Biophilic Design Blog Series Part 1: What is Naturally Inspired Design?

Why you should incorporate the benefits of naturally inspired living into your home.

Homeowners often ask the team at Timber Haus Developments: “What is biophilic design?”. Biophilic design is a concept used by homebuilders and designers to increase your connection to the natural environment. People have a natural affinity for living systems, which draws us to seek connections with nature. The principles of naturally inspired living have excellent health, environmental, and economic benefits for homeowners.

"We are innately drawn to life and the natural world that surrounds us." - Edward O. Wilson

Biophilic principles originate from understanding human evolution, where we adapted organic responses to nature for most of our history. Only in recent modern history have humans developed the artificial environments in which most people live.

Timber Haus recognizes the fantastic benefits of Biophilic design and incorporates its principles into your custom home designs and builds.

Biophilic design can:

"Life around us exceeds in complexity and beauty anything else humanity is ever likely to encounter."
- Edward O. Wilson

In this guide, you will learn:

biophilic design

The Principles of Biophilic Design

Biophilic Design recognizes that humans have a connection with nature.

Biophilic design gives homeowners the soothing experience of nature in their own homes. Timber Haus homeowners can attest to the incredible benefits of naturally inspired living!

The successful application of biophilic design requires adhering to fundamental principles representing natural environments and experiences.

Prospect and Refuge Theory

Prospect and refuge theory describes why specific environments feel secure and meet basic human psychological needs. Prospect is the ability to see and observe your surroundings. A person’s back is protected, and something overhead is called a Refuge. So it makes sense that your home should be your sanctuary.  It should feel safe, warm, and peaceful.

People prefer environments where they can easily survey their surroundings and quickly hide or retreat to safety if necessary. Thus, humans perceive environments with prospect and refuge elements as safe places to explore and dwell.

Five principles of biophilic design:

  1. Biophilic design requires repeated and sustained engagement with nature
  2. Focuses on human adaptations to the natural world, that over evolutionary time have advanced peoples health, fitness, and well-being
  3. The design encourages an emotional attachment to particular settings and places
  4. Biophilic design promotes positive interactions between people and nature. This encourages an expanded sense of relationship and responsibility for human and natural communities
  5. Biophilic design encourages mutual reinforcing interconnected and integrative architectural solutions

What do these biophilic principles mean?

The more frequent, consistent, and impactful a person’s interaction with nature, the more health benefits they receive. People create an emotional attachment to their favourite natural spaces, which only grows with time. Your home is where you spend most of your time and can realize the most benefits of interacting with nature in a multisensory capacity.

3 Categories of Biophilic Design

"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you." - Frank Lloyd Wright

Nature in the Space

Nature In the Space addresses nature’s direct, physical, and temporary presence in space. Elements may include plant life, water and animals, breezes, sounds, scents, and other natural elements. Designers achieve the most meaningful natural experiences by creating direct connections with these natural elements, mainly through diversity, movement, and multisensory interactions.

Timber Haus builds these elements into your design so that you can reap the benefits of naturally inspired living.

Natural Analogues

Natural Analogues address organic, non-living and indirect evocations of nature. Analogues of Nature include objects, materials, colours, shapes, sequences and patterns found in nature.

These natural expressions can be artwork, decorations, furniture, decor, or textiles present in the space. Things that mimic nature similarly affect human perceptions of actual natural spaces. Designers aspire to evoke a natural space by providing information richness in an organized and sometimes evolving manner.

Timber Haus clients often enjoy feature walls, backsplashes, and asymmetrical features in their home builds.

Nature of the Space

Nature of the Space addresses how people interact with the environment in natural space. Our innate and learned desire to see beyond our immediate surroundings, our fascination with the slightly dangerous or unknown, obscured views and revelatory moments, and sometimes even phobia-inducing properties when they include a trusted element of safety. Designers achieve the most significant nature of the Space experiences by creating deliberate and engaging spatial configurations combined with patterns of nature in the Space and Natural Analogues.

Infill homes built by Timber Haus take advantage of the surrounding natural elements.  It is one of the best parts of building an infill!

The health and well-being benefits of naturally inspired living.

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of humans.

The health benefits of naturally inspired living are why people often choose Timber Haus homes over other builders.  There is significant scientific and anecdotal evidence that biophilic design positively affects our minds and bodies. In addition, our surrounding environment impacts our cognitive, physiological, and psychological systems in measurable ways.

Cognitive Functionality Benefits

Biophilic design benefits mental performance, agility, and enhanced memory. In addition, solid or routine connections with nature can provide opportunities for mental restoration, during which time our higher cognitive functions can sometimes take a break. As a result, our capacity to perform focused tasks is greater than those with fatigued cognitive resources.

Your home is where you recover and relax. Naturally inspired design by Timber Haus gives clients the peace they need to recover.

connected to nature

Psychological Health Benefits

Psychological responses to natural environments enhance our adaptability, alertness, concentration, and mood. Stress management is one of the main benefits of biophilic design. Empirical studies have reported that experiences in natural environments provide emotional restoration, with lower instances of tension, anxiety, anger, fatigue, confusion, and total mood disturbance

Being calm and happy at home is one of the goals of many Timber Haus homeowners. Stress relief is a fantastic benefit of naturally inspired living.

natural elements

Physiological Health Benefits

Physical benefits of naturally inspired living include enhanced physical fitness, lower blood pressure, increased comfort and satisfaction, fewer illness symptoms, and improved health. Interaction with natural environments gives people measurable health improvements.

Taking care of your health at home has never been more critical. Timber Haus builds homes with health in mind. You feel better when surrounded by nature.

Biophilic design patterns can make your home more enjoyable and give you enormous health benefits. Contact the team at Timber Haus for expert biophilic design today.