Columbia Square Achieves WELL Certification

The residential tower at Columbia Square’s mixed-use development project in Hollywood has become the first residential project in California, and only the second in the United States, to earn WELL Multifamily Residential Certification under the WELL Building Standard (WELL).

Webcor built the project for Kilroy Realty Corporation, and it was designed by a team of architects: HRA (executive architect), Rios Clementi Hale Studios (design and landscape architect), and GBD (associate architect). GBD specified the healthy building materials and Webcor ensured that strict procedures were followed to integrate proper materials, ultimately helping to maintain a high-level of air quality pre- and post-construction.

Administered by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), WELL is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that promote the health and wellness of the people who live, work, and learn in these spaces. The residential component of Columbia Square includes 200 new apartments.

The residential tower features a forward-thinking, health-focused design that includes:

  • Performance-verified indoor air quality achieved through several different methods, including increased outdoor air and a suite of innovative filtration media
  • Extensive onsite fitness center
  • Health-focused building material choices
  • Increased daylight access
  • Augmented green cleaning program
  • Verified acoustic comfort
  • Biophilic environment
  • Performance-verified water quality


Cicely Rice, Webcor’s project director, collaborated closely with Kilroy and the design team to help document certification. “We are invested in WELL building as a company, and we were diligent with ensuring that Columbia Square met its certification goals,” said Rice. “We enjoyed working with Kilroy’s sustainability and facilities team to build California’s first certified multi-family WELL structure. We hope this work will spearhead the movement to optimize end-user health when considering innovative alternatives to traditional design and construction.”

Implementing WELL was not always easy, challenging the team during construction. Some of the challenges included:

  • Fan filters.The filters on the fans were designed early, which made it difficult to increase the size after the fact. To achieve the proper air quality, the building required ½” fan coils with charcoal filters; however, there AC problems with the units made it difficult to achieve client expectations.
  • Fumes from the garage traveled into the elevator shaft and were ultimately pulled into the units, making it challenging to meet air quality requirements necessary for the WELL precondition.
  • MERV 13 filters.Building facilities team members must change out the MERV 13 filters monthly on all outside air intakes, creating a financial and management burden.
  • Hard to manage behaviors with multi-family buildings such as overriding of in-unit controls, changing of building materials/shading, and tenant smoking inside where not permitted. Expectations that integrated materials and systems are maintained appropriately post construction is always a challenge for building operation teams.


The project is located on the historic Columbia Square campus, whose office buildings earned LEED Gold certification in 2016. The campus was also nominated for the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Commercial Real Estate Awards and ENR Award of Merit for Best Projects of 2017.


For more information, read Kilroy Realty’s Press Release.

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