WHAT IS BIOPHILIC DESIGN?

“We need nature in a deep and fundamental fashion, but we have often designed our cities and suburbs in ways that both degrade the environment and alienate us from nature.”

Biophilic Design is increasingly being integrated into architecture and interior design and the wider use of this concept has reportedly decreased the environmental impact of the built environment.

But it has accomplished little in the way of reconnecting us to the natural world, the missing piece in the puzzle of sustainable development.

Come on a journey from our evolutionary past and the origins of architecture to the world’s most celebrated buildings in a search for the architecture of life.

Together, we will encounter buildings that connect people and nature – hospitals where patients heal faster, schools where children’s test scores are higher, offices where workers are more productive, and communities where people know more of their

There is still a lot to be achieved in this field as for the time being, according to Biophilic Design.

“it has accomplished little in the way of reconnecting us to the natural world, the missing piece in the puzzle of sustainable development.”

However, scientists and researchers have recorded many benefits in buildings that connect people with nature.

Places like hospitals where patients have healed faster; in schools where children’s tests scores have risen, and offices where employees are more productive, as well as communities where neighbours and families are doing better.

The Human Spaces website released a report saying that introducing biophilic design has been a crucial determinant of both and employee’s success and happiness in his or her role in the workplace.

“The concept of biophilia highlights an innate connection between humans and nature, which more recently has been recognised as a key consideration when designing and developing workspaces,” Huma Spaces says in their report.

“The idea of incorporating nature into the built environment through biophilic design is less often seen as a luxury in the modern workplace, but rather as a sound economic investment into employees’ health, well-being and performance.”

The research findings highlighted the dramatic influence of various natural elements on three employee outcomes: well-being, productivity and creativity.biophilic-human spaces

In more detail, our findings have uncovered some of the unique relationships between elements of biophilic design and employee outcomes in the workplace and also identified many cross-country differences in these relationships.

The study found that 77 percent of people said that the design of a company’s office would not affect their decision to work there.

They say this would suggest that the positive influence of natural elements within the workplace may well be subconscious. To put it simply, office workers may not consciously feel that design affects their workplace choice, but

To put it simply, office workers may not consciously feel that design affects their workplace choice, but actually, it does.

What we are able to confirm following this research is that nature contact in the workplace is certainly linked to employee outcomes and this is true across a number of countries.

It’s, therefore, Human Spaces emphasized, very important for organisations, designers and researchers to be aware of these connections and act accordingly.

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1. MEASURABLE IMPACT – Biophilic design in the workplace has a clear, measurable impact on employee outcomes including productivity, well-being and creativity.

2. THE POWER OF PERCEPTION – Employees state office design would not consciously affect their decision to work for a company but their subconscious perceptions and impression of the business respond differently – is this something for employers to address?

3. NO CONTACT WITH NATURE IN THE WORKPLACE – Given the positive impact of biophilic design on productivity, creativity and wellbeing, surprisingly large numbers of employees reported having little or no contact with nature in their workplace.

4. EUROPEANS DESIRE NATURE INSPIRED DESIGN INSIDE – Bringing nature indoors can have numerous benefits for organisations in terms of employee outcomes. We found a 13% increase in well-being levels and an 8% increase in productivity for those working in offices that incorporate elements of biophilic design.

5. NATURE MOTIVATES YOUR WORKFORCE – When people enter a workplace that incorporates nature, they are more likely to feel happy and motivated for the day ahead.

6. PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTRACTS ARE AFFECTED BY THE WORK ENVIRONMENT – The work environment is also a key part of the psychological contract between employer and employee. Employees who feel their expectations have not been met may feel undervalued and disengaged.

7. NATURE INSPIRES INDUSTRY LEADING WORKPLACES – Don’t be left behind. The agenda for biophilic design in the workplace is developing quickly in the field, with a number of leading organisations providing employees with nature inspired environments.

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The Biophilic Office is leading the research and a demonstration project to show exactly how design can make a difference by creating a healthier and more productive office environment.

The leading global manufacturer of modular flooring, Interface, has been the first sponsor to be announced for the Biophilic Office project.

It focuses on the refurbishment of a 1980s office building on the BRE campus and presents a myriad of opportunities for sponsors and partners to get involved.

The project is being led by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and Oliver Heath Design.

“We are delighted to welcome Interface as the first sponsor for our biophilic design project,” said Edu Suttie, Director of Sustainable Products for BRE.

“The Biophilic Office is designed to show how quantified improvements in productivity and wellness can bring rewards for landlords, occupiers, developers and all those concerned with the office environment.”

Karen Lambert, Marketing Director UK and Ireland at Interface, said: “As an organisation, we’ve long been committed to highlighting the role of biophilic design in devising interior spaces that boost the wellbeing and productivity of people using them.”

She also said at Interface, “We’ve no doubt that the Biophilic Office study will provide the design industry with a wealth of quantifiable evidence demonstrating the positive impact of such workplaces on workers’ health and on business productivity.”

The information that the research will generate will be an invaluable resource for designers when advising clients on how to create the best possible working environments for their employees.

biophilic-design workplace -linkedinThe project is scheduled to kick off later this year and will include office evaluations by building technology experts to determine the amount and quality of daylight, lighting, indoor air quality, acoustic, thermal and humidity comfort.

Also, office occupants will undergo a confidential health evaluation, sign up to a series of on-line questionnaires and surveys and receive wearable technology to monitor key health metrics.

Researchers will carry out a year of pre-refurbishment and a year of post-refurbishment monitoring.

Interface Inc. is the world’s largest manufacturer of modular carpet, which they design for our customers under the Interface brand.

They are committed to sustainability and minimising their impact on the environment while enhancing shareholder value. And their mission, Climate Take Back, focuses on driving positive impacts in the world to create a climate fit for life.

The BRE is a world leading, multi-disciplinary, building science centre with a mission to improve buildings and infrastructure, through research and knowledge generation.

They apply cutting-edge research to develop a range of products, services, standards and qualifications that are used around the world to bring about positive change in the built environment. More at www.bregroup.com.

BRE is seeking more sponsors and partners to join Interface in this exciting project.

Find out more by visiting www.bregroup.com/biophilic and/or contact Ed Suttie ed.suttie@bre.co.uk for partnership opportunities.

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