Biophilic design - 10 great examples - PlanRadar (2024)

Biophilic design - 10 great examples - PlanRadar (1)

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Biophilic design is one of the hottest trends in architecture and interior design today. But what exactly is biophilic design, what does it look like, and is it really useful? Here you can find out more about this trend and the debate that is taking place about it in architecture.

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What is biophilic design?

Biophilia can be defined as a love of nature, and the term is generally attributed to biologist Edward Wilson, who first described the concept in a 1984 book. In recent years, a growing number of corporate buildings, as well as examples of biophilic design indoors, have attracted much attention. The idea of ​​using plants in and around buildings has been around for thousands of years - from the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to the Alhambra in Granada.

Biophilic design encompasses a variety of concepts that the designer or architect can incorporate into their building. Some of the most common elements of biophilic design are:

  • Incorporating plants and trees into walls, interiors, roofs and landscaping.
  • Extensive use of natural light.
  • Attempting to ease the transition between indoors and outdoors through the use of skylights, sliding doors and balconies.
  • Introduction of water features.
  • Where possible, encourage wildlife, particularly insects and small birds.
  • Using images and colors associated with the natural environment.
  • Use of the random patterns that occur in nature in facades, floor plans or wallpaper.
  • Preference for natural materials, especially wood, clay or wool in the structure and decor.

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Why biophilic design?

To understand the appeal of biophilic design, compare the following two scenarios:

Option 1:Every morning you enter your company office in a building made of glass and steel. The lobby consists of hard marble floors, gray furniture and straight lines. You take the elevator to your office, where you see a row of uniform desks, chairs, and monitors. From the window you can see concrete buildings and busy streets.

Option 2:As you enter your office building, you hear the sound of a fountain and notice blooming flowers that attract butterflies that live in the lobby. The entrance area of ​​the building has a wavy wooden facade and is flooded with natural light. When you enter your office, it's almost like entering a greenhouse. The space is packed with a variety of houseplants, a green wall and various seating and desks. They notice a bird at a feeder by one of the windows before it flutters away.

For many people, the second office – which contains several common biophilic design elements – seems more attractive.

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5 examples of biophilic building design

Here are five well-known examples of buildings that rely on biophilic design.

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  1. Apple Park, California, USA

Apples neuer Campusis widely considered one of the leading examples of biophilic design. The doughnut-shaped structure mimics the natural curves of nature, allowing light into the offices from every angle, and a new forest of 9,000 trees surrounds the campus.

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  1. Bosco Verticale, Milan, Italy

TheVertical Forest(“Vertical Forest”) are two residential towers in Milan whose walls and balconies are covered with thousands of shrubs and bushes, most of which are irrigated by captured rainwater.

  1. Rolls Royce, Chichester, England

The engine manufacturer's headquartersRolls Roycein southern England has one of the largest green roofs in the world - with thousands of square meters covered in native plant species. This also helps insulate the building and control rainwater runoff.

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  1. The Spheres, Seattle, USA

The flashy onesSpheresin the Seattle offices of e-commerce giant Amazon are a fantastic example of biophilic design. The three transparent greenhouses are planted with a variety of plants and create a unique workplace.

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  1. Gardens of the Bay, Singapur

The entire city-state of Singapore is arguably the first “biophilic city” in the world. Authorities have made great efforts to incorporate plants, water and wildlife into buildings, parks, streetscapes and government offices.

5 examples of biophilic interior design

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In many ways, biophilic home design and biophilic interior design have always existed - because people have always had houseplants. Nevertheless, the following five examples of biophilic interior design have taken the concept to the next level.

  1. Second Home, Lissabon, Portugal

This coworking space in the Portuguese capital is one of the most exciting examples of biophilic interior design. TheSecond Homeis packed with thousands of houseplants that make for a truly unique workspace.

  1. Karolinska Indoor Fitness Centre, Stockholm, Sweden

TheKarolinka Interior Fitness Centrecontains many features of biophilic interior design, including images from nature, plants and natural materials in the gym.

  1. 1FA cafe pavilion, London, UK

ThisCaféfeatures a miniature green interior roof, natural materials and a design that mimics patterns found in nature.

  1. Citibank Banking Conservatory, Singapur

In thisCitibank office in SingaporeInterior and exterior spaces truly merge together. The biophilic interior design surrounds meeting rooms, event spaces and focus areas with native plant species.

  1. Living Grid House, Singapur

TheLiving Grid Houseis a fantastic example of biophilic home design. With its light-filled skylights, green interior walls and extensive use of houseplants, it is a fantastic example of biophilic home design.

What are the benefits of biophilic design?

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Proponents of biophilic design point to a variety of benefits arising from this approach. This includes:

  • Productivity:Various studies have shown that people who spend time near nature are more productive, concentrate better and learn more intensively.
  • Stress relief:It has long been believed that being surrounded by greenery and other plants reduces stress, and scientific research supports this hypothesis.
  • Health Benefits:Studies have also shown that people who are surrounded by nature recover more quickly from illnesses and injuries.
  • Better for the environment:Planting more trees and shrubs offers many environmental benefits, from carbon sequestration to promoting biodiversity to climate resilience by, for example, slowing stormwater runoff.
  • Ventilation:Some proponents of this concept believe that plants can rid the air of pollutants, especially when it comes to designing biophilic homes and offices.

Criticisms of the biophilic design concept

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Biophilic design is a relatively new concept, and there are few – if any – rigorous scientific studies proving that it is truly as beneficial as its proponents claim. Here are some of the potential drawbacks and criticisms of biophilic design.

  • Sloppy concept:There are few to no reputable scientific studies proving that biophilic design directly improves productivity, cleans the air, or makes people happier. It's true that some highly productive companies like Google and Apple use biophilic design in their offices. But that doesn't prove that biophilic design is responsible for high productivity. Since these companies attract the brightest and best minds, their employees would likely be very productive anyway.
  • Use of non-native species:Some biophilic designs could harm local biodiversity by introducing non-native species that compete with local flora and fauna.
  • Costly and difficult to maintain:Effectively caring for a large number of houseplants, green walls and other biophilic design elements is much more time-consuming than traditional building maintenance. It can also require larger amounts of water and energy.

Is biophilic design right for you?

Whether you're sold on the concept of biophilic design or not, it's an undeniably compelling idea, and many of its benefits are hard to deny. So what do you think about biophilic design?
If you already apply biophilic design in your buildings or offices, use PlanRadar to manage and monitor your maintenance processes.

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Biophilic design - 10 great examples - PlanRadar (2024)

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