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  • Writer's picturePedro J. López

What is Biophilic Architecture? Seven Main Principles

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

You may have heard about the term "biophilic architecture". But what exactly does it mean? And what are its main principles? In this article, we'll explore the concept of biophilic architecture, its main principles, examples of biophilia in architecture, the benefits of biophilic design, and the difference between biophilic and green architecture.

what is biophilic architecture
Photo: Supanut Auronprayote

Biophilic architecture is a design philosophy that seeks to create buildings and spaces that connect people with nature. It incorporates natural elements, materials, and light to enhance the well-being and productivity of occupants and the built environment's sustainability. Biophilic design is based on the belief that humans have an innate connection to nature, and that by bringing elements of the natural world into our built environment, we can improve our health, happiness, and overall quality of life.

Main Principles of Biophilic Design

There are seven main principles of biophilic design:

  1. Nature in the Space: This principle involves incorporating natural elements into the built environment, such as plants, water features, and natural materials like wood and stone.

  2. Natural Shapes and Forms: This principle involves using natural shapes and forms in design, such as curves, arches, and irregular shapes.

  3. Natural Patterns and Textures: This principle involves using natural patterns and textures in design, such as wood grain, stone textures, and leaf patterns.

  4. Light and Shadow: This principle involves using natural light and shadow to create a sense of depth and dimension in a space.

  5. Color: This principle involves using colors found in nature, such as greens, blues, and earth tones, to create a calming and soothing environment.

  6. Views: This principle involves incorporating views of nature, such as landscapes and gardens, into the design of a space.

  7. Connection to Nature: This principle involves creating a connection to nature through the use of materials, textures, and elements that evoke a sense of the natural world.

3 Examples of Biophilia in Architecture

There are many great examples of biophilia in architecture, ranging from small design elements to entire buildings. Here are a few examples:

The Eden Project in Cornwall by Nicholas Grimshaw, England

biophilic architecture example eden project
Photo: Max Siegmayer

The Eden Project features giant biomes that house thousands of plants from around the world, creating a biodiverse environment for visitors to explore.

Jewel Changi Airport by Safdie Architects in Singapore

example of biophilic architecture
Photo: Matteo Morando

Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore is one of the most impressive examples of biophilic architecture in the world. It shows what's possible when designers and architects prioritize the human experience of the built environment and incorporate natural elements into the design.

The Rain Vortex is just one of many natural elements in the design of Jewel Changi Airport. The building is filled with plants, trees, and greenery, and even has an indoor forest called the Shiseido Forest Valley. The idea behind all of these natural elements is to create a sense of connection to nature even in the midst of a busy airport.

The Bosco Verticale by Boeri Studio in Milan, Italy

biophilic architecture examples bosco verticale milano
Photo: Fred Romero

The Bosco Verticale is a residential tower featuring over 900 trees and 20,000 plants, providing natural air purification and insulation for the building's occupants.

Benefits of Biophilic Design

  1. Improved well-being: Biophilic design has been shown to improve mood, reduce stress levels, and increase productivity.

  2. Environmental sustainability: By incorporating natural elements into the built environment, biophilic design can reduce energy consumption, water usage, and waste production.

  3. Increased property value: Biophilic design can increase the value of a property by making it more attractive to buyers and renters.

Difference Between Biophilic and Green Architecture

While biophilic architecture and green architecture share some similarities, there are also some key differences.

Green architecture focuses primarily on reducing the environmental impact of buildings through the use of sustainable materials, energy-efficient systems, and renewable energy sources.

On the other hand, biophilic architecture focuses more on the human experience of the built environment, seeking to improve well-being and productivity by connecting people with nature.

While both approaches are important for creating sustainable and healthy buildings, biophilic architecture places more emphasis on the psychological and emotional benefits of connecting with nature.

I hope you found this article useful! It's time to create spaces that are not only beautiful and functional but also promote health and happiness.

Ready to bring your architectural vision to life? Contact us today for a free and personalized quote on our high-end rendering services.

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