British Columbia

B.C. biophilic architecture lets the outside in

Biophilic design has been shown to improve productivity in the workplace

Biophilic design has been shown to improve productivity in the workplace

Dockside Green neighbourhood is an example of embracing biophilic design within modern building structures. (Dockside Green)

Now that it's spring, it's a lot easier to get outside and enjoy the benefits of nature. But year-round, many people live and work in buildings that resemble concrete blocks rather than parks or forests and that can have a negative effect on our health.

That's why biophilic design, which aims to add a little more green into traditional human-made indoor spaces, is growing in popularity.

"Biophilic design tries to reach for that emotional attachment and psychic sense that we need to feel a sense of wonder," says Meg Holden, a professor of Urban Studies at SFU.

"We can't get that from simply staying inside the bounds of our human created societies."

The main purpose of biophilic design is to introduce nature back into architecture within indoor spaces. It can be as simple as incorporating a skylight for natural light to penetrate a room, or as complex as a living wall - one that has plant life growing on it.

There are places across B.C. that have been successful implementing designs with biophilic features. Here are tree places in the province that have embraced the design concept.

Creekside Community Centre, Olympic Village, Vancouver

"This should set the standard for green, healthy building design," says Holden. She acknowledges the way natural light is used in much of the architecture throughout the building.

Creekside Community Centre in Vancouver's Olympic Village is recognized for it's creative use of allowing natural light into the building (City of Vancouver)

Habitat Island, Vancouver

A human-made island where the designers were careful to plant native greens. It's enjoyed by both people and wildlife.

Habitat Island in Vancouver is a man made stretch of land that has created additional green space for both people and animals. (City of Vancouver)

Dockside Green Neighbourhood, Victoria

This neighbourhood is six hectares long in Victoria's inner harbour. It has a green roof with public courtyard space, living walls, and a filtration system where water from the building gets recycled into a waterway that gets purified and eventually reused.

Artists representation of Docskide Green in Victoria shows how the outdoors has been incorporated into the design. (Dockside Green)