Biophilic Design

Biophilic Space - Vibe

The concept of biophilia implies that humans hold a biological need for connection with nature on physical, mental, and social levels, and that this connection affects our personal well-being, productivity, and societal relationships.

Biophilic design is an architectural design framework that weaves the patterns and forms of nature into the built environment to strengthen the human-nature connection.

Hospitality & Retail Benefits

  • Willing to pay 23% more for hotel rooms

  • Willing to pay 13% more for goods and services

Workplace Benefits

  • Office Productivity Increase of 8%

  • Rate of Well-Being Increase of 13%

  • Decreased Absenteeism & Increased Creativity

Healthcare Industry Benefits

  • Post-Operative Recovery Times Decrease by 8.5%

  • Use of Pain Meds Decreases by 22%

Educational Benefits

  • Increased Rates of Learning by 20 - 25%

  • Increased Attention, Attendance, and Test Scores

Biophilic Design Patterns

Terrapin Bright Green, a leading environmental design consultancy firm, developed 14 patterns useful to designers of the built environment.

1. Visual Connection with Nature

Nature in the Space Patterns

This principle addresses the psychological and physiological importance for humans to view what happens in nature. For instance, locating an office next to a window.

2. Non-Visual Connection to Nature

Nature in the Space Patterns

In addition to sight, we use all our remaining five senses to experience space. For interior applications, pay close attention to textures that link back to nature.

3. Non-Rhythmic Sensory Stimuli

Nature in the Space Patterns

Movements you see out of the corner of your eye. These are the movements we cannot predict but can analyze later. For example, interactive Displays.

4. Thermal and Air Flow

Nature in the Space Patterns

Optimize the space for temperature, humidity, and skin-perceptive air flow. For example, good air flow can be achieved simply in the workplace by installing operable windows.

5. Presence of Water

Nature in the Space Patterns

It enhances your engagement in the space, if you can see, hear, and–especially–touch water. Moving water creates negative ionization, which is a mild physiological stimulant. Even the mere potential to get your hands wet can be positive.

6. Dynamic and Diffuse Light

Nature in the Space Patterns

This tenet reinforces our connection to the natural rhythms of daylight, which changes in hue and intensity. Diffusing that light is very important because glaring spaces are uncomfortable, causing people to leave them. Skylights and Light shelves can bring increase daylight into the space.

7. Connection with Natural Systems

Nature in the Space Patterns

This joins people to the seasons, and the changes that occur during natural life cycles. I like the idea of rooftop gardens or incorporating exterior materials that develop a natural patina over time.

8. Biomorphic Forms & Patterns

Natural Analogues

These often appear as fractals, or naturally-occurring shapes and schemes. We can apply this to textiles, custom patterning, and floor plans that are more organic, “blobular,” and don’t appear to be ordered into straight lines.

9. Material Connection with Nature

Natural Analogues

The use of natural materials in design. The larger the percentage of natural materials the greater positive effect. For example, using wood, plants, stone, etc.

10. Complexity and Order​

Natural Analogues

A hierarchy through space and scale that goes back to the naturally occurring variety in plants and geographic. This is done through varied application of scales. For example, exposing the infrastructure of a space gives occupants a better understanding of a shell versus an interior.

11. Prospect

Nature of the Space

This incorporates views over long distances. Like looking across the plain for water, trees, and absence of predators, Prospect gives a big-picture understanding of your environment. This is done through balconies, open floor plans, mezzanines, and transparent materials all aim to provide unimpeded views.

12. Refuge

Nature of the Space

It gives occupants in the space the ability to tune out stimuli, while still maintain a view of the world around them. If you’re in a cafeteria, and you see a booth with a lower ceiling, you’re in a cozy spot with privacy, as well as a full view.

13. Mystery

Nature of the Space

The idea is that there is more to come in a space, which draws you in and engages you with the environment. A lobby with some kind of area that’s behind the visitor’s space, like a screen or room divider, is a good example. You don’t see all that’s there from the entry point.

14. Risk and Peril

Nature of the Space

If you have a sense of risk that is identifiable but also has a trusted safeguard, most people are willing to allow that thrill of danger. This can be advantageous in work environments: In short doses, a little dopamine makes you feel more alert and more engaged. Glass railings, cantilevers, and stepping sones in a pool of water have a little risk to them that is manageable.