Biophilic design is an approach to architecture that looks to connect building occupants more closely to all things nature. Biophilia, which means love of nature, focuses on a human’s innate attraction to nature and natural processes. The term was popularized by American biologist Edward O. Wilson in the 1980s. He observed how increasing rates of urbanization were leading people to a great disconnect with the natural world. The biophilia hypothesis claims that humans have an innate affinity towards nature and that their connection is beneficial. Integrating greenery, light, water and all types of natural elements positively affects people’s perception of space and the time they spend in it.
You may not be familiar with the term, but biophilic design is a concept that’s all about feeling more connected to nature and embracing the positive health and environmental benefits that come with that. It is a relatively new approach to architecture and design. Much of today’s approach to biophilic Architecture & design is credited to Stephen Kellert. He was a professor of social ecology at Yale in the 2000s and he created a framework for incorporating a human’s need for nature into architecture. The core principles Kellert developed include the placing of direct and indirect experiences of nature right inside your home. Some of these experience elements include:
- Celebrating all-natural light sources.
- The consciousness of airflow, temperature, and humidity.
- Incorporating water, plants, and animals.
- Landscape paintings.
- Use of natural materials and colors.
- Use of natural shapes and patterns in furniture and on fabric.
In the building industry, biophilic design is a concept that is used to increase the connectivity of its occupants to their natural environment. They accomplish this by the use of various types of natural elements. These can include plant life, water, and animals, breezes, sounds, and scents. Common examples include potted plants, flowerbeds, bird feeders, butterfly and sensory gardens, water features, such as water fountains and aquariums, courtyard gardens, and green walls or vegetated roofs. Incorporating these elements into your life can create a more productive and healthy environment for you and your family. If you want to increase your connectivity with nature in your home here are a few examples for you:
- Lighting– Assess and take note of the light patterns in your home. Try to make your home feel more natural by using light to simulate nature. This can be accomplished by using windows, skylights, overhead lighting, and floor lamps. Candles, sconces, and table lamps let you change light levels to suit your mood. Arrange furniture in a way that celebrates different lighting throughout the day.
- Air- Stimulate airflow in your home by opening windows to let in natural breezes. Use a fan to create air movement. Humidifiers and diffusers are two ways you can impact air quality in your home. Temperature and humidity can be manipulated to your personal preferences and they greatly impact the way you experience your space.
- Horticulture- by inviting nature into your home you are effectively helping to clean the air. Taking care of plants helps to give you a sense of purpose. Houseplant and flowers add greenery and color to your space and help bring the outside indoors.
- Adding Fire- fire offers warmth, color, and movement to your space. A fireplace, whether real or gas-lit, is a safe way to incorporate some flames into your decor. Lighting candles and placing them throughout the home is another simple way to ignite some cozy vibes inside.
- Water Features- A fountain not only brings a water feature into your home it also brings the calming sound of flowing water. An aquarium filled with fish is another way to naturally incorporate water into your space as fish tanks naturally add color, movement, and life into your home.
- Images of Nature- Studies have shown that images of nature can be emotionally and intellectually satisfying. Nature-inspired art, such as botanical prints or animal art can be used. Hanging landscape paintings or framing photographs from your travels is an ideal way to bring nature into your home.
In summary, the main strategy of biophilic architecture is to bring characteristics of the natural world into built spaces by using botanical shapes and forms in lieu of straight lines. The best biophilic design examples can be found in any variety of settings but they all have one thing in common – interiors that use natural materials, plants, lighting, and other sensory design elements to give the user an experience that energizes, refreshes and connects them to nature. Biophilic design has been found to reduce stress, enhance creativity and clarity of thought, improve our well-being and expedite healing. These qualities are ever more important as the world population continues to urbanize. Try to incorporate some biophilic designs into your home today.