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  • Writer's pictureSusanne Desbrow

Biophilia: A love for All Things Natural

Updated: Dec 16, 2023

It has been widely researched that the average American spends 90% of their day indoors. This statistic is unfortunately replicated in most of the western world including Canada. However as we spend more time indoors, there has been a shift in our built environments to create naturally inspired spaces. There has been a lot of talk about Biophilic design over recent years. Edward O. Wilson introduced his book, Biophilia in 1984. He defines Biophilia as "the urge to affiliate with other forms of life".

A conservatory for tropical plants with a glass ceiling showcasing biophilia.

Biophila, or biophilic design, is an innovative way to create natural environments for us to live, work and play in. By consciously including nature in the interior or architectural design, we are unconsciously reconnecting, bringing the great outdoors into our constructed world. We have an inherent inclination with nature. Biophilia explains why certain natural occurrences captivate us, enhance our creativity & provide restorative effects. It also defines the aspects of nature that most impact our satisfaction with modern built environments.

environment is taken into consideration. This can be done through the creative inclusion and optimization of spaces with a human focus, thermal comfort levels, air quality, toxin levels and ventilation, acoustic comfort, improved natural lighting, internal and external natural views, the use of natural materials, textures, patterns and colours. The design must nurture a love of place. It must create spaces that are inspirational, restorative and healthy. It also must be functional.

The exterior of a concrete building that has plants growing on each deck level showcasing exterior biophilia.

There are six major considerations

1 Environmental features

2 Natural shapes and forms

3 Natural patterns & processes

4 Light and space

5 Place- based relationships

6 Evolved human-nature relationships

A growing body of evidence is beginning to reveal the positive affects of Biophilia. Here are a few of the benefits:

Enhanced learning.

Quicker recovery from illness.

More livable and satisfying neighbourhoods.

Reduced employee absenteeism.

Improved health.

Increased mood and feeling of well-being.

Improved productivity.

Increased employee engagement.

Reduced stress levels.

Mental restoration & reduced fatigue.

The largest body of research around Biophilc design, has been conducted around health care. Evidence has been found to show there are substantial healing benefits, with Biophilic design. It is common for stress to be a major factor in inhibiting the body’s healing processes and recovery time. However, where patient rooms have views of nature, less pain medication is dispensed for the respective patients, and the overall condition improves as it reduces stress and relieves pain. Statistically speaking, the incorporation of biophilia within hospitals has reduced post-operative recovery by 8.5% and the use of pain medication by 22%.

Although there hasn't been too much research done into Educational & corporate facilities, There is a recognition that our need to connect with nature also boosts productivity, efficiency and morale. If you would like to learn more about how Biophila could benefit your environment, please do not hesitate to reach out to me via Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

Looking up at the wooden ceiling of a domelike structure. It could be a wooden sauna or a yurt.

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