The biophilia hypothesis

The biophilia hypothesis proposes that most humans have an innate love of nature. We long for it and without connecting with it, our health could suffer. So, biophilic design is an applied solution to appease this desire for nature by integrating natural elements and processes into the built environment.

Urban environments with higher levels of biophilic interaction induce lower levels of stress and anger in the inhabitants.

In the built environment, direct experiences of nature refer to plants, light, water—any aspect that provides direct contact with green elements. It can even include natural air movement! These are features we should bring to our clients’ work environments, whether educational, healthcare, or industrial buildings.

  • Plants are beneficial because they are living, breathing organisms. Studies have shown that plants enhance creativity, performance, and productivity—something we want to increase in our office and home environments. 
  • Views of direct nature and experiencing daylight also have a strong impact on environmental psychology. In 1984, Roger Ulrich conducted a study that posited that healthcare patients with views of green nature recovered faster than those viewing a brick wall. When designing a new building, do we take our neighbor’s views into consideration?
  • Water and airflow also play key roles in biophilic design. Whether incorporating an indoor river or adding natural airflow to a building, these aspects help round out the natural ambiance.

~ Information provided by BDCNetwork

Bioliphic Design - Outdoor Living Space
Biophilic Design – Outdoor Living Space. Image: Cottages & Gardens

The Biophilic Design Concept

Biophilic design is a concept used in the building and interior design industries that bring humans into contact with indirect and direct nature through the elements of architecture. For example, a wall of vines placed cohesively into a rooftop patio provides residents of a condominium building with direct access to lush greenery in the midst of a busy city. Not only can biophilic design by the addition of “greenery” into the design of the building, but it can also incorporate food and vegetation as well.

~ Farmly Place

Invoke nature

A well-kept freshly watered money plant on your study desk certainly invokes nature. So does two indoor palm plants in the living room. Perhaps a few succulents on the coffee table or the bedside table will also encourage one’s interaction with nature. Yet, these are not elements of Biophilic design.

Points of consideration

  • Urban environments with higher levels of biophilic interaction induce lower levels of stress and anger in the inhabitants.
  • Frequent and routine contact with nature through careful design triggers the relaxation of tensed muscles and lowers blood pressure and stress hormone levels in the blood.
  • The relationship that architecture establishes with nature is essential to the learning environment, sometimes even letting nature have ‘the upper hand’. Wood, an element used throughout is a pre-eminent presence.
  • Nature-driven design is simple; just let nature and its elements in…..Furthermore, using materials like wood, copper, and glass to reference nature brought in elements of nature to calm the space down. Additionally, a plant curtain wall helps to keep the space green and breathes freshness in the space.

Extend Your Outdoor Living Space

Another design idea to consider is to extend your home living into an outdoor space such as a deck or porch area.  If your home interior design project is completed and you’re thinking about expanding your space, you could consider a DIY approach. Try 4-track windows and doors that transform your outdoor space into a 3-season room, adding to your biophilic focus. These products can be tailor-made to fit any area. You can transform your existing deck, patio, or porch into a relaxing getaway. Don’t settle for a screened-in room – extend the use of your outdoor space with a 3 season porch, patio, or deck! Companies like Porch Life can help you custom-order your 4-track vinyl windows and ship them nationally.

DIY Memory Vinyl Windows from Porch Life can extend your outdoor living.

Around the world, the biophilic design trend is catching on. Architects and interior designers are selling concepts and themes that fall around the concept of green spaces and everything to do with nature. While it is encouraging that people are waking up to the coexistence of nature and architecture, one can only wonder if it is only the facade of this truth that is green or if there are efforts that validate this truth. 


 Work Design Magazine Stimulating Biophilic Design Through Corporate Interiors
Stimulating Biophilic Design Through Corporate Interiors. Image: Work Design Magazine.

Contact Tiffany Hanken Design

Does the Biophilic Design concept inspire you? Do you need a free-flowing scheme in your home or corporate office to help reduce stress and create peaceful spaces? Tiffany Hanken Interior Design has the experience and creativity to suit your specific needs.