Main Feature

Jul-Aug 2015

 
THE BIOPHILIC OFFICE | RECONNECTING NATURE TO THE WORKFORCE

by Miriel Ko

How often do we say in the workplace that we could use a little vacation? And more often than not, what are the places we think of when we envision that place? Perhaps we think of a beach, a trail through the forest, the mountains or a quiet place in our very own backyards. When asked where our ideal place is in the world, most individuals would instinctively think of a place outdoors. However, while Greening the office building has raised significant awareness on how to build more sustainably, it has done little to reconnect people to their natural environment. To many experts including Kellert and Finnegan, producers of Biophilic Design: the Architecture of Life, “it is the missing piece in the puzzle of sustainable development.”

Despite strong evidence that indicate humans’ preference for natural systems and processes, people are increasingly isolated from the natural environment. With rapid urbanisation in the last few decades, people now spend upwards of 90 percent of their lives indoors. While the condition and qualities of our indoor space can vary, most offices over the last few decades also resemble nothing like the ancestral environments in which human systems have evolved. Realising the significant trade-offs to our health and well-being, the focus is no longer just about what buildings can do for the environment but rather what the environment can do for people.
 

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