Almost all of us are habituated to traveling to and from work, where we are usually surrounded by concrete walls, computer screens, and mobile phones. When we return home, we are once again surrounded by the luxuries and amenities that isolate us from the outdoors & nature. Although, I’m sure you have noticed that during your commute you’ve found yourself thinking about and planning that trip to Dubai Miracle Garden or Dubai Safari Park and maybe even a trek in Jebel Jais. It’s only because being in mother nature just has a soothing and relaxing effect on us.
“Biophilia” meaning –
“Love of Nature/Life”
When you just let go and submit yourself to the sheer beauty and freedom of the natural landscape you just feel like something magical has happened. Despite that, there is a good amount of evidence that the majority of humans remain detached from nature. We spend almost 90% of our time indoors, yes 90%! This is bonkers because, considering all of nature’s health advantages, we aren’t spending enough time in it. And that is exactly why Biophilic Design, a method of integrating elements of nature into your home or office, is so important.
What is Biophilia?
Edward Wilson, a Harvard professor wrote about what he calls the “Biophilia Hypothesis” in his book “Biophilia” in 1984. He describes it as, “all humans possessing an inherent tendency, from our ancestral ways of life, to seek connections with nature.” According to the theory, humans instinctually seek a deeper bond with everything that is natural. That calming and soothing feeling we get when in mother nature, may just be indicative of a greater evolutionary need to return to nature.
Biophilia is becoming increasingly essential for our health and well–being, with increased rates of relocation to metropolitan areas in developed countries and accelerating rates in developing countries we only seem to be getting more and more isolated from nature. And this is where “Biophilic Design” comes in because it aims to blur the line by incorporating elements of the natural environment into the places we visit, work, and live through architecture and landscaping to help reacquaint us with the benefits of nature on our health and well-being.
Biophilic Design essentially gives us a way to feel and experience the natural world through all five senses.
One dimension of biophilic architecture is through having a visual link to nature. Plant-life may be brought into the office by adding potted plants and living green walls (things we are experts at!), or by creating a view from a window onto a garden or any other kind of greenery. Indoor plants and flowers are not only calming and therapeutic, but they also help to hydrate and purify the air, reducing mental exhaustion and increasing concentration.
Water features like fountains and waterfalls add an element of sound to the natural sights and smells. Biophilic architecture can also create a sense of existence by simulating movement and altering temperature and airflow. Colors and textures from nature, as well as natural fibers like wood and stone, all help in bringing nature indoors!
The advantages of Biophilia go beyond our mental wellbeing. Biophilia also improves the quality of air and visual & aural comfort.
We can see how Biophilic Design is reshaping our workplaces and homes with an increasing number of landscaping contractors and architects adopting biophilic elements in their designs and work. The feeling of being enclosed in and surrounded by the same boring white walls is reduced with the introduction of plants and elements like green walls, moss walls, and water features. Especially in a country like the U.A.E., the use of green walls and plant life is welcomed as it not only adds beauty but also contributes to reducing the effect of the incredible heat we experience.