New research documents positive impact of biophilic design on human performance in both simulated and real environments
Defending his dissertation, Harvard PhD candidate Yin Jie uses VR, eye-tracking, and biometric sensors to measure the impact of biophilic design on human performance.
Yie Jie conducted three experiments (one with 28 participants, one with 30, and another with one hundred) in an attempt to quantify the impact of physiological and cognitive responses to different indoor biophilic designs. His results showed:
- Both real and virtual reality biophilic experiences showed similar responses including reduced blood pressure, skin conductivity, and better short term memory.
- Compared to the base case environment with no biophilia, indoor biophilic environments in both open and enclosed office spaces resulted in lower levels of physical stress and higher creativity scores.
- Participants in virtual biophilic environments recovered from stress more quickly than those in virtual non-biophilic ones.
“Increasingly, green building project teams have attempted to incorporate biophilic design into their projects, but often their efforts amount to adding trees and plants or water features to their buildings. I believe this is because nothing in their training or backgrounds has prepared them for this exercise, and their experience with green building rating systems has trained them to fulfill the minimum requirements of a checklist without thinking past that step. True biophilic design goes much further and deeper.”
This excerpt from Amanda Sturgeon’s new book, Creating Biophilic Buildings, looks at how Google employed biophilic principles in every aspect of their Chicago headquarters design. Google turned a windowless cold storage warehouse into a light-filled space. Key biophilic elements:
- Daylighting promotes circadian rhythms and reduce stress. Task lights with color temperature settings
- Places of refuge – private spaces where employee can feel protected but not unconnected
- Direct visual connections to the outdoors
- Video walls that undulate patterns of nature
She stresses the need for making biophilia part of the design strategy, rather than placing a few green things around as an afterthought.
Using nature to battle noise pollution in the office: Plantronics takes a creative approach to open office distractions
In the Netherlands, global headset manufacturer Plantronics is finding novel new ways to counter noise pollution in its new flagship smart workspace.
More and more businesses move to open plan environments in an attempt to engender higher collaboration between employees and better utilisation of the floor space by bringing in flexible or smart working practices.” But these actions, According to Paul Clark, Managing Director for Plantronics in Europe and Africa, are putting people in a “melting pot of noise.”
- Leesman’s research says dissatisfaction with “noise levels” is the strongest likely indicator that a person’s workplace is affecting their productivity
- Plantronics research shows that 93% of office workers claim to be adversely affected by the noise in their workplace
- 73% report that their employer takes no action to address the problem
- 61% of respondents say that they take matters into their own hands by listening to music and other audio through headphones
Plantronics opted for biophilic solutions, adding the sound of running water as an “overlay to the general hubbub” of the office.