Connecting Buildings to Nature: Biophilic Architecture

Off lately the concept of sustainable architecture has gained a lot of attention. If not everyone, at least most of us have realised the importance of sustainable concepts in architecture. These include utilizing daylighting, Wastewater treatment, Natural ventilation, and other such passive techniques. All these come under the umbrella of sustainable design. Whereas the branch of sustainable design that deals with connecting built form to the natural environment is termed as Biophilic Design. Now, how different is it from sustainable architecture? Biophilic design is specific to using natural resources and natural environment to compliment the built environment. Biophilic Design lays emphasis on natural lighting, natural ventilation and the natural landscape.

Role of Biophilic design

Basic Elements of Biophilic Design adapted from Duzenli et al 2015
The concept of Biophilic Design

Human evolution has occurred amidst nature. The human mind, sense and body largely evolution resonates with nature. Moreover, it is also known that exposure to nature improves health and adds cheer to our lives. Since architecture is crating comfortable built spaces for humans, it would be best to make spaces that are deeply rooted in the natural fabric. Hence, spaces that are well planned as well as designed with nature’s influences is always seen to add a positive vibe around. This environment is what we try to achieve by means of architecture in residential, commercial and workplace design. Therefore, Biophilic Design helps improving productivity and adds a healing property to the built forms.

Maximizing natural light in architecture not only helps to reduce the dependency on non-renewable sources but also adds temporal changes to space quality. For instance, certain lighting systems are designed to adapt the outdoor natural light or to resonate with our circadian rhythm. This small detail helps people to link with the outdoor environment and feel the natural changes in a 24-day cycle, thereby enhancing the visual and well as spatial comfort.

Features of Biophilic Design

waterfall restaurant villa escudero phillippines 3
Labassin Waterfall Restaurant
Thorncrown Chapel

Look at the above two examples, we can see how architecture is infused in the natural environment. This is the essence of Biophilic Architecture. It kind of blurs the lines between nature and built environment, tuning the whole spatial quality more inclusive of nature. Biophilic design and its close association with nature work in mysterious ways.  It renders space with the power to reduce stress and enhance creativity. Spaces with natural light, ventilation and natural greenery, work in the well being of mind and induce clarity of thought.

Biophilic design can be categorised into ‘Direct’ experience of nature and ‘Indirect’ experience of nature. Direct deals with the integration of natural sources of water. light, tress and utilizing natural landscapes. Whereas, the indirect approach involves including nature’s imagery, natural colours and forms inspired by natural habitat.

The rising urbanism has stripped architecture off its spatial quality. There is this race to erect buildings and make money paying no attention to spaces, user needs, sustainability and human well being. Biophilic Design tries to reverse this aimless race and makes spaces human friendly. It presents a wireframe that helps in relating human biological science and nature. More emphasis is laid on to factors like scale, climate and user demographics. These mainly influence biophilic design decisions and helps in understanding the design scope.


The biophilic design seems to be the most beautiful approach to architecture. But it has certain drawbacks as well. While it might indicate as the bridge to integrate human spaces and their love for nature, we must also understand that not everybody is the same. The social life today ahs advanced to a large extent and it is not feasible for everybody to live amidst nature. Moreover, it is also not possible for us to turn our cities into a nature-inspired biophilic zone.

Hence, there are limitations to these. We must consider the concepts of Biophilia for spaces where it seems to fit in. But in general, the concept of natural lighting and natural ventilation can be practised for all the spaces – rural or urban. Living life the Biophilic way may not be feasible for everyone, but living in spaces that are naturally lit and ventilated is surely going to help everyone. Hence, some parts of it must be made a common factor when it comes to designing spaces.

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Sudarshan Uppunda
Sudarshan Uppunda
Born & brought up in Bombay, based in Bengaluru, Sudarshan is an ambivert who can be outgoing-open and reserved at the same time. It all depends on the vibes! He deeply believes in vibes and personal energies. As an Architectural Journalist and Architect, he aims to write in a way that his content is relatable for all. Design is what interests him the most and he keeps trying his hand at different design verticals such as graphic, UI & UX design at times. He likes to write and explore varied topics on Workplace environments, Architecture, and Culture. He is quite active in architectural content writing and has written for various platforms like RTF, The Arch Insider, Gharpedia, etc. He strongly believes that whatever one does in life, one must do it with passion & be happy with it.

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