Biophilia? No, it is not some nefarious relationship with plants. Well, not entirely. This hot new design trend is not some “look” or color scheme, it’s a set of design techniques that put people before profits in building construction. While some people are quick to put biophilic design in the category of “another green building standard,” it is absolutely not.
Biophilic design has made its entrée into the design community with data in hand to back up its claims. Unlike some other green building standards, which needed to be put in place and operated for some time in order to prove that they were worthwhile (think Green Globes, LEED), Biophilic principles have existed for decades and their results are widely known. It is just now that design professionals and researchers are pulling these together en masse and presenting them under the umbrella of biophilic design.
There are three pillars of Biophilic Design: Nature in the Space, Nature of the Space and Natural Analogues. To simplify, Nature in the Space is literally incorporating nature into the space. Adding water, plants, fish ponds, herbs etc.
By definition, humans are drawn to nature and natural things. Nature stimulates the parasympathetic system and lowers stress. Studies have shown that walks outside, being around trees and nature in general lower stress levels.* Studies also show that employees are more productive, hospital stays are shorter, and patients use less medication when biophilic design is used.* The data exists and it is compelling. That is why the architect and design community is embracing the biophilic concepts in their upcoming projects. It is not a ground-up concept either; biophilic design can be incorporated after the fact using plants or greenery, reconfiguring furniture, incorporating sound control or in a myriad of other ways.
Biophilic design is not a credit based standard either, where you need to achieve a number of points in order to hit a certification level. It is not some placard you mount on your building to give yourselves a high-five for building green. It is about the health of the building occupants and it is not an all-or-nothing approach. You can use one design element or hundreds of instances. It is whatever works for your space.
Interested in learning more? Contact us to scheduled a lunch and learn or CEU presentation about Biophilic Design!