Despite being a core architectural design philosophy for decades, some are still unaware of what biophilic design truly means. Biophilic design is a concept that attempts to incorporate natural elements into the design of both indoor and outdoor spaces. Over the years, this design philosophy has become increasingly common in academic spaces. This can often be seen through design elements such as hardwood flooring throughout classrooms, allowing for more sunlight to shine through these classrooms, and the use of bright color palettes for wall paint and other decorations that make up the rest of these spaces.
But do these principles present any meaningful good to the students and teachers who occupy these classrooms? Though these design choices will likely have a different effect for each student, a majority of them will greatly benefit from the incorporation of biophilic design in the classroom. When considering the youngest of students, studies have indicated that the development of these students’ sensory and motor skills were heightened when surrounded by these natural stimuli. As these students get older, the amount of stress and anxiety that comes from schooling increases. However, the environments that incorporate these design choices have shown great success in reducing the anxiety and stress that comes with additional educational responsibility such as exams or group projects, in addition to boosting the test scores of these students three times as high as those not learning in biophilic environments.
Even more important than the performance of these students, is the outlook they have on their education as a result of the design choices that schools make. If a student doesn’t feel comfortable in the environment they’re learning in, the negative effects often go beyond the classroom and the quality of education that the student will receive. This is why it’s important for schools to incorporate these design elements into classrooms. Students are more likely to feel confident about their academic ability, perform to a higher standard, and have a more positive affinity toward their education overall.
The attached infographic courtesy of International Woodworking Fair, Biophilic Design In Education, goes more in depth regarding the benefits that these design elements have on students, as well as more options for schools to incorporate these elements into their classrooms. Though it isn’t as simple as filling up rooms with indoor plants, schools don’t have to break the bank to be able to nurture their students in these environments.