Beth McGee, Anna Marshall-Baker & Lisa Tucker
When addressing participants at the 2012 annual meeting of the Interior Design Educators Council, Rosalyn Cama, FASID, EDAC, indicated that biophilia is a next looming challenge, opportunity, and conversation necessary for professionals involved with the built environment. Biophilia was first proposed by E.O. Wilson (1984) following his observations of the positive effects of natural environments on human behavior and development. The purpose of this panel is to share recent efforts of faculty in interior design education who have begun to include biophilia in their teaching and scholarship.
Stephen Kellert and colleagues (2008) have articulated elements and attributes of biophilia that operationalize effective conditions occurring in natural environments that may be employed effectively in interior environments. This work provides a foundation for investigations that reveal the effects of biophilic conditions. In one report by a member of this proposed panel, biophilic conditions in healthcare environments were collected and explained to participants at a conference regarding the social and physical environments of patients, family members, and medical staff in newborn intensive care units. In the work of a second panelist, healthcare facilities were assessed regarding the number of biophilic attributes and elements apparent in areas that supported particularly the health, wellness, and recovery of hospitalized children. In the classroom, a third panelist has used Kellert’s (2008) principles of biophilic design with her students in an upper level vertical studio focused on healthcare design and corporate design. Using a biophilic approach, students were asked to design a series of projects using an evidence-based design in order to make informed decisions.
Following this introduction of work regarding biophilia in interior design education and scholarship, the panelists intend to facilitate a conversation that extends the presented work and also addresses comments, concerns, or questions regarding integration of biophilia into teaching and research. Although sustainability can be overwhelmed by qualitative measures such as energy conservation and LEED credits, biophilia is directly relevant to those involved in the design of interior space. Because conditions of the natural environment clearly impact the quality of life of human beings, discerning how best to integrate features of naturally occurring environments into our built environment is critical to the design of interior space.
Kellert, S. (2008). Biophilic design: The theory, science and practice of bringing buildings to life. (S. Kellert, J. Heerwagen, & M. Mador, Eds.). Hoboken N.J.: Wiley.
Wilson, E. (1984). Biophilia: The human bond with other species. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.