Nature and Noise – Getting Biophilia and Acoustics Working Together for Health, Wellbeing and Productivity
18 October 2021
Dawit Abraham, Associate Acoustician at BWB explains more about how nature is influencing acoustic design in our future internal spaces.
What is biophilia?
Biophilia is a concept that focuses on human attraction to nature. The term was first introduced by social psychologist Eric Fromm and commercialised by Edward O Wilson, a biologist, in the 1980s. Both Fromm and Wilson recognised people’s strong reaction to nature, and similarly how humans are detrimentally affected by staying in city/urban accommodation for long periods of time.
They suggest that incorporating biophilic design into fit-out development projects at the outset can have positive environmental effect and create a positive reaction from occupiers and visitors, helping to improve productivity and relaxation.
Given the intense interest in the architectural community on health and wellness inside buildings today, it is no surprise that biophilia has become an emerging trend in the built environment industry and could be a huge selling point for end users wanting the greener outdoor environment.
Research carried out by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2001, indicate that the average person spends 'around 86% of our time indoors, and another 5% in vehicles; dedicating only 7% of our time to the outdoors'. So, it is no wonder why people are inclined to paying 58 percent more for a property with a view of water.
New research supports the positive impacts of biophilic design on health, and is said to support cognitive function, physical health, and psychological wellbeing. Obvious examples of biophilic design in architecture include incorporating natural lighting, good ventilation and biomorphic patterns with arrangements seen in nature and the use of live vegetation.
Where does acoustics fit into this?
Acoustic design can play a big part in the overall biophilic design of a space. We can create acoustic strategies that fulfil the needs of multiple biophilic design patterns, ensuring every aspect of a space works in harmony with its surroundings using pleasant soundscapes such as birdsongs or running water.
For example, incorporating the sound of running water in a lobby area can often have a calming effect for occupiers. Using natural materials in a building’s structure can also have an impact on the acoustics. By incorporating plants into the structure of a building design, an acoustic consultant can profit from the sound absorbing characteristics of these living organisms.
BWB can help
Getting the balance right in acoustics is integral to the success of a biophilic development. Our experienced acousticians look at focusing on the unique needs of the building, its owner, and the end user who will reap the real benefits of biophilia.
Contact Dawit Abraham or Mike Barrett to understand more on how we can help on acoustic matters in biophilic design on your development scheme.