- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 13 Feb 2018
The Biophilic Office
The World Health Organisation expects stress-related illnesses such as mental health disorders and cardio-vascular disease to be the two largest contributors to disease by 2020. As 90% of people's lives is spent in buildings, this means the built environment can play a significant part in preventing ill health and promoting a positive approach to health and wellbeing.
Biophilia (meaning a love of nature) focuses on a human’s innate attraction to nature and natural processes. American biologist and researcher Edward O. Wilson introduced and popularised this hypothesis in his book, 'Biophilia' (1984) defining this as 'the urge to affiliate with other forms of life'.
Biophilic design uses these ideas as principles to create a human-centred approach that when applied improves many of the spaces that are lived and worked in today, with numerous benefits to health and wellbeing.
Incorporating direct or indirect elements of nature into the built environment have been demonstrated to reduce stress, blood pressure levels and heart rates, whilst increasing productivity, creativity and self-reported rates of wellbeing.
In May 2017, BRE announced that they are working closely with architect and interior designer Oliver Heath on a project to evaluate the value of biophilic design to the workplace environment. The project consists of a plan to take a tired and aging 1980s office building on the BRE campus and refurbish it according to biophilic design principles.
The project is named The Biophilic Office and will show how quantified improvements in productivity and wellness can bring rewards for landlords, occupiers, developers and all those concerned with the office environment.
Researchers will carry out a year of pre-refurbishment and a year of post-refurbishment monitoring, evaluating the office environment for daylight, lighting, indoor air quality, acoustic, thermal and humidity comfort. Office occupants will undergo a confidential health evaluation, sign up to a series of online questionnaires and surveys and receive wearable technology to monitor key health metrics.
A design strategy will be developed including tiers of interventions in zones within the office. The products used will undergo laboratory evaluation to establish whether a health and wellbeing potential can be quantified at products level.
For more on the project and to get involved see here.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- BRE Buzz articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Biophilia and building design.
- Biophilic design research.
- Biophilic gym.
- Building related illness.
- Green infrastructure.
- Health and productivity in sustainable buildings.
- Temple Farm Development.
- Wellbeing and creativity in workplace design - case studies.
- What we know about wellbeing.
- White Collar Factory.
Featured articles and news
BSRIA has collaborated with the Department of Health on research into air permeability in isolation rooms.
New step-by-step route maps for implementing effective surface water management measures are published.
GMP is an agreement with a contractor that the contract sum will not exceed a specified maximum. Read more here.
The BREEAM Sustainability Champion is changing to the Advisory Professional - here's what you need to know.
A fresh round of job-cuts takes the total number of redundancies to over 1,000.
Read our introductory article to the completion date in construction contracts.
Almost 90% of freight in London is moved by road. The River Thames could add much needed extra capacity.
National Infrastructure Commission warn that large infrastructure projects are at risk of falling behind.
The quality of Cambridge owes as much to its open spaces as to its architectural uniqueness.
If events occur that cause the completion of the works to be delayed then these may be compensation events.