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    Top three biophilic designs

    By Jemma
    Feb 13, '20 7:53 AM EST

    Biophilic design is now a mainstay of contemporary architecture and, as we learn more about the benefits, we’ll likely see more buildings that embrace the curves and idiosyncrasies of the natural world.

    It’s now understood that by incorporating natural elements (such as planting, organic shapes, water features etc.) into our buildings and cities, we foster spaces that soothe us, keep us healthy, help the environment and even boost our economies. In his book, ‘Resilient Cities: Overcoming Fossil-Fuel Dependence’, Peter Newman estimates that New York City could save $1.7 billion from crime expenses – just by adding more biophilic landscaping to the city!

    As more evidence emerges for all of the above, more naturally-inspired landmarks are appearing on cityscapes across the world. Looking around any major capital, changes are afoot. Apartment blocks are now built to benefit from passive heating and cooling, office blocks huddle around meditative water gardens, and walkways are now clad in the hallmark timber grains of Millboard decking.

    We are undoubtedly entering a golden age of biophilic design, and with that in mind, here are our top three examples of the genre so far.

    3) The Amazon Spheres, Seattle

    These three spherical conservatories are part of Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle and are utterly ground-breaking. Designed by NBBJ and landscape firm Site Workshop, the domes are covered in pentagonal hexecontahedron panels. Each dome houses thousands of plants, including fully grown tropical trees. Amazon’s jaw-dropping meeting room, ‘The Bird’s Nest’ can be found nestled amongst the treetops in the largest dome. Amazon have really bought into the concept of working with the natural world, to the extent that they even allow their employees to bring their dogs to work! At the last count, 7000 dogs are taken to work by their Amazon employee owners daily, and they even enjoy their own luxury ‘doggy day-care’ perks at the spheres.

    2) Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

    The Gardens by the Bay nature park spans 101 hectares across the central region of Singapore. Designed by Grant Associates, the park’s Flower Dome is the largest glass greenhouse in the world! Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the build of the gardens at Singapore's National Day Rally in 2005, and explained that this new iconic recreational space would convert Singapore from a ‘Garden City’ to a ‘City in a Garden’. The ‘Supertree Grove’ section of the park has become instantly recognisable the world over, and the Supertrees themselves house vertical gardens that perform a multitude of functions including planting, shading and working environmental engines for the gardens. It’s no wonder that Singapore is often held-up as the example of a biophilic city.

    1) Bosco Verticale, Milan

    Italy’s Bosco Verticale is the epitome of biophilic living. These residential towers demonstrate the power of approaching ostensibly simple builds with an open and creative mind. Designed by Boeri Studio, the towers house 400 condominiums, and all residents benefit from the 900 trees, 5000 shrubs and 11,000 perennial plants, arranged across 8,900 square metres of terraces. This bold project tangibly demonstrates that we don’t have to choose between nature and contemporary engineering – it’s possible to strengthen designs and improve lives by combining both elements.

    By incorporating nature into the design of a building, you’ll be on the frontier of twenty-first century design, and more importantly, you’ll be creating spaces that reduce stress levels, increase social cohesion and improve the overall quality of life for your building’s inhabitants.

    For all the latest in design trends, visit Millboard's Design Hub - a free design resource for architects and landscapers.

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About this Blog

This blog covers the most energising and restorative landscaping, biophillic architecture and perma-culture projects taking place across the world! I'm interested in how we incorporate nature into our environments, particularly urban environments. As we progress into the twenty-first century, we appear to be moving ever-further from the futuristic aesthetic that our predecessors imagined back in the mid-century. This blog looks at the methods and psychology of natural influence.

Authored by:

  • Jemma

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