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Reconnecting with nature through Architecture and Design

September 30, 2021

Considering how much time we spend in built environments - whether it be at home, work or school, the ability to be able to connect with nature is increasingly being factored in the design process.

Nature connected design, also known as biophilic design is a response to the need to bring nature into the built environment and focusses on aspects of the natural world that contributes to human health and productivity.

Research tells us that children and adults alike are healthier, happier and more creative when they have a connection to the natural environment. A connection to nature can improve your physical and mental healthand reduce stress, boost your immune system and increase your energy levels.

The outcome of using natural materials such as wood, contribute numerous health and wellbeing benefits. Exposure to this most ancient and modern natural material generally elicits feelings of warmth, comfort and relaxation and creates a link to nature.

According to a report by Planet Ark on Nature Inspired Design, the benefits of employing wood to the principles of nature connected design in commercial and residential projects includes:

·        Improved air quality by moderating humidity

·        Improved emotional state and self-expression

·        Reduced stress response (pulse rate and blood pressure)

·        Helps to reconnect us to nature

·        Wood is the only renewable building material

·        Long-term store of carbon, helping to fight climate change

·        Low energy used in production, hence less CO2 in the atmosphere

·        Certification ensures timber comes from sustainable sources

Wood in particular, provides a connection with nature and requires minimal processing to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. But one of the less recognised pros that has recently emerged is the health benefits of wood.

We experience wood across the range of our senses. Several studies have examined the impact of wood on our body. The results of these studies indicate the presence of wood does have an impact on our physiology.

These studies all show the presence of wood can have positive physiological effects, lowering blood pressure and heart rate, providing improved thermal comfort and reduced stress responses when compared to other material types.

Nature connected design is not a prescriptive list; rather it is a series of principles that can be blended into variable palettes to reflect the benefits of time spent in nature.

Planet Ark’s Nature Inspired Design Wood Report concludes that wood is one of the oldest and most versatile building materials used by humanity, but now more than ever it has a large part to play in the design and construction of healthy buildings for us to live, work, learn and recover in. We couldn’t agree more.

Image credits

Architecture: Alex Symes  

Build: AJP Construction

Photo: Barton Taylor Photography

Location: Bronte, Sydney NSW

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Reconnecting with nature through Architecture and Design

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