Biophilic Homes and Designs
Imagine being able to live in a home that is seamlessly integrated with nature. Biophilic design and architecture is a revolutionary way of reconnecting nature and man-made environments. Urbanisation has diminished our connection with nature; this new way of building brings nature to us. Biophilic designer Oliver Heath says: “Biophilic design is more than just bringing the outside in, it’s about making and strengthening a connection with many aspects of nature.” Europe has embraced this change towards nature and have enjoyed natural increases in wellbeing.
Biophilic design focuses on the natural world that supports human health and productivity. If design does not focus on this, it is not biophilic. People are hardwired to nature; our senses are stimulated when we are surrounded by our natural environment. Being humans, we have the urge to affiliate ourselves with other life. This ‘other life’ is nature, which can be incorporated into architecture and design. This design strategy has been so successful because it taps into the idea that we are biologically encoded when it comes to nature and our wellbeing. We naturally feel good when we are around nature.
To be truly biophilic, there needs to be a focus on the elements of nature that have contributed to our health and wellbeing. Everything needs to be seemingly connected, just like in nature. The following are key ideas when it comes to creating or enhancing an indoor environment using biophilic design.
Plants are only the beginning:
Bringing nature indoors, we often think of plants. To bring nature inside we need to have lots of plants, right? Plants are an important aspect of biophilic design but not the only way to incorporate nature. Think about when you are in nature. We see plants and colours, but there are shapes and textures that make it unique and bring everything together. An appreciation of the arrangements seen in nature stimulates us when we bring that arrangement inside. Using rough surfaces, curves, spirals, textures and natural materials stimulates our response to natural patterns and arrangements. But instead of this stimulation outside, where it traditionally occurs, it happens right in your home or workspace. This approach is now commonly referred to as biomicry.
For us to be able to experience the full benefits of nature indoors, we must appeal to multiple senses. The best stimuli come from being able to appeal to as many senses as possible. Seeing nature has its benefits, if people are able to feel, smell and touch nature the positive effects are greater. Enhancing these senses through smelling plants, hearing water and feeling air flow enhance the way we live.
Health and Wellbeing:
Perhaps the most rewarding part of incorporating the natural environment indoors, are the proven health benefits. Environments that mimic nature have been proven to reduce stress, enhance creativity and reduce sickness. Children are less exposed to the natural environment now more than ever with technology keeping them indoors. Now technology has evolved further to allow us to bring nature inside. it helps children appreciate and care for the environment. All of this makes for a happier healthier family.
Water is a critical element of nature. There is something about water that creates a calm atmosphere and even a sense of wonder. There are outdoor and indoor water features that have been proven to have health benefits. Lowered blood pressure and heart rate, and even memory restoration.
Another element that is critical for nature and the natural way we live. Natural lighting is maximised to save on power bills and for health reasons. Biophilic lighting takes lighting to the next level. A lighting system is incorporated that changes throughout the day, using natural or artificial light. This is done to mimic our circadian rhythm, allowing us to keep on track with our natural 24-hour cycle. This improves our sleeping pattern and how we feel throughout the day.
All the advancement in urbanisation and technology in the world and it seems as though we are going back to the natural way of living, but with a modern twist. It is as though we have become unappreciative of our natural environment, but have now realised the benefits it reaps. We will start to encounter homes and buildings that will connect people and nature. It is essential to realise that biophilic design is not decoration or ornamentation. There is a human need because of the quantifiable health benefits that have become known.
A biophilic home is going to provide you with greater health benefits that no traditional home could ever compete with. People who chose to use biophilic designs adopt a new consciousness towards nature. They recognise the reliance and connection we have on the natural environment and our physical and mental wellbeing. We can use something that is free to us to better our wellbeing, that being nature.