Biophilic Design - How Architecture Can Preserve the Human-Nature Connection

Biophilic Design - How Architecture Can Preserve the Human-Nature Connection

Ever taken a break from scrolling the internet on your computer to scroll the internet on your phone? You’re not the only one. The average human eye is glued to a screen for 6.5 hours every day, and we spend 93% of our time indoors.

As explained in my earlier blog about the Biophilia Hypothesis, research proves that the human-nature connection is vital to our well-being on every level. Just as we need to eat, we need time in nature to be healthy and happy. Industry leaders everywhere are taking notice of this research, and speculating innovative ways to help foster the human-nature connection. One sector applying this research to their daily practice is the architecture industry.

What is Biophilic Design?

Biophilic design is an architectural design framework that weaves the patterns and forms of nature into the built environment to strengthen the human-nature connection.

Biophilic design projects are popping up all over the world. These projects transform our everyday man-made environments such as office buildings, gyms, hotels, and apartments into oases of direct sunlight, fresh air, natural art, and living greenery.

How Does Biophilic Design Connect Us to Nature?

Biophilic design is much more than just adding a few plants to your workspace. Biophilic architecture incorporates a variety of important principles that inform the design.

  1. Visual Connection to nature.
  2. Non-Visual Connection (Sound, smell, taste, touch).
  3. Non-Rhythmic Sensory Stimuli (Consistent, yet unpredictable motion. Think ripples of water or a breeze through the trees).
  4. Thermal & Airflow Variability (Changes in air and surface temperature, humidity and airflow across the skin).
  5. Presence of Water
  6. Dynamic & Diffuse Light (Mimicking the lighting conditions or circadian processes in nature).
  7. Connection with Natural Systems (Awareness or proximity to natural processes, such as seasonal changes).

What are the Benefits of Biophilic Design?

These nature-inspired spaces help bring us back to Earth, and have a wealth of health benefits. Vibe Architecture, a leader in biophilic design, reports these incredible findings:

And if you still aren’t convinced, the Natural Resources Defense Council reports that opting for natural materials can reduce our exposure to chemicals found in common construction materials, allowing us to live longer. To read about the benefits at length, read the full article, or check out this study.

What Do Biophilic Design Projects Look like?

They’re incredible - and they’ll have you craving a complete work-from-home redesign in no time.

Here are my top 5 favorites:

5. Jose Selgas & Lucia Cano SelgasCano Office Space


SelgasCano Office Space - Biophilic Design | Human Nature Designs

Spanish architects Jose Selgas and Lucia Cano of SelgasCano have designed an office for their own practice, located in the woods near Madrid in Spain.


4. National Museum of Qatar by Koichi Takada Architects


National Museum of Qatar - Koichi Takada - Biophilic Design | Human Nature Designs

Koichi Takada Architects creates a wooden oasis inside the National Museum of Qatar, Photo taken by Tom Ferguson


3. Lisbon Residence Hall, by Collegiate AC


Collegiate AC - Lisbon Residence Hall - Biophilic Design | Human Nature Designs

A residence hall in Lisbon created by Collegiate AC, a company that specializes in creating and luxury student accommodations throughout the UK and Europe.


2. 1 Hotels, Miami and New York


1 Hotels - Biophilic Design | Human Nature Designs

1 Hotels in Miami and New York uses reclaimed materials from trees and other natural materials to make the interior feel like an outdoor retreat.


1. The Spheres - Seattle, Washington

The Spheres - Seattle, Washington - Biophilic Design | Human Nature Designs

The Spheres in Seattle feature 40,000 exotic plants, a tree house suspended under 40-foot trees, and walking paths next to cascading waterfalls.

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