“A piece of land – not so very big, with a garden and, near the house, a spring that never fails, and a bit of wood to round it off.’’
“This is what I prayed for,’’ wrote the Roman poet Horace.
These words were written more than 2000 years ago, circa 30 B.C. It is easy to understand the emotion prompting them; we still recognize what Horace meant by a rural garden, a place to take refuge, from the irritations of city life.
The term Biophilia means love of life or love of nature ('bio' meaning life/nature + 'philia' meaning love).
Biophilia refers to human being's instinctive, genetically based need to affiliate with nature — a need established because human evolution occurred while we lived in close contact with the natural world. In the modern world, the concept of Biophilia is becoming increasingly relevant as it addresses the growing concerns of human sustainability, concerns that arise from the impact we have on the natural world and therefore ourselves. Recently awareness of Biophilia has lead to an increase in interest from architects and designers leading to the birth of the Biophilic Design movement.
Biophilic engagement refers to our contact and connections with beneficial and pleasant experiences of nature. Even though human beings live in ever greater isolation from nature, we all share a genetic predisposition to favor experiences of nature.
Lack of biophilic engagement has been linked to certain developmental deficiencies and psycho-physiological problems. Increasing biophilic engagement has been linked to many benefits for mind and body.
By increasing conscious engagement and contact with nature, our love for and appreciation of nature is enlivened. Enlivened biophilia strengthens the bond with nature that we developed over the eons of human evolution. Personal identification with nature promotes our psycho-physiological fitness and well-being. When we find refreshment from a walk in nature, we are experiencing the effects of biophilic enlivenment.
Research conducted in many fields over the last several decades has shown that biophilic engagement has significant effects on mind, body, behavior and social interaction.
Specifically, research on nature and health has established that natural daylight and views to nature improve the comfort and healing of patients in healthcare settings. Enlivening Biophilia is a positive feedback dynamic. When we experience the benefits of engagement with nature - alleviation of stress, increased sociability, greater problem solving abilities, improved measures of physiological stability and health, etc. - we tend to further increase our contact with nature, which in turn increases the benefits gained from those experiences. Because people care for whatever we appreciate and love, and because enlivening Biophilia cultivates a greater appreciation and love for nature and life, enlivening Biophilia promotes appreciation and protection of nature.
Benefits of Biophilia Design
> Reduced employee absenteeism.
> Improved health
> Increased mood and feeling of well-being
> Improved productivity
> Increased employee engagement
> Reduced stress levels
> Mental restoration & reduced fatigue
1. Visual Connection - View of natural elements from within the interior.
2. Non Visual Connection with Nature - Interaction with nature through other senses including touch, sound, taste & smell.
3. Non Rhythmic Sensory Stimuli - Unpredictable and non- repetitive movements that happen like birds chirping.
4. Thermal & Airflow Variability - Variability in air temperature and flow, changes over time that recall the natural cycle of day & night.
5. Presence of Water - Water as an essential design feature.
6. Dynamic & Diffuse - Light Varying Light intensities and light changes over time that recall the natural cycle of day and night.
7. Connect with Natural Systems- Awareness of seasonal & temporal changes
8. Biomorphic Forms & Patterns - Nature inspired textures, shapes & patterns
9. Material Connection with Nature- Natural materials & elements that reflect the local environment in terms of ecology or geology
10. Complexity & Order- Rich Sensory information recalling natural spatial hierarchys .
Office design: productivity can be increased by 8%, rates of well-being up by 13%, increases in creativity, with reduced absenteeism and clarity of focus. Office work often involves carrying out repetitive tasks which can be energy intensive, and over time can result in mental fatigue. Our emotionally intelligent designs respond with solutions for aural, musculoskeletal, respiratory, circadian systems and overall physical comfort. Staff morale, productivity, and wellbeing are increased.
Homes become calming & restorative. Areas with access to nature show a 7-8 % reduction in crime, and an increase in property values.
If your work life is stressful, then your home or living space must counter this by being a sanctuary for emotional restoration. Our design for a better living space shows marked decreases in
> Mood fluctuations