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External alcove designed by Zias with tree and stepping stones

TIME TO READ: 1m 45s

As our lives are becoming increasingly more urbanised and technology based, designers are focusing on orientating spaces towards nature.

Biophillic architecture aims to create stronger connections with natural light, organic materials, natural textures and green spaces. Research shows more than 90 percent of us imagine natural settings when thinking of a place where we feel relaxed and calm, so it makes sense our day-to-day environment integrates more of the outdoors.

The concept of biophilia (the term meaning “a love of nature”) isn’t new, however today there’s a greater pull for design and architecture to be reflective of nature in both the spatial properties and materiality.

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Secret Gardens‘ rooftop space provides the inhabitants with a greater outdoor connection

Just pictures of our natural environment have the ability to reduce stress and improve mood. You can only imagine the effect exposing a room to more natural light, replacing man-made materials with those that came from the earth, and incorporating more plants indoors can have on our mindset.

Popularised in the 1980’s by American psychologist Edward O Wilson, biophilia is a trend that focuses on creating restorative spaces and strengthening our innate attraction to nature to improve our wellbeing. It doesn’t emphasise impressive, flashy materials or edgy design. Biophillic architecture and design create spaces that are soothing and use natural analogues of colour, texture and pattern to mimic nature.

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Woods Bagot’s Melbourne office design incorporates indoor plants and park views| Photo: Trevor Mein.

We see it in the use of green walls and roofs, expansive windows with views of natural scenery, and organic materials like stone, timber and leather. Corporate offices are replacing soulless cubicles with open desks surrounded by lush tropical plants. Internal courtyards are being interwoven into residential spaces to blur the lines between the inside and out.

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Jericho limestone used as indoor/outdoor bathroom flooring with cobble wall tiles and Howqua® granite walling outdoors

Materials that were once reserved for outside are now strong elements in an interior design scheme to create more of an immersive experience and stimulating a combination of senses. Earthy tones are prominent in fabrics used for upholstery of both interior and outdoor furniture. Landscaping is of greater importance with a strong presence of foliage and water, as well as a greater connection to the interior spaces.

Biophillic architecture utilises these basic principles in a human-centred approach to improve the wellbeing of its inhabitants and foster a stronger connection with our biodiverse natural environment.

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