Biophilic design is also about bringing nature and its elements inside. It is a well researched fact that bringing nature indoors improves indoor air quality, boosts any building occupant's mood and productivity and reduces stress levels. (Some of the best known research into indoor nature was undertaken by NASA for astronauts being sent to space.)
By incorporating plants, natural materials and organics into a living space in the built environment, your whole world charges. The kinds of things that directly contribute to our good health and survival have, for a long time, been left out of high rise, shopping malls and offices. But we have come to understand how important it is for us to have nature in our lives. In architecture, it's called Biophilic Design.
Recognising that we exist within connected and related environments bound together in ecosystems, or habitats, has an enormously positive impact on our well being.
A report on the patterns of Biophilic design cited:
"BIOPHILIA IS THE HUMANKIND’S INNATE BIOLOGICAL CONNECTION WITH NATURE. IT HELPS EXPLAIN WHY CRACKLING FIRES AND CRASHING WAVES CAPTIVATE US; WHY A GARDEN VIEW CAN ENHANCE OUR CREATIVITY; WHY SHADOWS AND HEIGHTS INSTILL FASCINATION AND FEAR; AND WHY ANIMAL COMPANIONSHIP AND STROLLING THROUGH A PARK HAVE RESTORATIVE, HEALING EFFECTS."
One of the key reasons Biophilic design is important is the way it considers the overall setting or habitat - and not a single or isolated occurrence of nature. (Like sticking a pot plant in one corner or simply lining up your succulents into a nice design. Good start though.) And it is this ecosystem of nature nurture that supports good health and fitness in a build environment.
Recognising that we exist within connected and related environments bound together in ecosystems, or habitats, has an enormously positive impact on our well being. According to expert Stephen Kellert in Metroplis:
"WE ARE JUST BEGINNING TO FIND THAT THESE ENVIRONMENTALLY IMPOVERISHED HABITATS FOSTER FATIGUE, SYMPTOMS OF DISEASE, AND IMPAIRED PERFORMANCE, AND THE SIMPLE INTRODUCTION OF NATURAL LIGHTING, OUTSIDE VIEWS, AND VEGETATION CAN RESULT IN ENHANCED HEALTH AND PRODUCTIVITY."
At work, when we are connected to daylight, we are sick less and are more focused and productive. In our homes, we can feed our sense of wellbeing by blurring the division between inside and outside and bringing nature in through doors, windows, natural patterns and materials.
Biophilic design incorporates both direct and indirect experience of nature, so it's not all about plants and ponds. This is a summary of elements from Kellert and Calabrese, The Practice of Biophilic Design:
Light | Air | Water | Plants | Animals | Natural Landscapes and Ecosystems | Weather
Images of Nature | Natural Materials | Natural Colours | Mobility and Wayfinding | Cultural and Ecological Attachment to Place | Simulating Natural Light and Air | Naturalistic Shapes and Forms | Evoking Nature | Information Richness | Age, Change, and the Patina of Time | Natural Geometries | Biomimicry
It is also very easy to apply these principals at home.
Here are 9 simple but innovative ideas from Amanda Sturgeon, author of Creating Biophilic Buildings, on Pebble:
We spend the vast majority of our time inside buildings and Biophilic design provide a respite from our busy and stressful lives, connecting us with nature in our homes. Biophilic design also incorporates sustainable design principles in order to minimize its environmental impact to an absolute minimum.