Biophilic Design in the Irish Times

Green design has the power to transform the world we live in

By John Holden (originally appearing in the Irish Times December 17th 2014)

In his 1984 book, Biophilia, American biologist Edward O Wilson described the term as humanity’s “urge to affiliate with other forms of life”.

This “urge” has been intuitively practised in one way or another by all of us. The promotion of biophilic design at home creates a positive and attractive atmosphere.

This is why we want to have plants in our homes, have pets for companionship and why so many retired men get protective of their Peruvian lilies.

An emphasis on nature is also a feature of an innovative design movement, which takes a lot of its influences from past architectural approaches.

Biophilic design in architecture is both ancient and thoroughly modern. Examples can be found in European cathedrals built centuries ago. At the same time there are only a small number of architects in the world consciously designing with biophilic principles in mind.

“Trying to reduce the carbon footprint is the major focus of designers these days, rather than the actual experience of the design itself,” says Limerick-born Joe Clancy, co-author of 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design.

“It’s ironic that you have many designers trying to reduce their impact by using eco-materials etc, when there are numerous studies showing that in environments with biophilic designs, people adopt more pro-environmental attitudes anyway.”

Read the full article here

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