Biophilia, a definition introduced for the first time by the German psychologist, sociologist, and philosopher Erich Seligmann Fromm ((The Heart of Man: It's Genius For Good and Evil, 1964), is, among other things, man’s innate tendency and need to connect with nature on a mental, physical and social level. This connection positively affects and determines man’s growth and health. Since then, many other scientists have talked about the idea of biophilia, especially the biologist and naturalist Edward Osborne Wilson. In his book (Biophilia, 1984) he defines biophilia as man's affinity for life, which binds us to all other living species.
The word biophilia originates from Greek and means love for life and every living thing.
The art and science of architecture mainly focus on the relationship between man and the space he occupies. Also, the role of architecture is to create spaces that meet the needs of its users. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that architecture has dealt with the above concept. So, the term biophilic design in architecture means the effort to bring people closer to nature in every possible way. Or to bring the benefits of nature into their daily lives.
The benefits of this relationship are well known and there are many examples throughout history. Health care facilities in ancient Greece and, much later, the first hospitals in Europe were built, not by chance, in areas surrounded by green and nature. Today, this is something that doesn’t only concern those who suffer from any type of health issues, but all of us. Greatest attention, however, is given to those who live and work in urban environments, where contact with nature becomes more and more a distant image. In other words, the city makes the modern man sick.
Architecture plays a very important role here as well, as it tries to reconnect man with nature. How is that possible? Simply by designing large windows where light enters the space abundantly, by designing green exterior walls, by finding and using materials that are environmentally friendly and so many other ways. Whatever the way though, the idea is the same: green is a state of mind.
So, our connection with green is not (just) about the future, but something more than that. It’s about the present as well. The small green touches that we add to our space are a step, towards a healthier and happier today. Placing plants indoors, besides the liveliness and freshness they add, has now become an architectural necessity. A kind reminder of the important things in life. The scale and use of each building are not important and this architectural necessity applies to every space where man lives and breathes. In other words, whether we live in a very small apartment or work in a large building, our need for green remains the same.
And if you are still not convinced, then all you need to do is take a walk to the tower full of herbs and flowers, known as Tirana Vertical forest, in Tirana, Albania, that will be completed soon (designed by the Italian architect Stefano Boeri),
to the offices of a very famous bank (its premises designed by the local office Ministry of Design) in Singapore where you can find tropical plants
or even to our very own small personal garden, which reminds us that, yes, we might be in an urban environment, but we are still elephants.
What more do you need to put more green in your life and home/office? Believe me, nothing should hold you back.
Some of the benefits of indoor plants for our health:
*They reduce stress and anxiety.
*They improve indoor air quality.
*They increase creativity and help you be more focused.
*They are good for increasing humidity in the room, thus contributing even to the fight against a cold.
Written and photos: Eleftheria Katsianou