Biophilic Design

In this Tuesday morning Cities Alive plenary talk by Bill Browning of Terrapin Bright Green, we learned that a 40-sec. “micro break” in which you are exposed to nature or something representing nature will restore your attention and refresh your thinking. Ideally, you’ll take a break from your computer screen every 20 min. and spend your break time outdoors, looking through a window, or in an environment that has natural elements. Whatever you choose, connect nature throughout the day and you’ll be more productive

When designing spaces, at a minimum, try to include a natural analogue element to help occupants connect with nature throughout the work day.

When designing spaces, at a minimum, try to include a natural analogue element to help occupants connect with nature throughout the work day.

If you’re creating a space and want to include biophilic design, there are 14 patterns to consider, either individually or in combination. The 14 patterns fit into three groups:

Nature in space:

  • Visual connection with nature
  • Non-visual connection with nature
  • Non-rhythmic sensory stimuli
  • Thermal & airflow variability
  • Presence of water
  • Dynamic & diffuse light
  • Connection with natural systems

Natural analogues

  • Biomorphic forms & patterns
  • Material connection with nature
  • Complexity & order

Nature of the space

  • Prospect
  • Refuge
  • Mystery
  • Risk/peril

To learn more about biophilic design visit the Terrapin Bright Green website. In the Publications section you can download several resources at no charge.—Gary L. Parr

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