Biophilic Architecture: In the last three decades, empirical evidence confirmed that designs that connect humans to natural contents and landscape configurations enhance humans’ overall sense of well-being, with positive and therapeutic consequences on physiology. We perceive that the natural contiguous keeps us healthy and, in turn, probably promotes physical performance as well. Therefore occupants of built environments don’t want to work, play, eat, or sleep in a functional building. As a result, they want to be revitalized, comforted, inspired, and reassured by their surroundings. However, opportunities to be in contact with these elements are progressively reducing in current urban life. Therefore, architectural theorists have recently paid more attention to reconnecting the built environment to these elements. As a result, biophilia is one of the freshest and viable relinking theories in this field.
Biophilia: Bio means “life or living things,” and Philia means “love.” Biophilia can translate to Love to live. Erich Fromm first used it in 1964 to describe a psychological orientation of being attracted to all that is alive and vital. But the term became popular when Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson introduced it to the world in 1984. He laid the foundation for the development of a new design paradigm. Studies of our inherent need for nature suggest that the natural world is a defining part of the human psyche; a significant source of our sense of identity; physical, emotional, and cognitive development; and an essential foundation for developing our aesthetic and spiritual experiences.
Biophilic architecture standards by Stephen R. Kellert set 6 elements and 75 attributes to guide practitioners in the design process.
1. Environmental features – Some characteristics of the natural environment are sunlight, fresh air, plants, animals, water, soils, landscapes, natural colors, and natural materials.
2. Natural shapes and forms – Recreation and mimicking of shapes and forms found in nature which includes botanical and animal forms such as leaves, shells, trees, foliage, ferns, honeycombs, insects, other animals species, and body parts.
3. Natural forms and methods – Functions, structures, and chief characteristics of the natural world.
4. Light and space – Spatial and lighting qualities can evoke the sense of being in a natural situation.
5. Context– Connections between buildings and the distinctive geographical, ecological, and cultural characteristics of particular places and localities.
6. Evolved human relationships to nature – Basic inborn inclinations to affiliate with nature such as being in a coherent and legible environment, the sense of prospect and refuge, the imitation of living growth and development, and arousing various biophilic ideals.
Further some well-known examples of Biophilic Architecture:
1. One Central Park – Sydney, Australia
One Central Park is one of Australia’s largest mixed-use buildings, comprising two residential towers, a shopping center, commercial blocks, and a cantilevered heliostat hanging in the sky. Designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel and Patrick Blanc, the building features exclusive elements yet complex planning, gaining vibrant recognition as a biophilic architectural structure worldwide. Architect’s technique of using a hydroponic system to create tall vertical gardens, stretching over 50 meters high, is a mind-gusting effort in showcasing the potentials of biophilic design.
2. Bosco Verticale – Milan, Italy: Example of Biophilic Architecture
Bosco Verticale, inaugurated in 2014, are two residential towers that instantly became a valuable landmark of Milan’s city and its most forward-thinking mentality. Designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti, they were inspired by the novel The Baron in the Trees, in which the protagonist decides to leave the land and live on the trees. The towers are 111 meters and 76 meters high, entirely covered by approximately 900 trees planted in the structures’ terraces. Also, the plants are entirely sustained through the use of renewable energy and collecting wastewater.
3. The Jewel – Changi Airport, Singapore: Best example of Biophilic Architecture
The aim was to make Singapore as green as possible. As a result, the epitome of biophilic architecture as we see it today. On the other hand numerous great biophilia projects. However, the Jewel stands out as an icon for public spaces in an urban context. The Jewel is a landscape-themed entertainment and retail complex inside Changi Airport, Singapore. It Links three of its passenger terminals, where the centerpiece is the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, named the Rain Vortex, surrounded by decks of forest in the promenade.
4.Amazon Sphere Headquarters – Seattle, USA
Amazon Spheres are conservatories consisting of three domes located in the Amazon Headquarters campus of Seattle, Washington. Meanwhile, each dome is covered with pentagonal hexecontahedron panes, changing from nine to twelve meters high. As there all three spheres are filling with approximately 40,000 plants and co-working spaces and lounges reserved for Amazon employees. NBBJ, an American Global architecture, and planning firm, designed these conservatories encouraged by biophilic concepts.
5. Planted Pergola – Tokyo, Japan
The Heatherwick Studio founder, Thomas Alexander Heatherwick, is one of Britain’s most significant designers. However, the building provides a new identity in Tokyo’s context. Also, this 6,000 square meters structure is a mixed-use building fusing biophilia and a fluid style of architecture. ‘Planted Pergola’ is a challenging project, shaping in a colossal pergola form that seems to be stretching down from a corner, soon to become a distinctive landmark in Tokyo’s redevelopment Toranomon-Azabudai district.
6. The New York Highline
The New York Highline is one of the well-known examples of biophilic architecture. Also, the architect of it is James Corner Field Operations, the High Line is a 1.45-miles long renovated train line, with one mile presently open to visitors. More than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees are planting on the High Line. More than four million people visit each year, making it one of the city’s most-visited public parks.
7. Bahai/ Lotus temple, New Delhi
The architect, Fariborz Sahba, has attempted to make this building familiar and acceptable to the Indian people. However, the basic idea of the design is that two fundamental elements – light and water – have used as ornamentation in place of the statues and carvings typically found in Indian temples. Also, the structure comprises three ranks of nine petals each, taking inspiration from the biomimetic form of a lotus.
Khushro Ansari is an Architect. While juggling between college submissions and research deadlines he finds time to write about architecture and founded archEstudy. He is a passionate individual with a penchant for architectural design, innovative design, and creative writing. He aspires to bring design activism and sustainability to the forefront in all his professional endeavors.