Use These 14 Important Patterns in Your Biophilic Homes

By: Utopia Staff

A pair of biophilic design experts outline the must-have features in biophilic homes. 

use these 14 important patterns in your biophilic homes
Biomorphic forms and patterns are a core principle of biophilic building design, according to author and expert Bill Browning. Pictured: The entry at Desert Rain, a custom home designed by Al Tozer that incorporates biophilic features throughout. Photo: Kayla McKenzie Photography

Bill Browning, founding partner of consulting firm Terrapin Bright Green and co-author with Catherine Ryan of the recently released book “Nature Inside,” says there are 14 things to include when designing a biophilic building. They include:

  1. Visual connection with nature, such as a view of the outdoors.
  2. Non-visual connection with nature, such as sounds, smells, and other sensations that suggest nature.
  3. Non-rhythmic sensory stimuli, which can be connections to nature that are unpredictable.
  4. Thermal and airflow variability, which can be good indoor air quality as well as airflow from operable windows.
  5. Presence of water, including the sight or sound of water in or around a home.
  6. Dynamic and diffused light, which resembles the light found in nature.
  7. Connection with natural systems, which remind residents of the world outside.
  8. Biomorphic forms and patterns, which are shapes and patterns in a structure or its finishes that resemble natural patterns, textures, contours, or numerical arrangements. 
  9. Material connection with nature, which could include locally sourced flooring, stone, and other building materials.
  10. Complexity and order, which can be expressed through varying the scales of architectural and structural features and exposing the framework of a building.
  11. Prospect, which refers to a long view that allows people to survey the surrounding landscape.
  12. Refuge, which is a protected spot away from a structure’s hustle and bustle, such as a cozy inglenook by a fireplace.
  13. Mystery, which is “the promise of more information,” such as the varying ceiling heights and connecting views frequently seen in “Not So Big House” style of architect and author Sarah Susanka.
  14. Risk/peril, which is a design feature that allows people to feel the thrill of danger while remaining safe, such as enjoying a balcony.