Recognising The Benefits Of Biophilic Design

Business Insights

Biophilic design - the architectural approach that seeks to connect occupants more closely to nature through careful use of natural organisms, materials and processes - is nothing new. The ancient Hanging Gardens of Babylon are arguably an example of biophilic architecture. However, reflecting the precarious environmental situation we find ourselves in, an increasing number of architects, designers, and specifiers are incorporating biophilic design into their work.

Understanding biophilic design

Biophilic design involves the use of natural light, materials, patterns, textures and vegetation, as well as organic shapes that regularly occur in nature, such as arches, curves and fractal designs. At the same time, it appropriates heating and ventilation systems from nature, prioritises views of the natural landscape and provides easy access to outdoor spaces.

The benefits associated with biophilic design

Research suggests that biophilic design benefits individuals in the built environment extensively.

Our Specification manager Calvin Dalrymple is particularly passionate about biophilic design and states

“While we may not give credit to the impact that nature has on us, we all know that being amongst nature makes us feel better. After a busy day/week in the office, being in green space helps to re-calibrate our minds and bodies. The introduction of soft landscaping into terrace and podium design increases the access we have to nature and encourages biodiversity within our built environment. Additionally, it helps to reduce the urban heat island effect and combat climate change.”

Mental health

In general, biophilic environments reduce stress and anxiety and have a restorative effect on individuals with access to those spaces. For instance, in hospitals, providing access to a view of nature was shown to reduce patients’ perception of depression and pain, cutting the average hospital stay by a day (AIMS).


Biophilic design stresses the use of natural materials, which are often more sustainable than conventional alternatives. It encourages greater biodiversity and prioritises energy-efficient systems and passive design strategies to reduce a building’s energy consumption.


Early research also suggests that biophilic design impacts employee productivity in workplaces. One influential study reported a 15% improvement in worker productivity when plants were incorporated into the office space.

Examples of contemporary biophilic architecture

Groundbreaking architects were experimenting with biophilic design long before the approach was formally named. For instance, Frank Lloyd Wright’s spectacular Fallingwaterhouse integrates a stream and waterfall into the design, with the sound of flowing water filling the building and connecting the residents to nature. In Milan, the famous Bosco Verticale - the Vertical Forest - is another excellent example. This distinctive tower design is covered in more than 90 species of tree and plant life, making it a living, breathing shrine to biophilic design. Or, as the architect Stefano Boeri described it, “a house for trees inhabited by humans”.

On a grander scale, the city-state of Singapore has been lauded for its integration of biophilic design principles into the wider city environment by connecting green spaces, incorporating green roofs and hanging gardens into high-rise buildings, and carefully balancing population expansion, urban development and the natural environment.

Towards a biophilic future

Architects, designers and specifiers can incorporate biophilic design into projects at every level, starting small with RYNO’s bespoke planter systems for outdoor spaces and moving right up to city-wide initiatives. As our understanding of the environmental crisis develops and more information concerning the negative health implications associated with traditional urban environments comes to light, biophilic ideas will become more prominent. While the concept has already had a noticeable impact on modern architecture, its influence is set to grow in the coming years.