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Real Estate Journal



By Richard Gacek, Gacek Design Group Biophilic Design: Reconnecting people with their natural environment


n today’s society where housing is dense, urban living is prevalent, and

we are separated from it, our health and wellbeing is ef- fected in a negative way. Enter Biophilic Design. Bio- philic design is a sustainable, architectural interiors solution that reconnects people with their natural environment. Research shows when natural elements are integrated into interior spaces, (and inspira- tional, mindful places are de- signed), the result gives us live and work environments that are productive, welcoming, healthy, and less stressful. Biophilic design is not a new concept. Scientists, re-

searchers, and practitioners have been working for years to define those elements in nature that can have the most positive impact on our built environments. It seems that in recent years with the popu- larity of health, wellness, and ways to lessen your impact on the environment, there has been a heightened awareness to those practices that support it. Green building attempts to use eco-friendly building materials and construction procedures to provide better living. And research on human biology continues to work to in-

tegrate meaningful elements that evoke emotion such as: Why crackling fires and crash- ing waves captivate us; Why a garden view can enhance our creativity; Why shadows and heights introduce fascination and fear; andWhy companion- ship and strolling through a park have restorative, healing effects. Of course, this is a sim- plistic view of how biophilic design actually works. The 14 Patterns of Biophilic De- sign , a white paper created by Terrapin, a sustainability consulting firm, looks in detail

at the relationships between nature, human biology and built environment’s design in order to experience the human benefits of biophilia. The 14 patterns provide a series of tools for understanding design opportunities, including the roots of the science behind each pattern. Metrics and strategies are then identified for how to use each pattern. Patterns are organized into three categories: Nature in the Space Patterns , includes the direct presence of nature in the space, (for example: plant life, breezes, sounds, scents, bird feeders, butterfly gardens, water features, court- yard gardens and green walls or vegetated roofs). Nature of the Space Patterns, includes designing a space to evoke emotions you experience in nature, (for example: seeing a view over a distance, experi- encing a place for withdrawal from environmental conditions or the main flow of activity, in which the individual is pro- tected). Natural Analogues Patterns bring objects, mate- rials, colors, shapes, and pat- terns found in nature, in the form of artwork, accessories, furniture, and textiles into the built environment, (for example: shells and leaves, furniture with organic shapes and natural materials that have been processed or exten- sively altered). Interior Design Trends. Some of the most effective el- ements that can contribute to the wellbeing of those within it include natural materials, (reclaimed or sustainably sourced woods and flooring to look like a forest floor or a riv- erbed); natural light (skylights with views to nature); natural ventilation, plant life (potted plants, green walls); and views of the natural world (murals and landscape art). It’s im- portant to note that biophilic design works best in an overall built environment. When add- ing natural elements, make sure the entire interior en- vironment is connected, just like how all living things are connected, and bound together as a community. RichardGacek is theprin- cipal designer of Gacek De- sign Group. Gacek Design Group is a leading interior design and architectural consulting firm for those who value expertise and partnership in design. 

t e c h a d - vances keep us plugged in 24/7, we spend l ess and less time away f rom t h e g r e a t outdoors. In fact, 90% of

Richard Gacek

our time is spent inside a building or a vehicle. As hu- man beings we have an innate need to connect with nature and living things, and when

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