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New Book Highlights Biophilic Buildings

Amanda Sturgeon

The Biophilia hypothesis, according to Encyclopedia Brittanica, is the “idea that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.” Biophilia has influenced architecture and design significantly in recent years and is highlighted in a new book by Amanda Sturgeon entitled, “Creating Biophilic Buildings.” Be sure to check it out. Amanda is CEO of the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), a leading organization that focuses on the transformation to a world that is socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative. She is the founder and driving force behind the organization’s Biophilic Design Initiative and is a sought-after expert on biophilic design around the world.

“Unlike many other books about design, this book conveys the thinking behind the biophilic design process, how design teams made decisions and what factors contributed most,” says Judith Heerwagen, Affiliate Faculty, Department of Architecture, University of Washington, in the Foreward to the book. “This is highly valuable for all readers. It is not just a pretty picture book—although the photos and illustrations are indeed beautiful. It is a book that will inspire you to think about how the human-nature bond in the built environment can be nourished and sustained.”

In her introduction, Amanda explains that biophilic design has been around for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. “The cedar houses built by Northwest Coast Indians in the Pacific Northwest are replete with compelling stylized images of orcas, ravens, eagles, beavers, and other creatures,” she says.

At the core of Creating Biophilic Buildings are 14 case studies—examples of biophilic design that offer lessons for architects and designers. The case studies are drawn from Living Building Challenge projects. Most of the projects have achieved some to all of the requirements set forth in the Living Building Challenge standard: they are net zero or net positive for energy and/or water use; they are constructed with materials free of Red List items; they demonstrate the principles of equity; they are respectful of place; and they are beautiful.

The case studies include no hotel projects but there are many lessons to be learned by hotel designers and architects.

Creating Biophilic Buildings offers the best of the best of biophilic design. Be sure to check it out.