Biophilia in architecture: reconnecting mankind with nature!

Big cities are, generally cold because their inhabitants have distanced themselves from nature. But now everyone is seeing that reconnecting with nature can be vital. Biophilia in architecture creates natural environments that increase people's quality of life. Learn more about this life-changing subject!

People who live in big cities feel the need to reconnect with nature. After all, their evolution began in a natural environment

Due to the industrial and technological revolutions, ordinary people began to move away from mother-nature and acquired other habits that, after all, became harmful not only to their physical health but to mental and emotional as well.

Despite this "almost litigious" divorce, fortunately, the humans did recognize that reconnection with nature turned out to be a must! This sort of reconciliation produced the term "biophilia", which means, from ancient Greek, "the love of living beings for natural life" ("philia"=love of + "bio"=life).

Biophilia was popularized in the 1980s by biologist Edward O. Wilson, with the intention of giving a brake on urbanization without criteria that most disconnected the human being from nature, instead of giving him or her a shelter.

In 2005, ecologist Stephen Kellert created the concept of "Biophilic Design", a conception of bringing biophilia into the built environments.

The concept of biophilic design is very recent and therefore requires a lot of studies and deepening to be applied.

Nowadays there is a kind of "guide" for professionals such as architects, designers, landscapers, etc., so that they are offered a better direction of how to elaborate a biophilic project.

It is important to use natural materials such as wood, fibers, stone, water, natural lighting, natural ventilation, use of plants, sounds of nature, colors that refer to nature and a multitude of possibilities to be considered.

The experience of nature present in buildings is super-beneficial to the human emotional!

Although many biophilic projects are sustainable, biophilic design is not the same as sustainable architecture

The goal of sustainable architecture is not only to promote comfort, health, and productivity of people within a space but to reduce the impacts of construction on the environment. It doesn't mean that one eliminates the other, but they are complementary.

What exactly is biophilia about?

It is not news that since the times of the first civilizations, nature was the habitat of the population, because it all began, of course, with life in the countryside. That's why the shelters, the food, and the medicines were natural!

Thus, biophilia has become a biological need to reconnect the human being with nature, at all levels: physical, mental, and social.

"The idea of biophilia stems from an evolutionary understanding when more than 99% of species develop biologically in an adaptive response to non-artificial natural forces." (Beatley and Newman, in "Biophilic Urbanism")

It is clear that other advantages will be perceived on biophilia, because, from the greater use of natural elements in the design and function of buildings, there will be a significant reduction of the so-called "heat island" effect in cities.

Naturally, the reduction of the high heating and cooling loads of buildings might improve air quality and, of course, the state of mind of residents, reflecting in urban violence and depression.

In other words, a biophilic city values buildings with more green areas, in addition to the direct involvement of its inhabitants with local nature, through walks, jogging, contemplation of gardens and parks, among other ecological activities.

Besides regular houses and buildings, biophilic design is important also in the workplace!

The workplace will inevitably have to be connected with nature, readjusting emotion with production

Despite the new trend of the home office, due to the current world situation, sometimes physical contact is necessary, for strategic and unavoidable reasons.

Therefore, periodically, direct contact with customers is fundamental to the management of the company, depending, of course, on its segment.

Physical contact is inevitable in environments such as schools, hospitals, restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, bakeries, snack bars, among others.

In these environments, especially, the employee who spends an average of 8 to 9 hours a day moving or sitting, will always run the risk of stressing because of the intense work rhythm, bringing to him or her unpleasant side effects.

Negative impacts because of "indoor work":

  • decreased rates of metabolism
  • increased risk of diabetes and heart disease
  • increased risk of depression
  • low back and neck pain due to poor posture

Those more conscious professionals of architecture and interior design, know that biophilic projects, modify the pattern of behavior - for the better - to both residents and employees of any company!

Biophilia is a result of the fusion of various styles that provide an invigorating visual and emotional connection with nature. Creative architects will be able to combine diverse textures with vegetation and an abundance of natural light, with a rich palette of biophilic design that will promote the desired well-being!

According to a report issued by Human Spaces on the Global Impact of Biophilic Design on the Workplace, environments with natural elements generate up to 15% higher levels of well-being and creativity, and 6% more productivity, compared to environments that do not have these elements.

5 advantages of inserting biophilia in architectural projects:

  1. Reduction of emotional and physical stress
  2. Increased full well-being
  3. Stimulating the imagination to create
  4. Reduction of hospitalization time in health spaces
  5. Increased concentration and motivation of students in educational environments

The key to success is to be sure that each biophilic project will present endless possibilities to bring deep experience to the customer, for his or her definitive reconnection with nature and with the elements that integrate the built environment. Sensitivity, imagination, and respect for nature are the basic ingredients that will add value to the built environment, through biophilic projects!

By Marco Veado - THINK GREEN