Our New Office: Chapter 2

Our New Office: Chapter 2

In October 2019, Solid Green hosted a Biophilia workshop for our staff and the professional team working on our new office in Parkhurst, to get everyone’s input on the design and to explore how they want the building to relate to them and the environment.

Chapter 2: Working with Nature

According to ‘The Practice of Biophilic Design’ (Stephen R. Kellert, Elizabeth F. Calabrese):

Biophilic design is about creating good habitat for people as biological organisms in the built environment. Like all species, humans evolved in adaptive response to natural rather than artificial forces, and these adaptations became embedded in our species biology over evolutionary time. Biophilic design seeks to satisfy these inherent adaptations to nature in the modern built environment and, in doing so, enhance people’s physical and mental health and fitness.

This can be achieved through three kinds of experience of nature – the direct experience of nature (e,g natural light and air, plants, fountains); the indirect experience of nature (images, natural materials and geometries); and the experience of space and place (mobility, wayfinding, prospect and refuge).

“People naturally respond better to spaces that integrate biophilia features in their design,” explains Marloes Reinink.

These design qualities are experienced through sight, sound, touch, smell, taste, and movement. We believe that these multisensory encounters with nature, which we have also incorporated as much as possible into our existing office, not only contribute towards health and wellbeing, but also significantly improve productivity and cognitive performance.

And so, as part of our intention to pursue an ILFI CORE Certification, we held a Biophilia workshop with all people involved in the design process of the new office, and all our staff. We explained the intention of the workshop and we did a series of exercises to get the creative juices flowing. This included brainstorming the qualities that we would like our new home to embody, and the experience that we would like to enjoy in our new space.

The elements that we focussed on are fundamental to human health and wellbeing, as well as comfort and productivity. They also stimulate our senses and creativity and, very importantly, nourish our souls. They include:

  • Natural light and air;
  • Plants and animals;
  • Ecosystems;
  • Fire;
  • Images of nature;
  • Natural materials, geometries and colours;
  • Naturalistic shapes and forms; Information richness;
  • Biomimicry;
  • the ideas of Prospect and Refuge;
  • the consideration of Transitional Spaces;
  • clear Mobility and Wayfinding;
  • and Cultural and Ecological attachment to place.

In October we also received SDP approval, and we are planning to start work in the New Year. As part of our ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ ethos, we have also managed to source reclaimed parquet flooring that we will use in the new office to avoid using virgin material. We are also exploring a new timber technology for the structure of our office, called CLT or Cross Laminated Timber. This will have a significant lower embodied energy than a standard concrete slab and as such would be more sustainable. It will also contribute to our Biophilia Goals.

Watch this space for more updates on our new space!

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