Designing with Biophilia in Mind

Green Wall Building Paris

One of my all-time favorite books on eco-conscious design is Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.

In this book, McDonough and Braungart tell about a factory they designed. A factory you and I might actually want to work in. They designed it with "biophilia" in mind— people's love of the outdoors. Here's the marvelous description of this place that increased worker's productivity. And we should not be surprised, according to recent research that suggests nature's healing, focusing power...

We wanted to give workers the feeling that they'd spent the day outdoors, unlike workers in the conventional factory of the Industrial Revolution, who might not see the daylight until the weekend. The offices and manufacturing space that we designed for Herman Miller were built for only 10 percent more money than it would have cost to erect a standard prefabricated metal factory building. We designed the factory around a tree-lined interior conceived as a brightly daylit "street" that ran the entire length of the building. There are rooftop skylights everywhere the workers are stationed, and the manufacturing space offers views of both the internal street and the outdoors, so that even as they work indoors, employees get to participate in the cycles of the days and seasons....The factory was designed to celebrate the local landscape and to invite indigenous species back to the site instead of scaring them away. Storm water and waste water are channeled through a series of connected wetlands that clean them, in the process of lightening the load on the local river... p.75

If you click over to the Herman Miller page, you can see some of the company's beautiful buildings. And maybe be inspired to include more green space and daylight in your own places of work, community, and even public schools. Now wouldn't that be a beautiful thing?

Green-Walled Building in Paris, photo by J Barkat.

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Anonymous Dagny said...

I agree that every workspace should incorporate daylight at the very least. I'm proud to currently be sitting in a Herman Miller chair!

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