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Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470163344
ISBN-10: 0470163348
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Editorial Reviews


"Stephen Kellert, a social ecologist, has spent much of his career thinking and writing about biophilia, the innate human affinity for nature. Biophilic Design is an exploration of how we cut ourselves off from nature in the way we design the buildings and neighborhoods where we live and work. And it's an argument for re-connecting these spaces to the natural world, with plenty of windows, daylight, fresh air, plants and green spaces, natural materials, and decorative motifs from the natural world." (Yale Environment 360, December 2009)

"…Kellert asserts that people "learn better, work more comfortably, and recuperate more successfully in buildings that echo the environment in which the human species evolved." He says there are a number of ways to improve worker productivity and retention and reduce absenteeism. The most basic step is to improve the availability of natural light. Kellert is analyzing the effect of biophilic design on office work productivity, absenteeism, number of sick days. Kellert believes there is a definite connection between biophilic spaces and improved productivity, and some studies point to a positive relationship." (dirt.asla.org, September 2009)

"By applying biophilia to design, the editors and contributors hope to go beyond the standard green architecture goal of simply lowering the environmental impact of buildings. They hope to enhance the human relationship with nature through buildings believing, that one's affinity for light or water should be incorporated into the placement of windows. The book is divided into three parts. The first provides a theory of biophilic design and offers general guidelines. The second offers a more focused look at health issues and the role of nature. The third examines applied instances of biophilic design. Summing Up: Recommended" (Choice, September 2009)

"These authors urge architects to do what they can to incorporate nature in the design of buildings." (GreenSource, April 2009)

"Biophilic Design collects descriptions of current destructive practices, analyzes their roots in human nature, and offers low-cost, low-impact strategies for change." (Architecture Boston; Nov/Dec 2008)

"Stephen Kellert's Biophilic Design…brings together biologists, ecologists, psychologists, architects, designers and city planners to probe the confluence of people, nature and design." (Miller-McCune.com, 7/14/08)

"Make no mistake: Biophilic Design, all 400 pages of it, is one of the best design books of this decade." (New Urban News, April-May 2008)

From the Back Cover

"When nature inspires our architecture—not just how it looks but how buildings and communities actually function—we will have made great strides as a society. Biophilic Design provides us with tremendous insight into the 'why,' then builds us a road map for what is sure to be the next great design journey of our times."
—Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chairman, U.S. Green Building Council

"Having seen firsthand in my company the power of biomimicry to stimulate a wellspring of profitable innovation, I can say unequivocably that biophilic design is the real deal. Kellert, Heerwagen, and Mador have compiled the wisdom of world-renowned experts to produce this exquisite book; it is must reading for scientists, philosophers, engineers, architects and designers, and—most especially—businesspeople. Anyone looking for the key to a new type of prosperity that respects the earth should start here."
—Ray C. Anderson, founder and Chair, Interface, Inc.

The groundbreaking guide to the emerging practice of biophilic design

This book offers a paradigm shift in how we design and build our buildings and our communities, one that recognizes that the positive experience of natural systems and processes in our buildings and constructed landscapes is critical to human health, performance, and well-being. Biophilic design is about humanity's place in nature and the natural world's place in human society, where mutuality, respect, and enriching relationships can and should exist at all levels and should emerge as the norm rather than the exception.

Written for architects, landscape architects, planners,developers, environmental designers, as well as building owners, Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life is a guide to the theory, science, and practice of biophilic design. Twenty-three original and timely essays by world-renowned scientists, designers, and practitioners, including Edward O. Wilson, Howard Frumkin, David Orr, Grant Hildebrand, Stephen Kieran, Tim Beatley, Jonathan Rose, Janine Benyus, Roger Ulrich, Bert Gregory, Robert Berkebile, William Browning, and Vivian Loftness, among others, address:

  • The basic concepts of biophilia, its expression in the built environment, and how biophilic design connects to human biology, evolution, and development.

  • The science and benefits of biophilic design on human health, childhood development, healthcare, and more.

  • The practice of biophilic design—how to implement biophilic design strategies to create buildings that connect people with nature and provide comfortable and productive places for people, in which they can live, work, and study.

Biophilic design at any scale—from buildings to cities—begins with a few simple questions: How does the built environment affect the natural environment? How will nature affect human experience and aspiration? Most of all, how can we achieve sustained and reciprocal benefits between the two?

