Our cities and suburbs, our neighborhoods, our schools and colleges, our workspaces, everything has been urbanized to a great extent. They have been designed in a way that has further steered us away from nature instead of bringing us closer to it. Humans need nature in a deep and fundamental way since our body, mind, and senses evolved in a bio-centric world and not in an artificial or invented one. This is why biophilic design is so important. By weaving nature, natural elements and materials in the places where we live, work, learn and heal, the biophilic design aims to create spaces with improved cognitive function and creativity, and improved productivity. By maintaining thoughtful connections with nature, biophilic design helps create spaces that are enhancing. It truly is the architecture that fosters less stress and greater overall health. It is the architecture of life.
The idea of a biophilic design is to enable the actual and intimate contact with living forms that in turn, nourishes humans. Since we have an inherent inclination to affiliate with nature and crave the companionship of plants, animals, and other humans, the biophilic design encourages indoor environments and those in it to interact with the natural features around them. Indoor spaces that provide ample natural light, greenery, natural colors, presence of water, and life in it, create deep comfort and help in creating an environment that relaxes and sustains us.
Since life and living forms aren’t static, a space that changes over time enables humans to live better lives. The biophilic design promotes the idea that since nature isn’t static, your space shouldn’t be either. The architecture of your space should resemble life – that moves, that captures the passage of time, and one that is dynamic. It should feature materials – that create sound cues, that bring a variety of textures to the setting, and ones that enrich sensory experiences.
Visual connection with nature that includes looking at plants and trees, living systems, and natural processes can be extremely stimulating and calming. It can convey a sense of time, weather, and other living forms. According to studies conducted by Barton and Pretty in 2010, visual connection with nature positively impacts attitude and overall happiness. Introducing plants and trees indoors not just lowers blood pressure and heart rate but is found to improve mental engagement and attentiveness. A material connection with nature and living forms is tied to improved creative performance and comfort. According to Kellert et al, connection with life and natural systems can enhance positive health responses and is believed to shift the perception of environments.
The biophilic design looks at designing spaces for people as a biological organism and respecting the mind-body system of humans as indicators of physical and mental health and well-being. It aims to create a space that is inspirational, restorative, and healthy while being functional. From socio-cultural norms to local conditions, frequency, and duration of user experience to past experiences, biophilic designs emphasize the creation of an overall ecological whole by considering all these factors. It promotes the creation of spaces that are nurturing.
In modern society, the places where we live, work, and learn are overworked and overstimulated. They lack connection with nature and living forms which is having a huge effect on our well-being. A biophilic environment promotes the creation of spaces where we can have healthy interactions with friends, co-workers, and other living forms. A space with a connection to life is highly beneficial for our mental and physical health. The architecture consisting of living forms is highly essential to our lives.