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Biophilic Spaces

There have been several benefits associated with outdoor work places. More importantly, employers are making a conscious effort to encourage a renewal of outdoor spaces in their offices to enable this.

Over the last year, the PHI design team has done extensive research on various design concepts around workpods for indoor and outdoor spaces.

An open space of 10,000 sq.ft. in an IT Park in Hyderabad was reimagined for the asset owner to drive tenant engagement and deliver a unique amenity space for the occupiers. The space includes war rooms for team brainstorming, open collaborative spaces for blue-sky thinking, tech enabled rooms for the monday-morning kick-offs and solitary work pods.

Built on the principles of sustainability- the materials are sourced with the highest sustainability standards. Automation for enhanced maintenance and controls are built into the structures- energy efficient lighting, security features and tech integration like smart boards for war rooms.

Integration of solar technology is the foundation for more complex and efficient technologies like occupancy sensors that modulate the energy consumption based on the usage.

However, the most powerful feature in this project remains the integration of biophilia around the places of work.

Based on the recommendation of Metropolis, a New York based think tank on Design, a set of five conditions must be achieved for the effective practice of biophilic design. Each underscores what is and IS NOT biophilic design:

  1. Biophilic design emphasizes human adaptations to the natural world that over evolutionary time have proven instrumental in advancing people’s health, fitness, and wellbeing. Exposures to nature irrelevant to human productivity and survival exert little impact on human wellbeing and are not effective instances of biophilic design.

  2. Biophilic design depends on repeated and sustained engagement with nature. An occasional, transient, or isolated experience of nature exerts only superficial and fleeting effects on people, and can even, at times, be at variance with fostering beneficial outcomes.

  3. Biophilic design requires reinforcing and integrating design interventions that connect with the overall setting or space. The optimal functioning of all organisms depends on immersion within habitats where the various elements comprise a complementary, reinforcing, and interconnected whole. Exposures to nature within a disconnected space – such as an isolated plant or an out of context picture or a natural material at variance with other dominant spatial features – is NOT effective biophilic design.

  4. Biophilic design fosters emotional attachments to settings and places. By satisfying our inherent inclination to affiliate with nature, biophilic design engenders an emotional attachment to particular spaces and places. These emotional attachments motivate people’s performance and productivity, and prompt us to identify with and sustain the places we inhabit.

  5. Biophilic design fosters positive and sustained interactions and relationships among people and the natural environment. Humans are a deeply social species whose security and productivity depends on positive interactions within a spatial context. Effective biophilic design fosters connections between people and their environment, enhancing feelings of relationship, and a sense of membership in a meaningful community.

Over 70% of the occupants surveyed believed that an outdoor space that enables team meetings and solitary working styles would be more productive and a true driver of wellness in the workplace.

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