Recently whilst on a CPD event highlighting Biophilia Design for Inner Urban spaces (work, pleasure & domestic), I was intrigued to discover that London has some of the most innovative Designers using the concept to push to clients.
For those who don’t recognise Biophilic Design as a concept within the building industry, this allows us to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment through using direct nature, indirect nature and space and place conditions. It all comes under Biophilic and WELL Building standard.
WELL is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. See below:
With the above in mind, Biophilia is defined as the inherent human inclination to affiliate with nature. Biophilic design, an extension of biophilia, incorporates natural materials, natural light, vegetation, nature views and other experiences of the natural world into the modern built environment.
Biophilia is not new, it is alleged that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon is one of the first recorded in 605BC.
In 2014 the Italian Architect, Stefano Boeri, was inspired not by WELL but by reading the book ‘The Baron in the Trees’, in which the protagonist decides to leave the ground and live in the trees. See the image below to see the impact of his ideas and design.
Whilst designs are based on WELL, there are Six other principles of Biophilia Design to consider.
The Six Principles of Biophilic Design:
1. Environmental Features
Bringing well-recognised characteristics of the natural world into the built environment: Colour,
water, air, sunlight, plants, animals and natural materials. Landscapes and Geology.
2. Natural Shapes and Forms
Botanical, animal and shell motifs. Shapes resisting straight lines and right angles. Arches and
vaults and domes (architecture that evokes emotion). Simulation of natural features, extending
even to biomorphic art, architecture, design.
3. Natural Patterns and Processes
Varying the sensory experience of a space with time, change, transitions and complimentary
4. Light and Space
Learning how and why humans react to light in all its forms (warm, cool, shaped, filtered, diffused,
inside vs outside) informs how to use it. The same applies to differing kinds of spaces:
such as shapes, harmonious, light and dark etc.
5. Place-Based Relationships
The significance of place is tied to meaning: Historic, cultural, geographic, spiritual or ecological.
With deeper understanding, we can honour and evoke those relationships within the build
6. Evolved Human-Nature Relationships
We can be transformed by our relationship with Nature and still react strongly to
the echoes of our long history. We can use design to evoke these powerful reminders such as
Prospect and Refuge; Order and Complexity; Curiosity and Enticement; Mastery and Control;
Affection and Attachment; Security and Protection; Exploration and Discovery;
Information and Cognition; Fear and Awe.
So, in your next design why don’t you include a small space, similar to the images above and get inspired.