Let’s get right to it. Biophilic architecture is when the natural environment is incorporated into architectural- or built – spaces. It is meant to bring our connection to nature indoors and reap its benefits. Some examples would include indoor gardens, natural light and shapes, and the presence of water. Many studies have proven the effects of nature on mental health and our well-being. So, it makes sense that now more than ever, bringing the healing powers of nature into every aspect of living is on the rise.
You can easily bring biophilic design into your home in many ways. You create an elaborate living wall or take a simpler route by stripping your windows of curtains to allow in all the natural light you can get. However, while at its simplest level it could mean just adding a bunch of plants, there is much more to a biophilic design. It’s about designing a natural aesthetic meant for improving mental and physical health.
Benefits of Biophilic Design
Humans have an innate connection to nature but nowadays it’s said that approximately 93% of people spend the majority of their days indoors. This takes away from the natural effects nature has on us mentally and physically.
Bringing nature inside your home or office improves health, mood, and feeling of well-being. Not only does being surrounded by nature reduce stress and fatigue but as a place of employment, it can reduce absenteeism and increase engagement.
Having live plants added to your design can improve your air quality, which brings another set of benefits. You’ll feel healthier, more creative, and productive.
Six Biophilic Design Elements
- Environmental features – the idea is to bring instantly recognizable natural elements inside. For example, light, air, sounds, colors, natural materials. This can include living or green walls, potted plants, art and images of nature, water features, and nature views.
- Natural shapes and forms – there are certain shapes and forms, called biomorphic patterns, we see in nature, and while we understand that these forms are non-living, our brains automatically associate them with nature and living things. For example, a shell or animal motif.
- Natural patterns and processes – as humans we have a natural response to nature and its’ natural patterns and processes. It is a very sensory experience that deals with space, contrast, rhythm, and scale.
- Light and space – there are different forms of light and we react differently to each form. Understanding the reactions to different forms can help you incorporate what kind of feel you are going for. Natural light is a key design factor.
- Place-based relationships – of course, certain places have different meanings. In your home, a room can have some significance to you but there are many places in nature that have historic, spiritual, or cultural significance.
- Evolved human-nature relationships – simply evolving that relationship between humans and nature.
Is a Biophilic Design for Me?
Biophilic design is for everyone! The scale in which you incorporate is up to you but adding some elements of nature to your indoor living space is only beneficial to your daily life. Understanding that the purpose of this design is to improve your mental and physical health is the ethos of biophilic architecture.
While there are many easy ideas on how to incorporate this design into your home, give it a super simple try by just opening your windows and adding some plants. The difference will be noticeable!