Nature has always had a major influence on humans throughout history. In fact, nature themes can be found in even the earliest human structures. From the Egyptian Sphinx to Greek temples to the Rococo design, natural themes have been consistent in historic structures and places, suggesting that nature has always been a focus of human culture and development. So, what exactly is biophilia?
Biophilia is defined as the inherent human instinct to be drawn towards nature. A biophilic design articulates the relationship between humans and nature and reconnects us with nature in the built environment. Biophilic interior space is known to reduce stress, improve cognitive function, improve creativity and well-being, and help the healing process.
What comprises Biophilic Design?
Biophilic designs can be categorized into three kinds of experience of nature including direct experience of nature, indirect experience of nature, and the experience of space and place.
Direct Experience of Nature – Direct experience of nature refers to the direct, physical, and ephemeral presence of nature in a space or place including plant life, water, animals as well as breezes, fragrances, sounds, and other natural elements.
Indirect Experience of Nature – Indirect experience of nature refers to organic, non-living, and indirect evocation of nature in space. This element can be incorporated into a built environment by including pictures and artwork, natural materials such as woodwork, masonry, wool fabrics, ornamentation or decoration occurring in nature such as seashells, or environmental processes.
Experience of Nature - Experience of nature refers to elements such as prospect and refuge, mystery, risk, and peril, etc. This pattern is more related to the spatial features characteristic of nature and natural processes.
The evidence of biophilia can be linked to research in one or more of cognitive, psychological, and physiological systems to explain how it affects people’s health and well-being.
Biophilia enables routine connections with nature that can provide opportunities for mental restoration. This ensures a stronger capacity for performing focused tasks.
Empirical studies have reported that biophilic environments provide greater emotional restoration, with lower instances of tension, anxiety, anger, fatigue, confusion, and total mood disturbance than urban environments with limited characteristics of nature.
Relaxation of muscles, as well as lowering of diastolic blood pressure and stress hormone (i.e., cortisol) levels in the bloodstream are some of the physiological responses triggered by connections with nature, according to Park et al., 2009.