Did you know that as humans we crave a connection to our natural world? Having contact with nature in our everyday lives provides numerous health benefits and makes us happier people! Designing buildings to connect with nature can be accomplished in many ways.
Making nature visible within a building elevates the spirit. It gives us a visual connection with the outdoors and our natural environment. It can reduce stress, produce more positive emotional functioning and actually improve our concentration. Views can be accomplished with glazing placed at strategic locations throughout the building. Having large expanses of glass means the outdoors can flow seamlessly into the indoors. Windows with views to natural places help to achieve this important connection to nature.
Daylighting also introduces a part of nature into a building. Sunlight can improve our mood and bring a more natural and comfortable feel to the interior of a building. It also reduces our reliance on artificial lighting and thus less energy use.
Fresh air is an important aspect of introducing nature into architecture as well. It can stimulate our olfactory senses and provide pleasant breezes that just make us feel in tune with our natural environment. It can also contribute to the cooling of our spaces without the use of artificial cooling systems.
Presence of Water:
Did you know that hearing or viewing aspects of nature such as water can also improve our mood and overall health? Whether it means including a water feature within our building design or providing openings to listen to or view natural water features outside, water can have a positive impact on our everyday lives.
The materials that make up our building can also improve our connection to nature. Construction materials such as wood and stone can create a more natural-feeling living environment that establishes a more comfortable setting. Colors of interior spaces can also have an impact on our mood and overall mental health.
Having indoor plants within our architecture can produce positive effects as well. The plants purify, humidify and oxygenate the air within a space, thus improving indoor air quality greatly. They also visually help to connect an occupant to his/her natural environment when direct views of the outdoors are not possible.
In summary, a connection to nature within our built environment is crucial to our overall well-being. By utilizing just a few of these methods to connect us to our natural environment, we become healthier, happier and more productive people!