Biophilia (meaning love of nature) emphasizes human’s inborn attraction to nature and natural processes and without connecting with it, human health could suffer. So, the biophilic design creates a human-centered solution that when applied integrates natural elements and processes into the built environment. Research has revealed that this design reduces stress, blood pressure levels, and heart rates while increasing productivity, creativity, and self-reported rates of well-being. A distinguishing feature of biophilic design is its emphasis on the overall setting or habitat instead of an isolated occurrence of nature. All organisms that exist within connected environments are bound together as integrated ecosystems.

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The need for Biophilic design has increased since humans spend 90% of their time indoors and Urbanization has created concrete jungles decreasing the green spaces. The key drivers for good Biophilic design are as follows:

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1. Biophilia is not just about plants | Biophilic design

An obvious application of biophilia in indoor environments is the addition of plants but that’s just the starting line. Humans respond to biomorphic patterns and arrangements seen in nature. Although the patterns are non-living, the brain associates them with representations of living beings. The Fibonacci sequence that appears in leaf arrangements and spirals can appear in designs called biomimicry as a holistic approach to biophilic design.

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2. Natural Light is a part of human rhythm | Biophilic Architects

The simple use of natural rather than artificial light improves morale and comfort. Light helps merge interiors and exteriors using elements of warmth. Introducing natural light into buildings to the greatest extent possible in a controlled and responsive manner is crucial in design. A proper orientation that maximizes northern exposure and minimizes eastern and western exposures along with good engineering is necessary. Shading devices, elements that push daylight deeper into the building, and proper window arrangements need to be incorporated.

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3. Human mind and body appreciate the presence of water | Biophilic Architecture

Features such as fountains, waterfalls, lakes, and small water bodies create a calm and soothing environment serving as breakout spots on busy days. The windows face outside – therefore; water features should be strategically placed outdoors as well. Studies have shown a human preference for water features as it increases feelings of tranquillity within them.

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4. Multisensory experience | Biophilic design

Biophilia is not just about vision but creating multi-sensory stimuli. Viewing nature has its positive implications no doubt but to feel, smell, or hear nature has far greater benefits.

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The potential to smell plants, feel the movement of air, and hear the sound of water are simple interventions that energize the human mind and body.

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5. Natural materials and finishes

Choosing organic materials, colors, fabrics, and textures that occur naturally in the environment provide a connection to the outdoors. It is important to incorporate something authentic to the geology of a particular location that can be locally sourced.

A neutral color palette, wood finishes, limestone features, and palm tree patterns could be some of the elements for use. Using lights that create outdoor time changes within interior spaces would benefit people inside. A play of color and shadow could help do the trick.

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6. People love a view | Biophilic Architecture

Create panoramic views that celebrate nature. Large windows positioned near common or lounge areas give users a breather on a busy day. They get a chance to practice mindfulness which helps keep them calm. Desks should be planned near such windows. When designing an exterior courtyard, care should be taken to plan an indoor seating area such that people can at least peer at it even if they can’t join in. Movement within a user’s line of sight provides for a visual break which will help them stay focused.  

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7. Airflow is important | Biophilic design

Usually, indoor conditions (like the temperature in an office) are kept constant, studies have shown that student performance is enhanced in spaces with variability in temperature and flow. Airflow stimulation has been proven to help people stay awake, improving performance and focus.

Providing variable conductance materials, multiple seating options with differing levels of solar heat gain and proximity to operable windows to allow the cool breeze to enter are some ways of achieving thermal and airflow variability.

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8. Natural shapes 

Natural shapes are shapes that exist in nature. Shapes inspired by trees, flowers, bones, wings, animal skins, and seashells are today used to create intimidating spaces. They make a space feel interesting, comfortable, and possibly captivating. Humans have been decorating living spaces with representations of nature since times immemorial. Arches and vaults, recreated rock shelves, water paths are some notable examples.

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9. Artworks | Biophilic Architects

Organic artworks and landscape murals provide a good alternative to give users a full view of the outdoors. They add life to a dead space. They are attention drivers who make people feel good and alive. On a smaller scale, paintings or sculptures can make a textural addition to a room. 

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10. Human-Nature Relationship | Biophilic Architecture

Biophilic design is all about recreating the relationship between humans and nature that has existed for thousands of years. This design ties all those elements together to form a natural environment within man-made spaces. The fabric has an amazing ability to replicate nature from flowing like water to glowing with light. Natural materials and textures along with an earthy palette, sound of water, plants, natural light, and many other things that reflect nature can be used to connect humans with nature.

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Author

Simran Bajaj is a Mumbai – based architect. She graduated recently in 2019, worked for a while and is pursuing an MBA now. She is a vibrant girl who loves narrating through her writing. Architecture is her passion but writing makes her feel stronger.

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