We live in a world where we can either choose to live by technology to escape nature or escape technology to live by nature. ‘Modernization’ is leading to dramatic changes in how we regarded the natural world and the perception of our role in it. Our time enables us to have domination over nature and this behavior undermines the relationship of unity we should have with our surroundings, and with other living forms.
The interconnectedness between human beings and nature illustrates a theory that human evolution has been dependent on the natural environment for a sense of overall well-being and personal fulfillment since the beginning of mankind. As the world population continues to grow, connecting to nature become even more important as it was. Design that reconnects us with nature is essential for providing people opportunities to live and work in healthy places and spaces with less stress, which lead to productivity increasing and greater overall well-being. Modern artificial environments have weakened the connection between humans and their natural environment. This connectedness however could be strengthened by architectural design.
The concept of BIOPHILIA suggests that humans have an instinctive bond with nature and that people tend to show a positive response when they experience a connection with nature. Humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. The biophilia hypothesis and supporting research tells us that, as a species, we are still powerfully responsive to nature’s forms, processes, and patterns. It addresses the direct, physical and ephemeral presence of nature in a space or place, the (non-)Rhythmic Sensory Stimuli, the dynamics of light etc. The organic, non-living and indirect evocations of nature, the objects, materials, colors, shapes, sequences and patterns found in Nature.
Accordingly, biophilia could be a mindset to seek for solutions to stressors of our modern society. Being aware that we are able to generate quality of health and wellness through the environments we create; work environments can become both more relaxed and productive, homes more harmonious, and public spaces can become more inclusive. The ability to promote this relationship through built environment solutions and encouraging the connection between the occupants and natural elements in their physical work environment supposedly affect their performance positively and therefore their overall well-being.
Biophilia is our innate love of Nature and it can calm and soothe working or living conditions so they are less stressful.
BIOMIMETIC (biomimicry) architecture uses Nature as the inspiration. Nature has an abundance of examples which can inspire architecture. Bio- facades using smart bricks embedded with microbes that generate electricity, chemo luminescence—like the fireflies or angler fish– for lighting without electricity, algae living walls to harvest and derive bio- gas, use of walls with artificial leaves using photosynthesis to generate hydrogen are just some ideas. New architectural explorations can be enhanced towards terminologies from life sciences that could have similar use in buildings, analyzing ecosystem interactions for higher sustainability and optimized resource use in the built environment, exploring ideas from nature for inspiration, and identifying strategies of animal skins for per-formative constructions. Morphology and form are the most common traits to be transferred from natural systems into architecture.
INCREASINGLY DENSE URBAN ENVIRONMENTS, coupled with rising land values, elevate the importance of natural design across a spatial continuum from new and even existing architecture. Each context supports a platform for myriad opportunities for integrative natural design and mainstreaming healthy building practices for occupants, ecology, biodiversity and for society. Biophilic architecture is based on the hypothesis, that, as mentioned, humans have an innate connection with nature that should be expressed in their daily lives, especially in cities. Bio design means that architecture could begin to contribute to the environment and become a part of the ecosystem instead of only decreasing its damage. Connection to nature on a daily basis reinforces the values of respect and care for the environment that are necessities for sustainable communities.
Times are changing as technology and society evolve. Key innovation issues for intelligent buildings must be introduced and integrated with biophilic and nature inspired design. Intelligence has three parts cognitive, emotional and practical. A building needs to reflect this. An intelligent building is responsive to people in terms of not only being functional but to the human senses besides serving a community in the location. It will be resource effective in terms of energy, water and waste with low pollution. Intelligent innovations include sustainability (energy, water, waste and pollution), the use of 3D and 4D printing technologies, the use of information and communication technology, robotics, embedded sensor technology, smart-materials technology including nanotechnology, ect. The coherent incorporation of cutting-edge intelligent technologies and nature inspired design needs to be extended in order for their true benefits. In particular, with the emergence of Augmented reality (AR) in the architectural context, from conceptual design and development to the operational phase, integration of AR can be an inherent attribute of future Intelligent Buildings (IB’s). IBs, as the embodiment of highly automated living environments, can become more operationally resourceful and user friendly once deploying AR.
Visualizing real-time building and city data in an indoor living environment can be seen as a basis for new methods of maximizing Intelligent Buildings potentials based on the virtual interactions of users, buildings and urban areas. On the other side, with the emergence of robotics in architectural design and construction, IB’ s can not only benefit from a more efficient development process (i.e. use of robotics in off-site construction, prefabrication phases and parametric design), but can also be equipped with robot-assisting living environments during the operational phase to enhance safety, security and comfort. Furthermore, from a neuroscience perspective, future IBs not only need to be aware of their impacts on comfort, well-being and satisfaction of occupants, but also should be cognizant of occupants’ mood, sensation and feeling via monitoring the brain responses of their users. Intelligent buildings should be sustainable, healthy, technologically aware, meet the needs of occupants and business, and should be flexible and adaptable to deal with change.
We need to consider how architecture affect people in various ways. It needs to be expressive as well as being functional. The environments it creates can help us effectively because it can present a wide range of stimuli for our senses to react to besides satisfying our primeval needs of warmth, safety and security, ecologic quality. Intelligent and nature inspired architecture is designed to be aesthetic in sensory terms including being visually appealing; they are buildings in which occupants experience delight, freshness, a feeling of space, they should invite daylight into their interiors, and should provide a social ambience which contributes to a general sense of pleasure and improvement in mood. Besides, as smart cities are becoming a main focus of governmental sectors, there is a fundamental need to fill the existing gap between biophilia, IBs and the smart urban future. As a result, Biophilia IBs should also be evaluated from an urban-scale perspective to ensure their contribution at city-level. In fact, proliferation plays a key role towards achieving a truly smart city. This is clearly alongside the urgency for smart infrastructures.
We have unintentionally changed our environments. An increase in cultural fitness, which we mostly created by means of technological development, may have a mismatch with biological fitness. This can lead to the accumulation of considerable sustainability debt, that we are witnessing. We are fully aware that our way of life has a direct effect on nature and her life-supporting systems. It cannot be stressed enough that we are at a critical point in time.
The coming decade will determine if we are able to sustain a future that is worth remembering; one that represents quality of life. This calls for an intentional transformation of our urban areas. We have created our past, our present, and so can we create our future. The science and technologies are clearly there, and our creative energy offers hope. Then what is holding us back to create something truly transformational?