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A new term in German is enriching the architecture scene, finding supporters and enthusiasts, critics and skeptics. Biophilic design represents the integration of nature into architecture, connecting exteriors and interiors, the reconciliation of green and glass. But is this more than just a trend?
To meet the critical needs of a sustainable future,www.terrapinbrightgreen.com/ - external-link-new-window https://www.terrapinbrightgreen.com/>terrapin bright green is coming up withnew approaches. The institution is committed to reconnecting people with their environment, to shape a healthy, regenerative future. As such, these 14 commandments cover the key points of biophilic design:
Things that have been proven by studies today were understood intuitively in the 19th century. Along with the industrial revolution and the growth of behemoth cities came the need to bring green into the gray, to contrast green lungs with the steam engines and foundries. Central Park in New York and the English Garden in Munich are just two examples of integrating pseudo-paradisaical green spaces into hemmed-in gray zones. Their deliberate naturalness, their planned architectural garden design suggest nature, where culture is at work. Yet there is good reason for biophilic design to primarily be applied in the world of work, as the current trend shows. Across the globe, more than half of all office employees work somewhere where there is no natural light; many offices have fewer square meters of space than the prescribed area of an individual cell in a German prison. Even in large offices, efficiency, concentration, and creativity are rather underexposed. And more and more studies are demonstrating the feel good-factor of biophilic design. They claim that children learn better in schools featuring biophilic design, that sick people get better faster in biophilic hospitals, and that employees work more efficiently in biophilic offices. Do these studies really check out? We asked ten architects from all over Germany and not one knew the term. However, following an explanation, each one could name at least one example of biophilic design in their area. An artist’s residence near Bremen, a detached family home in Gelsenkirchen, an ad agency in Cologne. In this last example, the conference room has been decorated with birch cones from floor to ceiling, staff sit on tree stumps during meetings, and the table is a single piece of almost-untreated wood. Supposedly, the conferences now tend to take just 20 minutes instead of an hour and the results are more creative. Whether this stems from the wooden decor or homeopathic imagination doesn’t have an effect on the results. One thing is for sure: An architect who designs according to the principles of biophilic design can explain their drafts with the effect in mind and back up their knowledge with science.
Some companies are using this feel-good concept to the benefit of their employees, making office spaces greener, and making water run down glass walls. Green walls are used to humidify the air and improve the room air climate, but also absorb pollen and pollutants. Allergy sufferers will certainly appreciate that. The result? Employees enjoy the innovative workplace and experience significantly better health. In addition to the improvement in occupational health, the shortage of skilled workers is a significant driver of biophilic design. Those who feel comfortable working for eight hours in the same environment, enjoy their work – and are more motivated and efficient. Large companies such as BMW, Google, and Apple have already recognized this and designed their workspaces accordingly. Implementation in an existing building is however much more difficult than new builds that are planned around biophilic design. Primroses on the window sill don’t quite create a natural experience, a revegetated roof is far from an oasis of well-being.
Five factors determine the degree of biophilic design that a building has achieved. They can be very differently implemented and should ideally be connected.
These dimensions are suitable for a quick check of the “biophilic level” of a property, as a quick means of ‘diagnosis’ for practicing architects. To implement and integrate health and natural aspects into architectural practice, environmental strategists and architects from Terrapin Bright Green have developed 14 basic patterns that follow biophilic design. They provide assistance, from abstract idea right through to actual implementation, from furniture materials to room effect, from the play of light to background noise. For this post, we’ve translated 14 golden rules of green design into German, for the very first time.
As examples of biophilic ensembles, representatives of this aesthetic prefer spiritual places such as the Vatican Gardens or the Alhambra in Granada. Modern examples such as the Pulitzer Foundation in St. Louis, built by Tadao Ando, and the Denver Art Museum by Daniel Libeskind, or the new thermal spas in Bucharest. Of course, these are representative buildings, which are more easily available to observers than the headquarters of Google and Apple. Whether this ‘love of life’ has long-lasting appeal remains to be seen. Research is picking up speed, and for architects, it’s worth getting on board. There is a good deal to suggest that biophilic design is more of a tendency than a trend, that it will be a long-term element, and not just boring theory. And what do the forefathers of the movement have to say? Henry David Thoreau ended his main piece of work with a rather critical outlook, yet remained hopeful. The final sentence? “The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn.”