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  • GARY McCARTNEY

Biophilic Design? What's That?


Biophilic design works by increasing our connection to the natural environment through its inclusion in building design.


It’s nothing new: the integration of nature and buildings has been happening since the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.


Apparently it’s in our genes. It’s believed that humans have an inherited need to connect to nature due to our evolutionary dependence on it for survival and fulfilment. We love walks in nature, we have plants in our houses, we holiday in national parks, we keep animals.


A considered biophilic environment calms and refreshes the mind. It can include natural materials, planting, views to outside landscapes, fresh air, or just images of nature.


Naturalistic shapes can also be employed, along with natural colours and the illusion of the passage of time through patina and weathering.


Biophilic design is particularly useful in health care environments where interiors are often dated, chaotic and depressing. Creating the right design will have positive outcomes for all users, both guests and staff.


Here’s a wonderful example by Alda Ly Architecture and Design for Parsley Health in Los Angeles. It combines natural materials and forms with lots of natural light and colour, views of the trees outside and a generous application of indoor planting. Beautiful work!

Biophilic design for healthcare