In the modern world, stress tolerance is a way to stay healthy. Scientists have long found that stress pills, alas, do not exist. But we, nevertheless, can become “pharmacists” by creating our own “stress pill” from the most appropriate things.
And if the landscapes outside your window have a much greater effect on you and your mood than deep and measured breathing, then you will definitely like this article. Let’s talk about biophilic design – an architectural concept that, according to some data, helps us cope with stress.
What Is Biophilic Design?
Literally, biophilia translates as “love of life.” The term was proposed in the 1980s by American biologist Edward Osborne Wilson, who suggested that evolution decided to keep something in our “attitudes” that we might not even have suspected — innate craving for nature. That is why the vast majority of people feel better in the forest, on the sea or in the mountains than in a gray office.
Essential to the biophilic theory is the idea that buildings help our physical and mental health only when they are built into the environment and when this environment is reflected inside them. Today, experts say that it is not only the plants in our rooms and natural shades in the interior but also the forms and materials that surround us.
“But isn’t this about the Scandinavian design?”- you ask. And the question will be quite relevant, because, indeed, the Scandinavian types of interiors are closest to what is called the biophilic design. But here is an important point: if the “green” principles of construction and design usually advocate solely for the environment, then the biophilic architecture focuses on the well-being of the person who will use the space.
Five Conditions of a Biophilic Design
- The biophilic design emphasizes human adaptation to the natural world, which during the evolutionary time proved to be effective in promoting health, fitness, and well-being of people. Impact on nature, unrelated to human reproduction and survival, has little effect on human well-being and is not an effective form.
- Biophilic design depends on repeated and sustainable interaction with the environment. The random, temporary, or isolated experience of nature has only a superficial fleeting effect on people, and at times can diverge from obtaining positive results.
- Biophilic design requires the strengthening and integration of project interventions that integrate with the overall environment or space. The optimal functioning of all organisms depends on the immersion in habitats, where the various elements contain an additional, reinforcing and interconnected whole. Impact on nature in a disconnected space — for example, isolated plants or natural materials that contradict other dominant spatial features — is already a clearly ineffective form.
- Biophilic design promotes emotional attachments to settings and places. By satisfying the inherent tendency to partner with nature, this form of construction gives rise to emotional attachment to certain spaces and places. Emotional bindings motivate the performance and effectiveness of people that motivate them to identify and support their places of residence.
- Biophilic design promotes positive and sustainable interaction and relationships between people and the natural environment. People are a deeply social species, safety, and reproduction of which depend on positive interactions in a spatial context. The establishment of connections between people and the environment is seen as a strengthening of the sense of attitudes and feelings of belonging to the community of civilization.
Biophilia and Science
Today, the concept of biophilia is actively supported by psychology. Experts believe that biophilic design – given the fact that most of the time we spend in buildings – can affect our mental health, reducing the sense of isolation, relieving tension and fatigue, improving mood. And this is one of the main reasons why interest in architecture in conjunction with natural systems is growing.
Ready to get closer to nature? Here are a few elements, without which, according to popularizers of this trend in architecture, biophilic design is impossible:
- Natural light – from windows and additional light hatches, complemented by artificial light sources of the full spectrum;
- Water sources – fountains, aquariums and other water bodies that can be seen and heard;
- Sensory stimuli – diffusers and plants (and the more, the better);
- Minimally processed materials – leather, stone, wood, and handicrafts.
In addition, the biophilic design relies on the smoothness of lines, since strict geometry is quite rare in nature, natural color schemes (earth, water, air) and natural images in the design.