Biophilic design: a strange term. Hmmmm, just like feng shui!
So What is Biophilic Design?
And they are related in another way, too. They both are about connecting humanity to the natural world.
First, the word biophilia was a term coined by psychologist Erich Fromm in the 1960’s (and later explored by biologist E.O. Wilson in the 1980’s). It refers to our love of life.
We feel good in nature and many architects and designers started taking note that growing mental illness in modern society may be linked somehow to our soulless modern buildings and environments.
But rather than studying the ancient principles of feng shui, they created a new discipline.
But that’s okay, I’m not that frustrated (smile).
As long as the end goal is the same: that we create environments that not only look good, but feel good!
Biophilic design is backed up by environmental psychology, which studies the impact buildings have on human behavior.
It has been found that healthy human development (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) is contingent upon access to the natural world.
Now, many buildings and communities are being built with biophilic design principles. Hotels, healthcare facilities, even corporate offices and housing developments have incorporated elements of nature into the design of their spaces.
So even if they don’t call it “feng shui”, that’s okay, as long as we are being nourished in our spaces and respect Mother Earth!
Since I’ve been studying biophilic design, I’ve created my own list of principles connected to each of the Five Elements of nature: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. I wrote about this in my book, Creating Luminous Spaces.
Additional reads if you want to learn more:
- Biophilia Hypothesis, by E.O. Wilson
- Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life, by Stephen Kellert, Judith Heerwagen, Martin Mador
Photo credits: Pixabay.com, WikiImages – Yale University’s Kroon Hall, built with biophilic design and LEED
Maureen Calamia is author of Creating Luminous Spaces: Use the Five Elements for Balance and Harmony in Your Home and in Your Life (Conari Press). She is also founder of the Re-Nature philosophy based on the premise that we need to restore nature back into our lives, our homes, and spirits.