Designing for wellness

BSBG’s award winning design of Sweid & Sweid’s Banyan Tree Residences – Hillside Dubai embraces urban design virtues, but with additional focus on the provision of peaceful surrounds, green spaces, and on encouraging health and wellbeing for residents. We call it active design, or design for wellness. 

The growing practice of designing for health and well-being is founded on numerous research papers identifying planning and architecture as key pillars of support for healthy, happy communities. Society – and governments – are perhaps more acutely aware of the need for healthy living, both in body and mind, than at any point in living history.Banyan Tree Residences - Hillside Dubai - designing for wellness

Active Design

Active design, as it has been coined, is a concept developed to help us all live better. It includes initiatives that look at all aspects of design for health; including physical, mental, and social wellbeing. These initiatives cover architectural and interior design, as well as masterplanning and landscaping. The idea is to optimise the setting and concept, using parameters identified as key to encouraging and enabling a higher standard of healthy living. 

“At Banyan Tree Residences – Hillside Dubai, the architecture incorporates many elements that encourage residents to relax, and disengage from the stress that can be associated with the fast-paced nature of working life in Dubai,” Head of Design Armin Buchbinder explains. “But we also want residents to remain active – whether that’s simply walking through the beautifully landscaped grounds, or taking part in a yoga class, swimming or going to the gym, as well as receiving relaxation treatments in the Banyan Spa.”Banyan Tree Residences - Hillside Dubai - designing for wellness“The wellbeing of residents took prevalence in our approach to design – not only physical wellbeing, but mental wellbeing. It’s well documented that people respond to being surrounded by nature, by green spaces, trees and water. Landscaping of the 110,000 square metre plot has focused in on this. Walking through the grounds is a serene and calming experience, with tree-lined walkways, lush green lawns and decorative elements that focus on reinforcing that connection to nature.”

Community Inclusion

The Banyan Tree Residences design also aspires to create a community feel for residents. Numerous research studies have shown that people feel far happier when they are part of a friendly and welcoming neighbourhood. Another aim for the development is to enable residents to feel included in their community; able to interact with people just like them, away from the stress of work, in an environment that encourages relaxation and provides a platform for escape from the noise, hustle and bustle of one of the world’s busiest cities.Banyan Tree Residences - Hillside Dubai - designing for wellnessIt’s rare to find a building in the city that encourages interconnection between residents in this way. Most commonly a vague acknowledgement in an elevator might be the most social interaction one could hope for in Dubai. With such an array of community-focused features, Banyan Tree Residences – Hillside Dubai has aspirations of forging a unique connection among its residents. The expansive, pristine lawns will be used for group yoga sessions, and in the cooler months provide the perfect backdrop for a picnic with friends. There is a café with a welcoming terrace which will likely become a popular meeting point, the large gym, spa and swimming pool area have all been designed to encourage people with common interests to connect with one another, and last but not least, there are multiple kid’s activity areas, which include a playground and climbing wall. The community aspirations within the design are there for all to see, but the creation of a sense of well-being has also been moved to the interior spaces; both private and public.Banyan Tree Residences - Hillside Dubai - designing for wellness“The quality of design features, materials and finishings dictate the overall space which impacts directly on the end user experience,” Armin says. “Within each of the residential units, we have made certain that natural light in each room is maximised with floor to ceiling windows, and that all units benefit from the captivating panoramic views across Dubai; from the immediate green surrounds of the adjacent golf courses, to the sea and skyline in the distance. Sweid & Sweid as the developer insists on high-end finishings and materials in their buildings, and so within each apartment one will find the ambience to be nothing short of immaculate, and a space to really take pride in.”

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The Banyan Tree Residences – Hillside Dubai concept is targeted at helping people live happier and healthier lives. In much the same way as sustainable design has become a la mode over the course of the last decade, heightened awareness of the part architecture has to play in wellbeing could see many developers attempting to replicate the aspirations for the project. It’s an approach that has garnered the award for the Best Architectural Multiple Residence in Dubai at the International Property Awards 2018, but more importantly than that, it’s an approach that promises residents a community-focused place where they’re able to find relaxation and a stress-free lifestyle; living within an environment specifically tailored for happiness and well-being, offering all the amenities of a five-star resort right on their doorstep.