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Focus of Two Recent Publications: Biophilic Design

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Two recent publications on the topic of biophilic design are must-reads for architects, designers and others interested in sustainable design. Biophilic design is the practice of creating spaces that benefit both nature and humans. The first report, Human Spaces 2.0: Biophilic Design in Hospitality, was released recently by Interface in conjunction with Terrapin Bright Green. This new paper explores the biophilic design strategies used by hotels around the world to enhance guest experiences. It includes an investigation of pricing differentials for rooms with a view to nature and a discussion of the biophilic qualities of different properties and different space types. Did you know that 36 percent more guests spend time in biophilic hotel lobbies than in conventional lobbies? More guests spending time in the lobby can translate into increased dollars spent in the hotel. Also, hotel rooms with a view to water are priced on average 11 percent to 18 percent higher than rooms without a view.

The second publication, Creating Biophilic Buildings, was authored by Amanda Sturgeon, CEO of the International Living Future Institute. Her organization operates the Living Building Challenge, the built environment’s most rigorous performance standard, and Declare, an ingredients label for building materials. In the foreword, Judith Heerwagen, Affiliate Faculty, Department of Architecture, University of Washington, describes the book as “a thoughtful and enlightening look at how teams make decisions about deep biophilic design.” The book includes case studies—examples of projects that deal with biophilic design differently. “Nature as an organizing theme is apparent in all of the case studies,” Heerwagen adds. The case studies include a school, energy lab, botanical garden visitor center and other public structures. “These 14 projects are not perfect, but they show how biophilic design can make people healthier and happier,” Sturgeon says. No lodging establishments are included in the book, but one can easily draw from best practices and lessons described in each case study. Be sure to check out both publications.

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