On average, we spend 90% of our lives in buildings. Previous research has shown that being in natural environments – or even viewing depictions of nature – can enhance people’s wellbeing. However, we spend the great majority of our lives surrounded by buildings that isolate us from nature. This in itself has a significant influence on the health and wellbeing of society.

Biophilic design focuses on the needs of people in the built environment, using strategies to help bring them back into contact with the natural world.

What is Biophilic Design?

‘Biophilia’ literally means a love of life and the living world. In Edward O. Wilson’s book Biophilia (1984) the Havard Profressor concludes that people have an inherent connection to nature, and a biological need for physical and social connections with the natural world.

‘Biophilic Design’, therefore, refers to design techniques that bring us back into contact with natural through the built environment. This is not just about incorporating plants – although that is one important factor – but also making use of natural and artificial lighting, materials and textures, colour variations, personalized workspaces, views, refuge spaces and much more.

While some may be skeptical, subsequent research has strongly supported the benefits of biophilic design. However, a growing body of scientific evidence showing that natural environments can alleviate negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, depression and stress, while helping people to feel calm and be inspired.

Biophilic Office Project

In this unique project, an occupied office building is being used to research and demonstrate the value of nature-inspired design on the wellbeing and productivity of those inhabiting the space.

Over 30 months the office will be monitored, refurbished and then further monitored to give insight into the impacts of biophilic design.

Find out more about the Biophilic Office Project