This prescient, groundbreaking book provides the answers.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (February 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470163348
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470163344
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #674,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nikos A. Salingaros MA PhD is one of the pioneers who are defining the new architecture. This is an innovative and interactive way of conceiving, constructing, and repairing the city. The author of six monographs on architectural and urban design translated into six languages, he is on the forefront of deriving evidence-based rules for the built environment using scientific methods and logic. These rules replace outdated working assumptions that have created dysfunctional urban regions following World-War II. His work links human-scale urbanism to developing architectural movements such as P2P Urbanism, the Network City, Biophilic Design, Self-built Housing, Generative Codes, and Sustainable Architecture. A collaborative scientific approach supersedes the century-long practice where an "expert" urbanist determines the form of the build environment based upon improvable and "secret" rules, which are often nothing more than images and ideologies.

Dr. Salingaros collaborated with the visionary architect and software pioneer Christopher Alexander, helping to edit the four-volume "The Nature of Order" during its twenty-five-year gestation. In recognition of his efforts to understand architecture using scientific thinking, Salingaros was awarded the first grant ever for research on architecture by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in 1997. He is a member of the INTBAU College of Traditional Practitioners and is on the INTBAU Committee of Honor. He was one of the "50 Visionaries who are Changing Your World" selected by the UTNE Reader in 2008. In Planetizen's 2009 survey, he was ranked 11th among "The Top Urban Thinkers of All Time". Salingaros is the author of over 120 scientific papers. Both an artist and scientist, he is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and is also on the architecture faculty of Università di Roma Tre, Italy and the Tecnologico de Monterrey, Campus Queretaro, Mexico.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I finished reading Biophilic Design--having read every chapter--on a recent trip. I think it is one of the most important design books ever written, not just in the decade. Readers should know that this book is not just for architects, builders, designers or city planners. Its rich array of chapters brings the message, with clear and compelling examples, to life for any of us who care about creating spaces and places where nature and culture are in a vibrant, beautiful, and healthy balance. Everyone benefits--from individuals to families to whole communities.
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Format: Hardcover
Stephen Kellert et al describe in detail the concept of biophilia in their book Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life. Biophilia, which until recently has not been a very well known topic of discussion, is the relationship between the natural human condition and the natural world, more specifically how people need an outlet to their natural environment. The description goes further on to discuss how a building's focus should emphasize the health of its inhabitants as well as its environmental and social impact.

As indicated by the title of the book, the organization of information is divided into three distinct parts as to leave no subject matter over looked; theory, science and practice. This comprehensive display of information does not leave room for argument due to the book's wide collection of topic ideas and professional backgrounds of its contributors. Scientists, sociologists, psychologists, architects and environmentalists give Biophilic Design the diverse background needed in order to successfully convey the essence of the subject, which is the relationship of man and nature in the physical built environment, as well as the psychological relationship we instinctively inherit as humans.

As part one discusses the theory of biophilic design, the reader is introduced to Edward O. Wilson, considered by most to be the first individual to elaborate on the idea of biophila in his publication of Biophilia in 1984. His original ideas influenced architects to consider how nature can impact constructed spaces and the environment through their designs. Outlines of projects and case studies reinforce Wilson's ideas that natural connections exist between human built forms and nature's fluid and organic geometries.
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Format: Hardcover
The book is upfront about admitting that the scientific validity of this biophilic approach is scanty. It is hard to strictly test the efficacy in a plausible scenario involving controls.

But given this caveat, the explanation of biophilic design is thorough. Roughly speaking, it describes how to integrate more of nature into a building or group of buildings. The extensive set of colour plates (which is surely needed in any book on architecture) gives good accompaniment by illustrating the ideas. Depicted are two of Frank Lloyd Wright's buildings from around 50 years ago. But the rest are mostly recent vintage.

The ideas include having as much natural sunlight entering the building as possible. To reduce lighting costs. Plus vegetation is brought close to the building, or indeed placed in it, like on the roof. The shade helps reduce cooling costs in summer.
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this wonderful book - I highly recommend it. Stephen Kellert puts forth an outline for biophilic design components, which I find fantastic and tremendously useful. Having a scientific mind myself, this outline provides a perfect platform to which the contributing writers are able to venture in their essays (chapters).

Having a Feng Shui practice and being an ardent believer in bringing nature into building environments and design of new structures and communities, I am very excited about seeing where I fit in. This is the next evolution of the eco-friendly design movement and I am ready to start participating. This book gives weight and significance to our inherent need for connection to nature. It provides a multitude of scientific studies that give credence to this evolving and emerging discipline and will hopefully receive more mainstream readership.

My advice to you: buy a copy, absorb the knowledge and pass on the word!!
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