To the uninitiated, biophilia might sound like a medical term! In actual fact, Biophilia is a Greek term meaning the “love of life” and it is also used to describe the belief that we human beings need a connection to nature to thrive. To make that natural connection, we do things like fill interior spaces with wool and cotton textiles, incorporate natural materials, patterns, objects, colours, and shapes into building design, facade ornamentation, decor, and furniture.
So, what are the benefits of plugging into nature, as it were? There is solid scientific evidence that indoor plants in a room can lower stress to a significant degree. Working in a room with natural light is thought to boost productivity, and there’s plenty of research that backs up that claim. As a bonus, you’ll get a better night’s sleep as light improves circadian rhythms. Meanwhile, a garden view can help people heal faster after surgery, and again, there is a significant deal of anecdotal evidence about this.
So, if biophilia is more than just a philosophy and there is actually a good degree of science behind it, biophilic design could become a feature in more homes and businesses. As far as its application in a residential sense is concerned, an outdoor room appeals as the most effective way to do it.
There is little doubt that modern outdoor rooms are stunning additions to any home, increasing valuable liveable space and maximising the property’s “wow factor”. But while the structure is extremely desirable at face value, on a deeper level it could be worth so much more by supporting cognitive function, physical health, and psychological well-being.
Such a structure brings the outdoors in and is a more authentic way to enjoy the benefits of biophilia. While walls featuring tree designs and rooms with decorative items made of natural materials are beautiful, an outdoor room can help to make a genuine and prolonged connection with nature, given that it offers protection from the elements. Rain, hail or shine, it is a sanctuary that hovers between exterior and interior. It is something that is part of the house, yet part of the natural world outside. Think of it as indoor-outdoor flow with a much more profound meaning than the real estate cliche.
Perhaps we are not connecting with nature as much as we should? If this is the case, then maybe we should embrace biophilia and start thinking of it as being more than just a vague philosophy.