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Posts tagged 'Biophilic Design'

Want to learn more about Biophilic design?

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The International Living Future Institute offers an online collection of programs and information. Their mission is to drive transformation in communities that is socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative. They are offering several online webinars on the topic of Biophilic Design that you may want to check out.

We often design cities and urban areas in ways that both degrade the environment and alienate us from nature. Biophilic Design is a new way of naturally designing the spaces where we learn, live and work.


The next one is in a few days – Introduction to Biophilic Design

October, 20th 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

Leading with a Vision: Could Biophilic design, the practice of connecting people and nature within our built environments and communities, be our most promising pathway to a restorative future, and the key to achieving Living Buildings? Hear from one of the foremost experts on the topic, and current CEO at International Living Future Institute as she offers an overview, and shares her vision for the future of Biophilic design. Learn about current developments for the newly formingBiophilic Design Initiative (BDI), and its objectives for achieving broad adoption of Biophilic design among the design community, building owners and cities. Listen as the speaker’s visions will encourage and inspire you to see the world, and the way we design – differently.

Learning Objectives:

– Understand a brief historical overview of Biophilic design, and current related developments in the topic.
– Learn some of the leading reasons to integrate Biophilic design in projects.
– Identify some of the leading resources for the successful implementation of Biophilic design.
– Explore opportunities to engage in a Biophilic design conversation and community.

There are many more on the website. Click here to find out more.

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Biophilic design – Not just beautiful spaces

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Biophilic design is only going to become more prevalent in the work place over time. There are some great examples out there already, including these below captured by Oliver Heath from Human Spaces. These are on a large scale and in most instances are works in progress. However if you skim through Google you’ll come across many smaller businesses who apply the same principles in their working spaces – bringing the outside in, allowing nature to lead the way.

1. Apple’s Campus 2, Cupertino, California, USA

Designed by UK based Foster + Partners Apples new HQ is proposed to be in Cupertino, California close to Apple’s existing headquarters. The 176 acres of land will house a 260,128 m2 office, a research and development building, an auditorium, research facilities, a fitness centre, cafe and a low carbon power plant to generate electricity for the campus.


Apple Campus 2 - Courtesy of the City of Cupertino

Underground parking will enable 6,000 trees to be planted with a network of walking paths for pedestrians to meander through the site. At the centre of the circular building there is a large circular courtyard where Apple’s employees can socialise, get some fresh air and have some restorative time away from their desks – crucially creating the opportunity to meet and cross fertilise ideas. Having natural landscapes within and surrounding the building means that employees will have views out to nature throughout the building whilst the large glass windows will allow plenty of natural light to flood the interior.

The design team state that the priorities outlined for this project are to:

* Maximise the amount of landscaped green space.

* Provide an expanse of open and green space for Apple employees’ enjoyment.

* Create a distinctive and inspiring 21st Century workplace.

* Exceed economic, social, and environmental sustainability goals through integrated design and development.


Apple Campus 2 - Courtesy of City of Cupertino

2. Facebook’s MPK 20, Palo Alto, California, USA

Recently opened this 40,000m2 office building on a 22 acre site has been designed by Frank Gehry. CEO Mark Zuckerberg claims it is the world’s largest open-plan office with one room that houses 2,800 employees to encourage collaboration. Plenty of Biophilic features have been incorporated which make this an aspirational place in which to work:


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Throughout the interior vibrant colours and natural materials are used to define areas and bring the metal, concrete and glass shell to life, e.g. one space immerses the occupier into a vibrant orange hue that emulates stepping into a sunset.

* The vast interior also includes smaller spaces where staff can retreat in order to work together more privately and restorative spaces in which to relax furnished with a range of textured furniture and carpet to stimulate the senses.

* The building also features a 9 acre rooftop park which gives employees plenty of access to nature when they step outside.

* Inside large double height windows enable views out to the planted surroundings and plenty of natural light to flood into the space.


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3. Amazon HQ, Seattle, USA

With their proposed offices Amazon are “seeking to build a neighbourhood rather than a campus”. The new neighbourhood which will be situated in downtown Seattle will be 3.3 million Square foot over 3 blocks of the city and will include 3 high-rise, two mid-rise office block, a multi-purpose meeting centre as well as a public dog-waking park, cycle track and ground-level retail spaces.

The highlight of this proposal for us is the three adjoining domes which will be at the centre of the development. These structures which are reminiscent of the Eden Project’s bio-domes will house four floors of open planned flexible work space and a range of trees and plants. The architects NBBJ say “The generative idea is that a plant-rich environment has many positive qualities that are not often found in a typical office setting, while the form of the building will be visually reminiscent of a greenhouse or conservatory, plant material will be selected for its ability to co-exist in a microclimate that also suits people.”


Amazon Seattle 2

These businesses are using biophilic design to their benefit in numerous ways- firstly to improve staff health and well-being – reducing absenteeism and presenteeism. Secondly, looking to create productive, creative and engaging spaces for staff that stimulates co working and the fertilisation of ideas. But also to attract staff in what’s termed the War for Talent, appealing to graduates with desirable spaces. And once there, it is hoped that this strengthened connection to nature will be alluring enough to retain staff for longer.

Whilst not all businesses would be able to construct their offices from scratch these designs offer a vision for the potential of future workplace design that can inspire smaller scale Biophilic Design approaches.

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Which companies have incorporated biophilic design?

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Most of Silicon Valley’s companies have incorporated biophilic design concepts both externally and internally.

“Biophilic Design is an innovative way of designing the places where we live, work, and learn. 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. The recent trend in green architecture has 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.” – Stephen Kellert

This video tells more:

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Human Spaces

Human Spaces is a portal and resource that collects reports, thoughts and ideas about our relationship with our working environment – A world of biophilic design.

“This initiative is dedicated to humans and the spaces we inhabit. Human Spaces explores the relationship between the built environment and our health and wellbeing. Biophilic Design in the Workplace is the first report on Human Spaces. It explores how biophilic office design affects our productivity, creativity and happiness. We hope you will enjoy. Human Spaces is a collaborative effort.”

Click on the image to download the report – the infographic is here.

Biophilic Design in the Workplace

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