I just read an interesting blog post on metropolismag.com. It discusses biophilia which is ” the apparent instinctive preference we have for certain natural geometries, forms, and characteristics within our environments.” It gives examples in which research proves that connections to the outdoor environment and elements of the natural world within an interior have positive effects on users.
It is logical that humans have a desire and need to have an ordered, attractive environment – otherwise there would be no jobs for interior designers! But it is fascinating to think about the effect that certain additions (and subtractions) can have on the experience and psychology of the end-user.
We all know that sunlight benefits moods and productivity. The article also points out that “researcher Koen Steemers and colleagues at Cambridge University found that the presence of vegetation increases thermal comfort. In principle, that means that simply by adding plants, it’s possible to raise or lower the thermostat and still maintain perceived comfort, while significantly reducing energy loads.” Who would have thought that a little bit of green could make you feel warmer not just in spirit but also in body?
The article cites a study by psychologist Roger Ulrich in the 1980s where he found that having a scenic landscape view rather than a view of a building facade “accounted for significant differences in post-operative complications, recovery times, and need for painkillers” in hospital patients. The visual environment is just as important as the physical environment.
The most interesting aspect of biophilia to me is the idea that “construction is not fundamentally driven by utilitarianism but is instead a contributing factor for our continued health.” If construction was only necessary from a utilitarian standpoint, we wouldn’t have such a rich history of different architectural and design styles. It’s an interesting way to interpret the design field.