Biophilia: the concept of nature in design

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By using biophilia and adding nature into our urban landscape designs, we could do wonders for our physical and mental health.

This beautiful video and secondary article could be used to demonstrate applications of scientific knowledge in design and architecture. It could give students with an interest in Biology and Earth and Environmental Sciences as well as art and design career inspiration.

Word Count / Video Length: 248 / 8:45 mins

Sometimes all it takes for us to feel a little bit better is to step outside and get some fresh air. Numerous studies have shown that stepping out into nature can relax and refresh us, as well as having positive impacts on our health. Knowing all those benefits, what if we could bring nature indoors?

This concept is known as biophilia and it sees architects looking to nature for inspiration.

Phillip Roös, an expert in environmental design and architecture at Deakin University says that human beings are “intrinsically connected and linked to visible and non-visible geometric forms and patterns in nature”.

“Biophilia is our human desire to be part of nature,” he says.

“Sometimes I refer it to sensory architecture because we have to include all our human senses to experience a place – particularly a place that has soul.”

However, biophilia isn’t just about adding some pot plants in the corner. Instead, it’s about taking cues from nature – like the curls of a wave, or the sound of flowing water – and adding them into our urban designs.

“If you’re in a forest, it’s not only that I see the tree and the soil, but I also hear things, I smell things, I feel things… There’s lot of avid connections that happen in that space. Can we bring that back into built form?”

“My research in this space is really striving to find that living structures in spaces.”

Years: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12


Biological Sciences – Ecosystems, Living Things

Earth and Space Sciences – Renewable/Non-Renewable Resources, The Changing Earth

Additional: Careers, Maths, Technology, Engineering.

Concepts (South Australia):

Biological Sciences – Interdependence and Ecosystems, Form and Function

Earth and Space Sciences – The Earth’s Surface