NEWS

B.C. biophilic architecture lets the outside in

05/30/2015 07:25 EDT | Updated 05/30/2016 05:59 EDT
Now that it's spring, it's a lot easier to get outside and enjoy the benefits of nature. But year-round, many people live and work in buildings that resemble concrete blocks rather than parks or forests and that can have a negative effect on our health.

That's why biophilic design, which aims to add a little more green into traditional human-made indoor spaces, is growing in popularity.

"Biophilic design tries to reach for that emotional attachment and psychic sense that we need to feel a sense of wonder," says Meg Holden, a professor of Urban Studies at SFU.

"We can't get that from simply staying inside the bounds of our human created societies."

The main purpose of biophilic design is to introduce nature back into architecture within indoor spaces. It can be as simple as incorporating a skylight for natural light to penetrate a room, or as complex as a living wall - one that has plant life growing on it.

There are places across B.C. that have been successful implementing designs with biophilic features. Here are tree places in the province that have embraced the design concept.

Creekside Community Centre, Olympic Village, Vancouver

"This should set the standard for green, healthy building design," says Holden. She acknowledges the way natural light is used in much of the architecture throughout the building.

Habitat Island, Vancouver

A human-made island where the designers were careful to plant native greens. It's enjoyed by both people and wildlife.

Dockside Green Neighbourhood, Victoria

This neighbourhood is six hectares long in Victoria's inner harbour. It has a green roof with public courtyard space, living walls, and a filtration system where water from the building gets recycled into a waterway that gets purified and eventually reused.

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