Despite being a concept that has been around for decades, there are still a number of people unaware of what biophilic design incorporates. Biophilia, a term generally used to explain the innate human desire to interact with nature, is the root of this design principle. Meaning biophilic design is the incorporation of many different natural elements in the structures we build. As these elements are meant to positively influence our mental and physical well-being while occupying the spaces.
This has been an architectural design choice for some time now. Even centuries before the philosophy was truly discovered, architects understood that we function much more effectively when the structures they design incorporate these natural elements. Courtyards, gardens of flourishing plants, and even water fountains are some examples seen throughout history. All are meant to provide our minds with a sense of respite.
This effect isn’t superficial. These design choices have been proven to provide measurable good to those who occupy the spaces. It even goes beyond just making us feel better rested from the previous day. These elements lower our stress levels, allowing us to focus more on the task at hand rather than something external. They’ve also been proven to restore mental energy, which in turn enhances our creativity. These design choices also have a particularly poignant effect on students in educational settings, as they’ve been linked to an increase in academic performance.
It’s no surprise that most of the time a majority of students, even the youngest of students, spend in school is in a classroom. Perhaps a number of classrooms that are spread out across the school. Knowing this, why shouldn’t more of these classrooms be designed with the incorporation of natural elements in order to create spaces where students are able to perform their best? Biophilic design is not a particularly challenging set of principles to design classrooms with. Granted, some changes are more structural in nature and would require some construction, but there are a number of smaller scale changes that can be incorporated into these classrooms.
The infographic featured below, Biophilic Design In Education, details a number of these changes that can easily be made. In addition to presenting the results of the studies mentioned above. The number one thing to take away from the infographic is that these principles go beyond simply adding plants that surround the interior of the classroom. It details a number of other elements that can be added such as natural lights, the use of natural paintings to fill out the rest of the walls, and even including natural wooden furniture into the classroom for students to sit on.
For more information on additional changes that can be made to the classroom that are relatively inexpensive, take a look at the infographic provided by International Woodworking Fair.