Engagement with Nature: a positive and sustained interaction

Did you know that we have been wired to affiliate with nature?

Humans have evolved in adaptive response to the natural world and hence need to remain in contact with natural features and processes for the sake of their own physical and mental health. However, currently humans are being alienated from nature. The city is exponentially growing and the environment is becoming more and more hostile with human interventions exhausting and degrading the natural world.

We find ourselves in constant need to escape the concrete jungle for a moment of relief. In response to the way the built environment is being designed, biophilic design emerges with a more durable solution. It aims to recreate the aspects of nature that have contributed to humans’ health and productivity throughout their evolution and to promote a healthy habitat for people as biological organisms.

Biophilic design is both qualitative and quantitative as it takes into consideration lighting, thermal comfort, sound masking, space design and incorporating natural systems (both visual and material connection to nature such as water elements, biomorphic forms and patterns). These aspects fall under one of the following attributes of biophilic design: direct experience of nature (light, air, water plants and weather), indirect experience of nature (natural materials, colors, shapes and forms, simulations of natural elements) in addition to the experience of space and place (prospect and refuge, organized complexity, mobility and wayfinding). The user experience narrative is instrumental in connecting people to the place and in promoting health, security and productivity.

It is important to note that biophilic strategies are conceived within the design process and not later on. And the successful practice of biophilic design is the one which is integrated within the overall setting rather than conceived as an isolated entity within the habitat.

The more we learn to integrate nature in our built environment, the more likely we are to create a habitat that fosters ecologically sound and productive environment.



Direct Experience of Nature



Indirect Experience of Nature: Naturalistic Shapes and Forms



Experience of Space and Place: Organized Complexity


About tOD

Active since 2010, the architecture lab theOtherDada defends an alternative position towards the current practice of sustainability through exploration of the context and medium, invoking new relationships between climate, landscape, and inhabitants. Informed by our research into biomimicry, we aim to connect to the natural ecosystems of sites to understand and consequently devise new potential living habitats. theOtherDada works within a collaborative process between architects, scientists, botanists, artists, economists and craftsmen.

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