The science behind biophilic design

biophilic design principles and science

The last two centuries have seen a massive process of urbanization as entire populations transition from natural to heavily built environments with limited access to greenery, open spaces and wildlife. This represents a fundamental disconnect from our evolutionary history.

Man's innate connection with nature is known as biophilia which in turn gives us biophilic design - an attempt to reunite indoor and outdoor worlds through the sensitive use of natural materials, shapes, breezes, colours, scents and sounds in urban architecture and interiors. Biofit leverages this same approach for an inner city fitness studio concept. Why?

Biophilic architecture has been enthusiastically adopted by the tech giants of Silicon Valley such as Apple, Amazon and Facebook for their new Californian headquarters. According to David Radcliffe, Vice President of Real Estate at Google, its new campus will have “trees & landscaping weaving through its structures to blur the distinction between the buildings and nature”.

Such environments are not just sustainable, a recent study by Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health Sir Cary Cooper entitled ‘Biophilic Design in the Workplace’ surveyed 3600 office workers across Europe and the Middle-East. The results showed how internal green space, natural light and foliage boost the mood, productivity and job satisfaction of employees while also reducing stress.

A recent report published by US-based consultancy Terrapin Bright Green entitled ‘The Economics of Biophilia’ highlights how this approach can also be applied to retail areas to boost visitor spend as well as educational facilities to increase students’ learning speed.

In the world of healthcare facility design, a seminal study by Professor Roger Ulrich at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden showed that patients whose windows looked out onto nature required 8.5% less recovery time than those who faced brick walls.

Such research eventually led to the type of healing garden created by designer Lily Jencks for her family foundation’s Maggies cancer care homes across the UK and Hong Kong. 

The next frontier looks to be healthy, or wellness-oriented real estate, as exemplified by the likes of Delos in the US. Biofit aims to be a part of that movement by contributing its own nature inspired update on the traditional fitness facility.

To find out more about our biophilic design services for gyms, offices, homes and hospitality venues, contact us via email through this website.