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  • Writer's pictureTim Rhodes, RA., AIA

Biophilic Design in Architecture

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

Tim Rhodes RA., AIA

Rhodes Architecture + Light

As we begin each project on a new site, we spend time collecting small samples of native plants, leaves, lichen, native rocks from the land. We incorporate these into a holder we call a “nature box”. These samples become a reference and resource for selecting colors and textures later as a project’s finish + material board comes together. We refer to the pallet and textures of nature first when designing the interiors and exteriors of buildings before defaulting to the latest trends.

Photo by Cheryl McIntosh

Nature boxes are a reference point that extends so much more to our buildings, however. The native plants, colors, textures of the land where a building will reside also help to bring the tones of the natural world into the buildings we create. On new sites, our buildings reside in the natural world; that context critically "roots" the project to the land it shares. The building resonates with the surrounding land, seeking to grow out of it instead of merely on it.

Using the resident colors and textures of the land helps develop a synergy between the building and the natural world surrounding it. As our buildings open to the natural world, plants, water, and communal green spaces such as a courtyard, we work with our clients to lend the benefits of green space to their lives.

Biophilic Design is the practice of connecting people and nature within our built environment and communities. Studies have shown that a connection to nature and green space improves mood, performance, focus, and feelings of well-being and this is especially pertinent as we use our homes more.

What better reference for the materials and tones of a building than the medium of the native site around it?

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