biophilic design
This article is available also in Spanish here

Biophilia on three levels: interior design, architecture and urban planning

My list

Author | Lucía Burbano

Fed up with asphalt and concrete, humans are now turning to nature to increase their wellbeing by incorporating natural elements into interiors, buildings and cities. The science of biophilic design or biophilia provides proof that life is better surrounded by plants and greenery.

What is biophilic design?

The term biophilia was coined by the psychologist Erich Fromm in ‘The Heart of Man’ and later made popular by the biologist Edward Wilson, to eventually cover diverse areas such as neuroscience and architecture. All these disciplines have one aspect in common fostered by biophilic design: the desire to reconnect with nature.

Another leading figure in the field of biophilia is the researcher Tim Beatley, who associates biophilic design and the integration of nature into urban design as an urban model capable of solving the challenges of climate change for cities.

Benefits of biophilia

● It has the ‘power’ to heal

As discovered by the researcher and Professor of architecture Dr. Roger Ulrich, when he noticed that patients in hospital rooms with views of nature recovered faster than those without such views.

● Increased productivity

Herman Miller’s greenhouse-factory of the 1990s included biophilic elements that showed increased occupant health and productivity while providing connectivity to nature.

Classic elements of biophilic design

Connection with the environment

It is about introducing elements from the natural world into the built environment. Plants, animals, natural materials, colors or water strengthen the connection with nature.

Natural forms

These can be represented both outside and inside, and include forms and shapes inspired by plants or animals.

Light and space

The use of light and space is a crucial element of biophilic design. Both natural and filtered daylight can provide benefits, while space can be used to create a sense of openness, diversity and harmony. Singapore’s Changi Airport is a prime example of this approach at large scale.

Olfactory sensory stimuli

According to Terrapin’s 14 patterns of biophilic design, there are studies that prove that olfactory exposure to forests and phytoncides have a positive effect.

Examples of biophilic design in architecture and interior design

Shui On WorkX, Shanghai

Shui On WorkX is a creative and innovative working/social environment designed by M Moser & Associates as a relaxing natural ecosystem that includes a digital waterfall, natural light and organic furniture.

Casa Atibaia, United Kingdom

Biophilia 2

Inspired by the "Glass House" designed by the architect Lina Bo Bardi, Casa Atibaia is a property designed by Charlotte Taylor and Nicholas Preaud adapts nature to their design with protruding boulders used as accent walls and furnishing elements such as bookcases or bed headboards.

Examples of biophilia in urban planning

Vitoria, Spain

In 2013, Vitoria-Gasteiz joined the biophilic city network with a display of successful projects and interventions that comply with the biophilic urban design principles. The city has 50,000 plants made up of 381 species of trees and shrubs, including tree-lined streets and avenues connecting urban biodiversity.

Austin, United States

Among the numerous projects that form part of nature in the city, the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve offers protection for two species of two migratory songbirds or six cave-dwelling invertebrate species. As well as protecting the habitat of endangered species, it also does so for numerous plants and contributes to improved air and water quality for its residents.

Photographs | Unsplash/CHUTTERSNAP, Nicholas Préaud Architecture

Related content

Recommended profiles for you

AS
Abhas Sagar
Student in GGSIPU
I\'m in the last year of my 5 year B.Arch programme. I aspire to be an urban planner and designer.
AP
Abbie Pokorny
Dentons LLP
Senior Associate
AB
Abebe Dress Beza
University of the Basque Country
I am an Erasmus Student in the Smart Cities and Communities (SMACCs) program
XB
Xiao Bian
Renmin University of China & University of Groningen
Karolína Čuntalová
VUT
佳陶
佳 陶
同济大学
AF
Abdurrahman faiz Faiz
Uin alauddin
Collage student
AA
Abdulaziz Almogren
SILZ
AD
Abhishek Dand
Adani ports
Sr. Engineer
ON
ouqwf nasv
js
AA
Aamer Azeemi
Petrus Consulting LLC
Managing Consultant
MB
max burks
university
AN
ABASSI Narjess
Head Unit of Next Generation Network Engineering and Approval of Telecommunications Access Networks studies
Head Unit of NGN Engineering and Approval of \\nTelecommunications Access Networks studies
AK
Abhishek khanna
Independent Consultant
Specialist Regenerative Responsive Sustainable Smart City solutions planning, Design, ITApplications
NN
Neo Natt
aitortilla books
AA
Abdulrahman Abdulhak
SABSRE
Projects manager
AS
Aarti Shah
Co-REGEN
AK
Aashit Khant
Shashvat Corporation
Director of the Shashvat Corporation. One of the leading companies in Real Estate.
AD
Aashna Dodhia
KPMG
AH
Aaron Huang
SHANGHAI LONG-JOIN INTELLIGENT TECHNOLOGY INC.
LONGJOIN® Photocell Manufacturer engineer /photocell /zhaga book 18