Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Film 13- Biophilic Design

Question: anything else?


  1. This film was very different from the rest we have seen thus far in this class in that it seemed to have a more hopeful tone as we were shown examples of how biophilic design can be used to create buildings/interior environments that successfully fulfill the human need for having beneficial contact with the natural world. One of the ways designers do this is by designing with the local architecture of the place. We can’t put Europe everywhere.

    “We tend to be less fascinated by the places we live in,” but often times our best design solution is the one we find in our own back yard. For example, I am working on a project based in the Glenwood neighborhood, where the median household income is only about $22,000. I could never use Versailles-like architecture in Glenwood and expect it to be a success. Good design doesn’t have to be expensive design, however it should be beautiful. “Beauty is our word for the perfection of those qualities of the environment that have contributed most to enabling our survival.” If these qualities are thus perfected this means they must run efficiently as well. Therefore “if something is not beautiful, it is probably not efficient.” This principle applies to living organisms, designed objects, and places. As designers we seek to create efficient and successful projects by emulating the beauty of nature so that the built “organism” we occupy can run as smoothly and effortlessly as our original home outdoors.

  2. I love this film. It offers so many interesting design examples of Biophilic design from leaders in the industry like William McDonough, David Orr, Richard Cook, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Every time I view this film I pick out some little detail that I can use in one of my designs. Currently I’m working on the design of a childcare facility within my mix-use design. In viewing a children’s healthcare facility it showed an open area similar to my design, with a wall décor of an expanding tree with branches filled with birds, and mobiles of birds hanging from the ceiling. This reoccurring theme with the use of natural elements expands my horizon into other possibilities, like painting the ceiling of the napping room a deep blue and adding stars throughout it. Why not? It’s fun, and appropriately placed making strong connections to nature.

    Connecting to the natural world has a strong presence in the human condition, yet we spend most of our time in doors. Biophilic design offers a compromise to our senses and provides a restful prelude in satisfying our need to connect to the natural world in the built environment. Offering natural materials of wood and stone reinforces this condition, but introducing elements in nature like a garden atrium of planted vegetation, expanded views, abstract forms of trees, birds, and the ambience of the sky offers comfort to our soul.

    As we look at some of Frank Lloyd Wright’s elements in architecture we stand in awe at what a trailblazer he was for our industry. He set the standard that others like William McDonough and David Orr to build upon.

  3. This film explains biophilic design as the connection of people with the built environment. How architecture mimics natural forms to create environments. This helps people have a better performance with natural components like living roofs and natural light integrated into the designs.
    Design caring is the creation of a bridge between nature, buildings, and emotions of people; under the concept of life follows life. This is done by using materials that comes from nature, with a lower cost, and long lasting properties.
    Another important point is the connection of people to place, creating environments that are ad hoc to the conditions of a place and not interfering with it. They mentioned Tuscan architecture as good sample of architecture that belongs to a place and celebrates the environment. It is all about the connection with the environment, caring for the earth and our relation to it, quality of life and space, healthy practices, and a better productivity.

  4. Watching this film gave me the feeling of “coming home” on many different levels. I have been learning about biophilia and its offshoots, Attentional Restorative Therapy and Stress Recovery Therapy, for several semesters. It seemed like Kellert was an old friend reminding me of important lessons from the past, even though my only contact with him was a couple of emails. The other “coming home” feeling related to much of the architecture the film showed. We may not have articulated the concept hundreds of years ago, but humans have been incorporating the natural world into our man-made one for a very long time.

    It was serendipitous that I visited Fallingwater and Monticello recently. I had been to Monticello before and enjoyed the tour just as I had expected to. But Fallingwater surprised me. Even though I have had an intellectual appreciation for Wright's work, I have not had an aesthetic appreciation for his interiors. Being inside Fallingwater changed that. My emotional reaction to being inside a structure that was not organic in the sense that a “fake cave” would be, but (this sounds corny, but I don't know how else to say it) it felt more womb-like. I felt this in both large and small spaces. This is the first building I had ever been in that felt like it was a living entity. I really do not think that I understood “ hardwired emotional affiliation for life and life-like processes” as related to architecture until I was standing at the top of the stairs in the living room that lead to the water. I did not want to leave.

    So now I am puzzled about what is motivating me more, the quest to save the planet or the desire to create something that will touch another human the way that Fallingwater touched me.

  5. “Sustainability is talking about impact of us on nature and biophilia is about impact of nature on us”, this quote shows the meaning of biophilia. In my opinion, the scholars who write these theories are very intelligent persons. This theory is talking about a very obvious fact, but seeing this fact and mentioning it to other people is the interesting part of it.
    I know an example of healing because of being in contact with nature: one of my relatives, got depressed after his retirements and the small garden in his house was the main facts that helped him to take him back to his normal life. The reason is being in direct contact with a living element and watching it growing and the fact that you are the guardian of it, is helpful to feel important and useful.
    But there are some questions: the buildings that are shown in this movie are in good climate, what if we talk about buildings in harsh climate, like desert or very cold spaces. In these situation being in direct contact with nature is challenging and needs more thoughts. As it says in the movie that “bringing nature into the space may increase the amount of energy to maintained the building at the same time.” The other question is about using natural materials for building new constructions, like using real wood to make a building, this is equal to cutting trees, so this is another challenge.
    As we watch in the D2-Design series, one of the solutions for creating a sustainable design, is having a design that creates potential. As designers, considering nature in our design, and by helping people be in contact with nature,is a way of creating that potential. In another words, considering biophilic theory in design helps to create the architectures and interior environments that are the extension of their users body.