ways to find a meaningful job, or find purpose in the job you already have

Learn how to redesign your job for maximum reward.

Videos
  • Broaching the question "What is my purpose?" is daunting – it's a grandiose idea, but research can make it a little more approachable if work is where you find your meaning. It turns out you can redesign your job to have maximum purpose.
  • There are 3 ways people find meaning at work, what Aaron Hurst calls the three elevations of impact. About a third of the population finds meaning at an individual level, from seeing the direct impact of their work on other people. Another third of people find their purpose at an organizational level. And the last third of people find meaning at a social level.
  • "What's interesting about these three elevations of impact is they enable us to find meaning in any job if we approach it the right way. And it shows how accessible purpose can be when we take responsibility for it in our work," says Hurst.
Keep reading Show less

Physicist advances a radical theory of gravity

Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.

Photo by Willeke Duijvekam
Surprising Science
  • The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
  • The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
  • While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
Keep reading Show less

UPS has been discreetly using self-driving trucks to deliver cargo

TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company, has also engaged in test programs with the United States Postal Service and Amazon.


PAUL RATJE / Contributor
Technology & Innovation
  • This week, UPS announced that it's working with autonomous trucking startup TuSimple on a pilot project to deliver cargo in Arizona using self-driving trucks.
  • UPS has also acquired a minority stake in TuSimple.
  • TuSimple hopes its trucks will be fully autonomous — without a human driver — by late 2020, though regulatory questions remain.
Keep reading Show less