Minding Design.

Linking behavioral science and the design of spaces, services, and objects.

How much nature in buildings is too much?

Biophilia was a term introduced 30 years ago by E.O. Wilson to describe humans' desire to be connected to nature.

Since then, designers have found many ways to introduce nature into buildings. In a project completed last year, the stroller company Joolz went all-out for the design of their Amsterdam headquarters by placing three greenhouses at the center of their office building.

The space looks beautiful in images and the architects, Space Encounters, had grand plans for the project: "The main intervention are three lavish gardens filled with trees, plants, birds and fish. Extruded from three of the existing roof lights, they echo the scale and logic of what was already there... [they] express the Joolz ideology by providing a pleasant backdrop for the daily routines, these large glazed gardens also improve the internal climate and provide employees with some more exotic choices to pick as their work location for the day."

However, as reported in Monocle, the reality was different from expectation.

"They originally contained birds, fish, butterflies and a vegetable patch but practical considerations around noise, contaminated soil and, ahem, droppings mean that only the aquatic life remains. They can also get hot in the summer when the sun pours through the skylights, something the company is working on fixing."

Adding nature into buildings is a great idea, as long as it requires minimal upkeep (no bird droppings!) and doesn't adversely affect the indoor climate.


Images: 1, 2, 3

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