Biophilic Design – What Is It?

Biophilic Design Benefits

Biophilic design can reduce stress, enhance creativity and clarity of thought, improve our well-being and expedite healing; as the world population continues to urbanize, these qualities are ever more important. Theorists, research scientists, and design practitioners have been working for decades to define aspects of nature that most impact our satisfaction with the built environment.

Working with Biophilic Patterns

While informed by science, biophilic design patterns are not formulas; they are meant to inform, guide and assist in the design process and should be thought of as another tool in the designer’s toolkit. The purpose of defining these patterns is to articulate connections between aspects of the built and natural environments and how people react to and benefit from them.

After each pattern is defined, it is then discussed in terms of the following:

  • The Experience briefly considers how the pattern might impact the way a space feels;
  • Roots of the Pattern highlights key scientific evidence that relates human biology to nature and the built environment;
  • Working with the Pattern highlights design attributes, examples, and considerations; and
  • Relation to Other Patterns briefly notes opportunities for integrative biophilic design strategies.

Why Is Biophilic Design Relevant Today?

The World Health Organisation expects stress related illness, such as mental health disorders and cardio-vascular disease, to be the two largest contributors to disease by 2020.  With a diminished connection to nature, the increasing pressure on urban space & the ubiquitous  technological presence we have less opportunity to recuperate our mental and physical energy.

Incorporating direct or indirect elements of nature into the built environment have been demonstrated through research to reduce stress, blood pressure levels and heart rates, whilst increasing productivity, creativity and self reported rates of well-being.

Businesses at the vanguard of work place design such as Apple, Google and Amazon are investing heavily in Biophilic Design elements. These principles are shown to improve worker concentration, engagement and cognitive ability but also to attract and retain staff in the “war for talent”.

How Do We Implement Biophilic Design?

The biophilic design can be implemented by taking these steps into consideration:

  • optimization and organisation of spaces with a human focus
  • thermal comfort levels
  • air quality, toxin levels and ventilation
  • acoustic comfort
  • improved natural and artificial lighting
  • internal and external views onto nature
  • the use of natural materials textures, patterns and colours
  • the incorporation of recuperative spaces
  • aesthetic environment with brand recognition
  • psychological and physiological effects of the space

Do you like this design? Would you implement it in your home?

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