The term “biophilia” was coined by German-American psychologist Erich Fromm in 1964, and popularized by American biologist Edward O. Wilson in his 1984 book Biophilia. Biophilia is the hypothesis that humans possess an innate tendency to seek out contact with nature and other forms of life.
The concept of biophilic design was first proposed by American architect and scientist Stephen R. Kellert in the early 1990s. Kellert argued that the increasing separation of people from nature was having a negative impact on our physical, mental, and emotional health, and that the design of the built environment could be used to mitigate this.
Since then, the idea of biophilic design has been taken up by a number of architects, designers, and researchers, and has been applied to everything from office buildings and hospitals to schools and homes.
What are the benefits of biophilic design?
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests contact with nature has a range of positive effects on human health and well-being. Studies have shown that exposure to nature can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and improve cognitive function, sleep quality, and energy levels.
In one study, employees who had access to natural light and views of nature reported higher levels of job satisfaction and productivity than those who did not. Another study found that patients in hospital rooms with views of nature recovered more quickly than those in rooms with views of brick walls.
Why is biophilic design important?
As the world becomes increasingly urbanized, it is more important than ever to find ways to incorporate nature into our built environment. Biophilic design is one way to do this, and has the potential to improve the health and well-being of both individuals and whole communities.
In a world where we are increasingly disconnected from nature, biophilic design provides a way to reconnect. By bringing nature into our homes, workplaces, and other buildings, we can create spaces that are not only more pleasant and relaxing, but also healthier and more productive.