Connection with natural systems

This project explores the concept of biophilic design, and how it responds to our innate connection to the natural environment in order to promote human wellbeing and reconnect us with the natural environment.

The theoretical basis for the project was the article by Terrapin Bright Green LLC entitled 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design: Being in the Built Environment (Terrapin Bright Green LLC. 2014. 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design: Being in the Built Environment).

The pattern that I worked with is called “Connection with natural systems.” It represents the interconnectedness of human-built systems with natural ones.

A used book represents the building: the cover is the building envelope and the pages are the interior environment. The elements added to it are interwoven through the building and represent nature with its biodiversity and complex cycles, such as growth, death, and seasons. The project illustrates the concept of bringing the outdoors in and the indoors out.

About the Pattern

In her article New Design Parameters for Healthy Places, Rosalyn Lindheim describes the major factors that allow us to function well in an environment. Two of the factors related to the Connection with Natural Systems pattern are connection to the natural order and connection to the life cycle. According to Lindheim, human beings are part of nature and are strongly affected by it. We have a deep need to live in accordance with the cycles of life and nature. That helps us maintain our identity. Man-made environments tend to segregate people of different ages and keep the acts of birth and death secluded from our lives. That makes us detached from natural cycles and contributes to growing scale of mental illnesses. Similarly, we are often disconnected from the environment and its rhythms and cycles, which makes us feel detached and distressed. We need to be aware of the time of the day, weather and seasonal changes, and the colors and motions of the natural landscape.[1]

According to the Terrapin article “a good Connection with Natural Systems evokes a relationship to a greater whole, making one aware of seasonality and the cycles of life” (Terrapin, 2012, p.36). There is limited scientific documentation of the health impacts associated with the pattern, but empirical evidence suggests that it enhances positive health responses and often results in a relaxing, nostalgic, profound, or enlightening experience.

Working with the pattern implies adding the temporal component to trigger our deeper awareness of a functioning system. The temporal component can be naturally occurring, such as: climate and weather patterns, hydrology, geology, animal behaviors, pollination, growth, aging and decomposition, diurnal patterns, night sky, or seasonal patterns; or simulated or constructed, such as: simulated daylighting systems, wildlife habitats, exposure of water infrastructure, step wells or natural patina of materials.[2]

[1] Lindheim, Roslyn. 1985. New Design Parameters for Healthy Places. Places, Vol. 2, Number 4, pp. 17-27. (accessed Oct 13 2015 at
[2] Terrapin Bright Green LLC. 2014. 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design: Being in the Built Environment. Pp. 36-37


Read more about this project in “Quad: LSU College of Art & Design Magazine”.


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Process Files