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Supporting human well-being through our connection to nature

Using BIOPHILIC DESIGN to make beautiful spaces that feel good and are good for us

A Note From the Author

Nearly all of the photographs come from my personal collection.  For the last 12 years I have been collecting photographs from just shy of 25 countries and throughout much of the United States. Before I knew terms like, "biophilia" or "wholeness", I found myself photographing spaces that had the very qualities I would later come to research.  The examples on this site are in no way exhaustive, but what you will find here is a satisfying sampling that will help you understand the Goals of biophilic design and the design Patterns used to attain them.

The goal of this website is to provide a useable framework (plus lots of examples), to help designers understand biophilic design and how to apply it.  The research and images most specifically apply to interior design, but the concepts work in other areas of design as well.  This site was the culmination of my Master's of Fine Arts degree. 
6 Goals and 14 Patterns:  As you read ahead, you will be able to learn more about biophilic design, how it can benefit us, where it fits in to the Well-Being and Sustainability movements, and most importantly, how to apply it to your specific project.  I have consolidated and distilled work found in the biophilic design field and created the primary 6 Goals of biophilic design.  These Goals can be achieved using the 14 Patterns. The 14 Patterns have been developed by Terrapin Bright Green (you can find the 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design here), and have been elaborated on this website.  This website combines two general approaches to biophilic design, one that focuses on key over-arching concepts (Goals), and one that focuses on specific design implementation using Patterns, which can be seen as strategies for achieving the Goals. 
Evidence-Based Design: Each Goal and Pattern has a dedicated page with an explanation of key benefits and how it works.  The content on this site is research based.  The research comes from a wide variety of peer-reviewed articles as well as books and papers on many topics that all relate to biophilic design.  If you are interested in where a statistic or piece of information comes from, you will see a brief reference on that page.  If you want to dig deeper, check out the references page for a full listing.

A special thanks to those who have been growing the field of biophilic design.  Without them this work would not be possible.  This framework and website has evolved out of theories developed by experts such as, but not limited to, EO Wilson, Stephen & Rachel Kaplan, Stephen Kellert, Judith Heerwagen, Terrapin Bright Green, Nikos Salingaros, and Christopher Alexander.  My goal is to act as a conduit in sharing this work with the applied fields of design.

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what is Biophilic Design?

Biophilia is: "Our Passionate Love of Life and all that is Alive"

                                                                                                                                                                 - Erich Fromm

“Biophilia”, means “love of life”.  It understands that like all other life on this planet, humans are part of a larger ecosystem.  This theory explains that humans have evolved in response to our natural surroundings, and like any other animal, we thrive in the surroundings that most nurture us.  


By addressing aspects of the environment that most nurture us, we can create environments that respond to our wholeness, who we are as humans, and in turn increase performance, healing, satisfaction, productivity, and lower stress by consciously designing our built environment with this connection in mind.


We are part of a vast ecosystem

We respond to our natural surroundings and thrive in those that most nurture us

We live in increasingly urban environments but have not lost our inherent connection to natural systems and processes 

Biophilic Design Benefits

We can create spaces that address our wholeness, who we are as humans, and in turn increase performance, healing, satisfaction, productivity and lower stress.


Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen



The qualities of a space we seek have been found through much of our architectural history. We saw it and felt it in the nature surrounding us, and we inherently knew how to build this way.  We've all been in those spaces -  we connect to them in a special way and we struggle to define the qualities that make us love them.  


We should be able to work, learn, and heal in places that we are drawn to, that support the human system, and that have these special qualities.

Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen


Biophilia is informed by diverse fields such as evolutionary biology, psychology, sociology, environment and behavior, architecture, and history.  


There is a vast array of multi-disciplinary research looking at what supports humans best.  Biophilia tries to connect with where we came from - who we are as a species - and determine the habitats that best support us.

Photo Credit: Nicole Craanen

“Biophilic design is the deliberate attempt to translate an understanding of the inherent human affinity to affiliate with natural systems and processes-known as biophilia.”    

- Stephen Kellert


and that means BENEFITS like

Improve Attentiveness

6-15% Increase



Increase in

Test Scores


Increase in


Increase in

HS Graduation



Increase in Recruitment & Retention


Reduce Boredom



Improve Attentiveness







Feelings of


Increase in




Feelings of





of Nature





Blood Pressure

22% Less Medication




Hospital Stay


Feelings of






Heart Rate



the sustainable building & wellness movements, two movements that have been changing how people interact with the built environment


Biophilic Design Supports
Using Biophilic Design

what do you need to know about





The GOALS tackle the big ideas. They support the "why" behind the solution.


The PATTERNS offer solutions for achieving the Goals.


In order to understand the best Patterns to apply, you first need to understand what you are trying to achieve. They work together to guide the designer in biophilic design application.  On the following pages you will be able to understand what they are and why their use is important.


Biophilia gives YOU, the designer, the opportunity to make spaces come to life!




There is a slow, but sure, movement for biophilic design inclusion in new building standards. However, current models focus most heavily on the "planet" and "profit" sectors of the 3 P's of the Sustainability Model ("planet", "profit", "people").  In this approach, there is a commitment to the whole system.  


Biophilic design works most specifically to address the "people" portion of sustainability.  An argument can be made, however, that by promoting a connection to nature, this framework can indeed affect our attention to environmental concerns as well as increasing economic performance through an increase in productivity, creativity and reduction of stress. 


Well-Being encompasses both mental and physical health, which includes self-perceived health, longevity, healthy behaviors, mental and physical illness, social connectedness, productivity, and factors in the physical and social environment.  


Biophilic design can improve conditions of the environment that cause stress, widely known to affect the body through both physiological and psychological means.  Used in conjunction with other wellness initiatives such as health & wellness programs, ergonomics, indoor air quality and use of non-toxic materials, the qualities of an interior environment and its design can greatly affect all systems of the human body.

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