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Biophilic design 🪴

Updated: Mar 17, 2023

Biophilic design is a design approach that draws on nature's inspiration to create healthy and comfortable environments for humans. The concept stems from the realization that built environments have a significant impact on the health and well-being of people and the ecosystem. The idea aims to create a balance between buildings and nature, using natural principles to improve the air quality, light and comfort of spaces.

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Buildings and spaces designed with biophilic design can provide a healthy and comfortable environment, improving the quality of life for inhabitants and reducing environmental impact. For example, the use of plants and vegetation inside buildings improves air quality, reducing pollution levels and increasing humidity. In addition, the use of windows and openings to control natural light helps improve light quality and reduce energy costs.

Biophilic design is based on scientific principles and is inspired by nature to create healthy and comfortable environments. For example, buildings designed with biophilic design take into account wind direction, sun position, water and sound to create a balanced environment. In addition, biophilic design uses natural and sustainable materials for building construction, reducing environmental impact and improving indoor air quality.

Biophilic design can be applied in both architecture and interior design, and can be used in a wide range of projects, from private homes to large commercial and industrial facilities. There are already many examples of biophilic design projects around the world that demonstrate how this approach can significantly improve the quality of life for residents and reduce environmental impact.

It is an approach to building and space design that draws on nature's inspiration to create healthy and comfortable environments for human beings.


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Principles of biophilic design

The principle of biophilic design is based on using natural principles to create healthy and comfortable environments for human beings. This approach to design takes inspiration from nature to create a balance between buildings and their surroundings.

One of the scientific foundations of biophilic design is bioclimatics, which is concerned with understanding how climate affects the built environment and how buildings can be designed to adapt to the local climate. For example, using openings to control natural light and designing the shape of buildings to make the best use of breezes are elements of bioclimatics that can be used to improve building comfort and reduce energy costs.

Biophilic design is also inspired by biology, (by the way, a very private spoiler is in order here: before I graduated in architecture I did a year of the faculty of Biological Sciences, at La Sapienza University in Rome, studying botany, inorganic chemistry, cytology and physics, terribly fascinating subjects) using vegetation and plants to improve air quality and create a healthier environment. For example, plants can be used to filter air and improve humidity, creating a more comfortable environment for humans. In addition, biophilic design uses natural and sustainable materials for building construction, reducing environmental impact and improving indoor air quality.

Biophilic design also takes water, wind and sound into consideration to create a balanced environment. The use of fountains or roof gardens can improve sound quality inside buildings and create a more pleasant environment. In addition, using water in a sustainable way, such as rainwater harvesting, can help reduce the environmental impact of buildings.

Thus, the principle of biophilic design is based on using natural principles to create healthy and comfortable environments for human beings. By using bioclimatics, biology, water, wind and sound, biophilic design creates a balance between buildings and their surroundings, improving the quality of life for inhabitants and reducing environmental impact.


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Some examples

There are many examples of biophilic design projects around the world that demonstrate how this approach can significantly improve the quality of life for inhabitants and reduce environmental impact.

One example of a biophilic design project, the most famous and the most obvious, is the Bosco Verticale skyscraper ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosco_Verticale ) in Milan, by Studio Boeri. This award-winning building is built with a structure and especially a facade layout that allows the use of plants and vegetation to create a healthy environment within the building. Vegetation is used to improve air quality, reduce pollution levels, and increase humidity. In addition, plants help to thermally insulate the building, both for in the hot and cold seasons, reducing energy costs. The distribution of plants is subject to a true vertical gradient: what is planted on the first levels is different from what is found on the upper levels. A sign of a truly multidisciplinary design. It is, moreover, a true pilot project, in a sense, that the Milanese studio is profitably exporting to other realities, in its basic concept, a clear sign of a truly successful idea.

Another example of a biophilic design project is The Edge, by PLP Architecture, an office building in Amsterdam, Netherlands. This building (which is claimed to be the "greenest building in the world," but that is a definition that is given to several buildings in fact and it is rather difficult to have definitive metrics to determine who actually is, but so be it!) was designed to be as sustainable as possible, using renewable energy sources and energy-saving technologies. In addition, the building was designed to improve indoor air quality through the use of plants and vegetation.

Another example of a biophilic design project is the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology in Milan ( https://www.museoscienza.org/en ), Italy. This building was designed to be as sustainable as possible, using renewable energy sources and energy-saving technologies. In addition, the building was designed to improve the air quality inside the building through the use of plants and vegetation.

These are a few examples, however, that show how biophilic design (or in general the design focus on sustainability through even the use of principles that are fundamentally outside of pure architectural composition), can be used in architectural and interior design projects to improve the air quality, light, and comfort of spaces, and how it can help reduce environmental impact. Biophilic design is an innovative and sustainable solution to creating healthier and more comfortable environments for humans. And this is definitely an intriguing goal.


How to apply biophilic design in design

Biophilic design can be incorporated into a variety of architectural and interior design projects, both in commercial and residential buildings. There are some practical steps you can follow to incorporate biophilic design into your projects:

Understand the local climate: it is important to understand the climate and environmental conditions of the place where you are designing so that you can create a building that fits its environment perfectly. This is really the must: every place has its own specificities, not only in terms of cultural history, but also in terms of technical science (microclimate and geographical location).

Use natural light: the use of natural light is essential for biophilic design. You can use windows, skylights, and openings to control natural light to improve the quality of light inside the building and reduce energy costs.

Use natural and sustainable materials: biophilic design uses natural and sustainable materials for building construction, reducing environmental impact and improving indoor air quality.

Use vegetation: using plants and vegetation inside buildings improves air quality, reduces pollution levels, and increases humidity.

Involve clients and design teams: it is important to involve clients and design teams in the application of biophilic design to ensure that project goals are met.

By incorporating these practical steps into your projects, you can use biophilic design to create healthy and comfortable environments for humans, improving the quality of life for residents and reducing environmental impact. In addition, it is important to choose the right materials and products for biophilic design so that you can be sure that they are sustainable and have a low environmental impact.


Conclusions

In conclusion, biophilic design is an innovative approach to building and space design that draws on nature's inspiration to create healthy and comfortable environments for humans. Using natural principles such as bioclimatics, biology, water, wind, and sound, biophilic design creates a balance between buildings and their surroundings, improving the quality of life for inhabitants and reducing environmental impact.

Biophilic design projects such as the Bosco Verticale, The Edge and the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology show how this approach can be used in architectural and interior design projects to improve the air quality, light and comfort of spaces, and how it can help reduce environmental impact.

By incorporating biophilic design into your projects, you can use natural principles to create healthier and more comfortable environments for humans, using sustainable and environmentally friendly materials.

Biophilic design is an important solution for the future of architecture and design, as it allows us to create environments that are in harmony with nature, improving people's quality of life and reducing environmental impact. We therefore encourage continued exploration and use of biophilic design in future projects.



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