The Biophilia hypothesis outlines a fundamental tendency in human beings to be attracted to nature and emulate its processes and structures in everyday life. Some biophilia advocates even believe that humans have developed a lifestyle far removed from what may be considered natural, and biophilic design may foster happiness and well-being among us. Thus, when applied to architecture, it is indeed a welcome call for more sustainable and human centric design.
Modern lifestyles seem to have not only taken a toll on our mental well-being, but our cities as well. As a result of the density/space paradigm, most of them have transformed into vast concrete jungles, resulting in increasingly reduced avenues for human interaction with nature. However, Biophilia in buildings, when applied correctly, serves much more than mere aesthetic. Despite its immensely therapeutic impacts in workplaces, where biophilic design has yielded tangible positive impacts on employee productivity, well-being and mental health, the proliferation of Biophilia as a practice, especially in residences where we inevitably end up spending the most time in our lives, remains severely limited. As a result, most of us make do with a single residence throughout our life, that too one lacking natural provisions that constitute a better quality of life.
The challenge is to design a residential tower with 75 housing units on the site provided, incorporating biophilic design principles. The size of the unit is homogenised to a 2.5 BHK unit (2 Bedrooms + 2 Bathrooms + Hall + Kitchen + Study) so that the design’s clear impetus is on biophilia.
The design is intended to improve the quality of life of its residents, while providing them more opportunities to personally engage with nature in a bout to improve their mental health and relieve stress. More so, the design challenge urges designers to look beyond simply designing towers with vertical vegetation by engaging with all the principles of biophilic design holistically, including making and strengthening a connection with many aspects of nature through natural light, views of nature, plants, natural materials, textures and patterns. All of these holistically combine to create a biophilic design and that is what the challenge wishes to manifest.