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4 December 2018

HOK’s London Studio Hosts Discussion on Biophilic Design

An expert panel gathered in HOK’s London office on Nov. 13 to make the case for improving health and wellness by incorporating natural materials, daylight, vegetation and views outside into the workplace.

Panelists included Joyce Chan, sustainable design leader in HOK’s London studio; Trina Marshall, regional leader of consulting for HOK; Professor Derek Clements-Croome from Reading University; Alexander Bond from Biophilic Design; and Dr. Ed Suttie from BRE.

Excerpted from Workplace Insight:

The discussion focused on sustainability, the fundamental values behind biophilic design and the emotional connection that people and places have with nature. It was noted that developers are increasingly engaging with architects on these principles when formulating a brief.

Marshall (above left) introduced an holistic approach, addressing how biophilic design can be incorporated into the workplace: “The process of biophilic design starts with the client brief, as there is a responsibility for the developer to focus on the needs of the individual who will be occupying the space.”

“The incorporation of biophilic design into the built environment means that developers need to be brave, as stakeholders will see evidence that biophilia lowers stress for both the building occupier and society,” explained Marshall. “We need to find expressive ways through design to achieve it. We are seeing a far more conscious and deliberate movement of people wishing to experience their surroundings more intentionally in return for a more enriched existence.”

Chan (above second from left) considered the user experience, from the street to the office seat, and the transition of the worker between the different spaces they occupy. “There is no concrete formula for biophilic design, as seen with the diversity in client briefs. The brief will vary from client to client. To achieve the success there needs to be dynamic post-occupancy evaluation which considers all the variations at play.”

Chan noted that new data for measuring its value and benefits is needed to assist with demonstrating the return on investment, as well as to benchmark the successful application of biophilic principles, as data is fundamental to client decisions. “Without quality data, we cannot prove the business case for biophilic design. It requires a combination of quantitative and qualitative research to benchmark the combined effect of biophilic design on well-being.”

Read the entire event recap in Workplace Insight.