Oxygen pods and biomimicry

Have you ever wondered why they hang plants off cafe walls or even skyscrapers? This is called biophilic design which is an architectural integration that emulates nature’s principles. It’s used for solving a particular problem in a sustainable manner, in the same way as air conditioning systems modeled on the self-cooling systems of termite mounds.

This featured photo “Oxygen pods” in Barrington Tops by James MacDiarmid is a reference to the application of biomimicry – an approach to innovation that celebrates sustainable solutions by emulating nature’s principles ie. adaptation, synergy and resilience.

Read more about this fascinating concept of biomimicry and biophilic design in the article below by James MacDiarmid from barefootnatureconnect.com


Biophilic design

In the words of American biologist, Edward O Wilson, “nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction”.

Places of nature offers us a range of stimuli that, Kaplan and Berman (2010) call, soft fascinations. Stimulus such as, ‘strange things’, moving things, wild animals, bright things, pretty things, etc. These fascinations more often than not automatically activate a set of cognitive control processes called executive functions and these processes are said to mediate our ability to pay attention and retain memories, along with self regulate through restoration and reflection.

According to Kaplan and Berman, natural environments are able to capture our involuntary attention, which in turn, enables us to better develop coping mechanisms, and simply put, make ‘better’ decisions.

This automatic activation of cognitive control processes tells us that something much more innate is at hand when we speak of ‘being in nature’ and why we often find ourselves drawn to natural environments. It is our biophilia; our innate urge to affiliate with all living things/systems.

There is a growing amount of empirical evidence that illustrates exposure to nature and an increased sense of nature connectedness increases wellbeing, sense of individual fulfilment, sense of self and place in society (Passmore & Howell, 2014; Mayer & Frantz, 2004; Weinstein, Przybylski & Ryan, 2009; Zelnski, Dopko & Capaldi, 2015).

With most of us now, on average, spending almost 90% of our time indoors (Environmental Canada, 2007; Greenfield, 2015; Planet Ark, 2015) this type of engagement is surely to be encouraged.

If you have ever seen plants hanging off skyscrapers or café walls perhaps you now know why. This is known as biophilic design, an architectural integration that celebrates sustainable solutions by emulating nature’s principles, such as, air conditioning systems modeled on the self-cooling systems of termite mounds.

The natural world offers us more than we think and as we rapidly transition to an urban-based society, appreciating its ingenuities, complexities and art forms, as ‘Oxygen Pods’ depict, may help rediscover solutions to our problems.