'Biophilic Design' -- CIBSE Intelligent Buildings Group Seminar
The human race has lived and worked in rural settings throughout history until about the last 300 years. We were hunter gatherers. With the industrial revolution the wrench came and people dashed to towns and cities to work unaware of the disconnect with Nature that they were experiencing. Biophilia means a love of life or living systems. Now we see the advantages that biophilic design can bring to environments in terms of freshness and aesthetics but above all it can help to improve health and well-being physically and mentally. The Japanese recognise the health benefits of forest bathing (shinrin-yoku) originating from not only the visual impact but also the fragrances and essential oils that trees emit making walking in natural settings calming to the mind and can also lead to decreased glucose levels but increased levels of the hormone serum adiponectin for example. The fractal patterns in Nature awaken our inner aesthetic senses responding to the visual richness and diversity. All these factors can affect cortisol levels, pulse rates, blood pressure, glucose levels, the balance of serotine-melatonin balance which in turn can affect mood and energy levels. These effects can easily be measured today with all the array of wearable technology easily available for individuals to purchase.
Biophilia offers a healing environment and allows people to draw emotional support from their settings. This psychological vitality of built space depends on the high number and the high quality of visual and intuitive sensory interactions among elements of a space and its users. Such interactions provide a multi-sensory experience. How the elements that construct a space together with the openings to the outside world and the air within it govern how people respond to the whole design. Physiology and psychology reactions govern interactions between structural elements, the space and human beings.'' (Salingaros 2015).
It has been reckoned that if everyone had access to green space this would save the UK healthcare system £2.1 billion a year.
The economic case has been demonstrated by researchers in terms of attendance rates at schools, reduction in crime, increases in worker productivity and quicker recovery rates in hospitals. Property values for homes or commercial buildings in Nature landscape settings are higher than those that are not. Green space lets children play with friends and also encourages people to walk or cycle more. These qualities inspired The Garden City idea of Ebenezer Howard and Patrick Geddes in the early twentieth century for Letchworth Garden City in the UK for example. Now we see the garden city concept reborn as a vital ingredient of new or regeneration schemes for cities in Europe, US or China for example. Housing estates in natural settings with trees and greenery have social and healing values. Loneliness, crime, stress and isolation are lessened but walkability, sense of community and sensorial beauty are increased.
At this seminar, Oliver Heath explores the science and style of Biophilic Design; explaining the ideas behind this emerging ethos and revealing new research that demonstrates how strengthening the human connection with nature can reduce stress, aid recuperation and so improve the many spaces we live and work in. These improvements can benefit our mental, physical and cognitive performance improving human health & well being in numerous building typologies be it offices, education, healthcare and hospitality environments.
In a time of increasingly urban populations and increasing influence of the built environment on peoples’ day to day lives, the risk of a nature experience deficit increases. Scott Carroll will discuss how the design of urban space can be approached to create environments rich in biophilic experience that bring people into the close and frequent contact with nature that is essential for health and happiness
Plants featured in the Cundall London office fit out in terms of Biophilia and is contributing to their WELL Building Standard Gold certification. Cundall had undertaken research into the positive impact plants have in buildings and have applied this to the fit out. Initial studies have identified the potential impact in terms of improved air quality and energy reduction. The potential for plants to contribute to improvements in air quality is being investigated further through the development of an active living wall. Alan Fogarty will summarise the issues and findings of the research to date.
The urban fabric, its demographic and what we perceive as ‘nature’ is in a state of constant flux. Joe Clancy examines the variable factors which affect how we respond to the built environment and the efficacy of biophilic design patterns. By exploring how cognitive psychophysiological responses and environmental preferences vary among different age groups, genders and cultures, the talk by Joe Clancy will identify suitable strategies for implementing biophilic design patterns suitable for specific user groups and for creating inclusive biophilic spaces that accommodate multiple user groups.
18:00 - 18:15 Registration (Coffee & Tea)
18:15 - 18:30 Welcome & Introduction Prof. Derek Clements-Croome, Chairperson of the CIBSE Intelligent Buildings Group
18:30 – 18:50 ‘The Science and Style of Biophilic Design’ Oliver Heath
18: 50 - 19:05 ‘Creating Urban Nature Experience Using Biophilic Design’ Scott Carroll
19:05 - 19:20 ‘WELL Planted’ Alan Fogarty
19:20 - 19:35 ‘Biophilic Design Patterns: Controlling for Variability in the Built Environment’ Joe Clancy
19:35 - 20:00 Questions
20:00 - 20:30 Networking