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Biophilic Design and Its Effects on Health

19 January 2024
Posted in News
19 January 2024 Andrea Egan

Biophilic design is a trend that’s becoming increasingly important in modern architecture and interior design. It focuses on incorporating nature into the built environment, creating spaces conducive to health, well-being, and productivity. This can be done through living walls, green roofs, natural materials, water features, and more.

In this article, we will review the science behind biophilic design, its effects on health, and how to incorporate it into your space.

What is Biophilic Design?

“Biophilic” literally means “love of life.” The concept of biophilic design is that humans are deeply connected to nature and that incorporating elements of nature into our built environments can be beneficial for mental and physical health.

Biophilia is a hypothesis introduced by psychologist Erich Fromm in 1964 and then re-introduced by biologist Edward O. Wilson. According to Wilson, biophilia is a basic human need, and people feel a deep connection to nature that is essential for their physical and psychological well-being.

Biophilic design is an approach to architecture and urban planning that considers the human need for connection with nature. This means incorporating natural light, greenery, water, and other natural materials into the built environment. Biophilic design aims to create spaces that function well and foster a sense of well-being and connection to nature for the people who use them.

What Are the Elements Of Biophilic Design?

Biophilic Design elements

Biophilic design incorporates various elements, including natural light, greenery, water features, natural materials, and even artwork featuring nature. Natural light can help reduce stress and improve mood, while plants and green spaces provide a much-needed respite from the man-made environment. Water features like fountains or ponds can create calming atmospheres and help reduce stress. Natural materials like wood and stone evoke a sense of nature, while artwork featuring natural scenes can provide visual stimulation.

5 Benefits of Biophilic Design

Biophilic design has many benefits for our physical and mental health. Here are some of the most important ones:

Improved Mental Health

Exposure to nature has been found to reduce stress and increase feelings of calmness and relaxation. Studies have shown that biophilic design can improve mental health by reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Sound, smell, water and light all dramatically impact our mental well-being. 

Enhanced Performance and Productivity

Exposure to natural elements can improve our focus and ability to concentrate, leading to improved performance. Studies have found that people in biophilic environments are more productive than those in traditional office settings; people who work in environments with views of nature or who have access to natural elements are more effective, have lower absenteeism, and are less likely to experience burnout.

Improved Indoor Air Quality

Biophilic design can also have a positive impact on indoor air quality. Plants and other natural elements help to improve air quality by removing pollutants from the air and adding oxygen. This can help reduce the adverse health effects of indoor air pollution, a growing problem in modern buildings that are tightly sealed to conserve energy.

Improved Sense of Connection to Nature

Biophilic design can also help people to better connect with nature, fostering a greater appreciation for the natural world. This connection is beneficial not only for physical health but also for mental and emotional well-being. It can reduce feelings of disconnection and alienation, leading to increased happiness and satisfaction.

Better Sleep

Exposure to natural elements can also improve sleep. Studies have found that people exposed to nature during the day tend to sleep better at night and that biophilic design can reduce insomnia symptoms.

Challenges of Implementing Biophilic Design

moss wall

Despite the many benefits of biophilic design, there are several challenges to implementing this concept in the built environment. One of the main challenges is cost. Adding natural elements to a building can be expensive, and the return on investment can be challenging to quantify.

Another challenge is the lack of awareness and understanding of biophilic design. Many architects and designers are unfamiliar with this concept, and it cannot be easy to convince building owners and developers of its benefits. There is also a lack of standardization and guidelines for biophilic design, making it difficult for architects and designers to incorporate nature into their designs.

Biophilic Design: A Concept That Connects People with Nature

Biophilic design is a concept that recognizes the human need for connection with nature and incorporates elements of nature into the built environment. This approach has been shown to positively impact human health and well-being, including reducing stress and anxiety, improving mood, and enhancing cognitive function. As people become more aware of the benefits of biophilic design, this concept will likely become more widely adopted and integrated into the built environment.



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