Six Principles of Biophilic Design - Biophilic Design Elements (2024)

What makes the spaces we envision indelible, serene, restorative—places where people and communities thrive?

Biophilia—our intrinsic human connection with the natural world—continues to guide our design thinking and process at Shepley Bulfinch. We are intrinsically linked to nature and the living world, so wouldn’t it make sense that our spaces reflect these connections in order to foster health and wellbeing?

Biophilic design elements are shown to reduce stress, increase cognitive performance, improve healing, and positively affect emotion, mood, and preference (Browning et al., 2014). Biophilic design integration in our spaces supports the whole person. Recognizing the importance of applying these principles and our commitment to advancing the field of biophilic design, we have recently begun leading an educational, accredited session nationally to our industry partners, clients, and consultants entitled The Great Indoors: The integration of Biophilic Design to Support Human Health and Wellness in the Built Environment. The session offers the foundation of biophilia and related research, explains its primary elements and attributes, outlines the associated requirements for green building certification programs, highlights a recommended integration process, and provides comprehensive case studies, often customized to the attendee’s area of interests, geography, project, or practice.

Here are six principles of biophilic design applications we highlight at these sessions:

Six Principles of Biophilic Design - Biophilic Design Elements (2024)


What are the biophile elements? ›

Biophile elements include carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, chlorine, iodine, bromine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, vanadium, iron, manganese, and copper.

What are the defining design principles of biophilic design? ›

Biophilic design principles are generally organised into three categories: nature in the space, nature of the space, and natural analogues. Nature in the space refers to the direct presence of nature and often includes multi-sensory interactions.

What are the elements of biophilic design? ›

This includes plant life, water and animals, as well as breezes, sounds, scents and other natural elements. Common examples include potted plants, flowerbeds, bird feeders, butterfly gardens, water features, fountains, aquariums, courtyard gardens and green walls or vegetated roofs.

What are the 5 elements of nature life? ›

Everything in nature is made up of five basic elements: earth, water, fire, air, and space. Knowledge of the five elements allows the yogi to understand the laws of nature and to use yoga to attain greater health, power, knowledge, wisdom and happiness. This arises out of deep intuition of how the universe operates.

What are the biophilic elements used for? ›

A: Biophilic elements such as plants, natural materials, and views of nature can enhance indoor spaces by improving air quality, reducing stress, increasing productivity, and promoting overall wellbeing. They help create a connection to nature even in indoor environments.

What are the three pillars of biophilic design? ›

It is just now that design professionals and researchers are pulling these together en masse and presenting them under the umbrella of biophilic design. There are three pillars of Biophilic Design: Nature in the Space, Nature of the Space and Natural Analogues.

What are the dimensions of biophilic design? ›

Kellert identified two dimensions of biophilic design, which he calls the organic, or naturalistic, dimension, which relates to shapes and forms in the built environment that in some way reflect the human connection to nature, and the place-based, or vernacular, dimension which describes features that connect a ...

What is biophilic pattern? ›

The 'biophilic design' trend is aimed at improving (interior) design to create surroundings that let people thrive. Office workers report improved creativity, productivity and wellbeing in spaces that feature natural elements or a connection to nature.

What are the 6 principles of design explain each? ›

Start with the six principles of design: balance, pattern, rhythm, emphasis, contrast, and unity. Just as instructional design models and methodologies shape your training strategy, so should these principles shape your basic visual strategy. By applying them, you can create high-impact visuals.

What are the 7 principles of design definition? ›

The fundamental principles of design are: Emphasis, Balance and Alignment, Contrast, Repetition, Proportion, Movement and White Space. Design differs from art in that it has to have a purpose. Visually, this functionality is interpreted by making sure an image has a center of attention, a point of focus.

What are the principles of biophilic urbanism? ›

By prioritising human-scale design, walkability, and access to nature, biophilic urbanism aims to create healthier, more resilient cities that nurture both people and the planet.

What are the 4 elements of nature design? ›

The Four Elements of Design: Interiors Inspired By Earth, Water, Air and Fire.

What are the elements of Biocentrism? ›

The four main pillars of a biocentric outlook are:
  • Humans and all other species are members of Earth's community.
  • All species are part of a system of interdependence.
  • All living organisms pursue their own "good" in their own ways.
  • Human beings are not inherently superior to other living things.

What are the 4 main elements of nature? ›

The Elements of Nature are fourfold, Wind/Air, Water, Earth & Fire. Without these, the world could not function in the perfect and orderly fashion that it does. The wind raises the clouds to form the rain, that nurtures the earth to grow vegetation, fruits and flowers, and the wood that kindles the fire.

What are the 4 elements of nature based on the ancient Greeks? ›

The Four Elements. Greek philosophy supposed the Universe to comprise four elements: Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. Air was originally supposed to be a component of the Æther [ether, not to be confused with the gas], the element that filled the Universe in the absence of the other three.

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