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Biophilic Design

Biophilic Design is an innovative way of designing the places where we live, work, and learn. We need nature in a deep and fundamental fashion, but we have often designed our cities and suburbs in ways that both degrade the environment and alienate us from nature.

The recent trend in green architecture has decreased the environmental impact of the built environment, but it has accomplished little in the way of reconnecting us to the natural world, the missing piece in the puzzle of sustainable development.

Come on a journey from our evolutionary past and the origins of architecture to the world's most celebrated buildings in a search for the architecture of life. Together, we will encounter buildings that connect people and nature--hospitals where patients heal faster, schools where children's test scores are higher, offices where workers are more productive, and communities where people know more of their neighbors and families thrive.

Featured are communities and buildings from Scandinavia, Germany, France and Britain to the Canadian and American northwest, American southwest, and New England. They include: California Academy of Sciences, Doernbecher Children's Hospital, Fallingwater, Viaduc des Arts, Google/YouTube Headquarters, Sahlgrenska Hospital (Psychiatric Department), High Point (Seattle Housing Authority), Johnson Wax Building, Sidwell Friends Middle School, Oxford Museum of Natural History, Village Homes (Davis, CA), and Kroon Hall (Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies).

Amongst those interviewed are: Edward O. Wilson, Bill McDonough, Judi Heerwagen, Jason McLennan, Tim Beatley, Bill Browning, Bert Gregory, Kent Bloomer, Claire Cooper Marcus, Michael Taylor, David Orr, Gus Speth, and Richard Louv.

Biophilic Design points the way toward creating healthy and productive habitats for modern humans.

'Biophilic Design extends the theory and practice of green building into a new dimension--the realm of human connection with nature and sense of place. If designers and planners want to create truly sustainable places that people will love and care for now and many generations to come, they need to give this film their close attention. We are using it as an important resource for teaching in our college.' Louise Chawla, Professor, College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado, Editor and co-Author, Growing Up in an Urbanizing World

'At a time when our society faces such extraordinary environmental and social challenges because of our separation from nature, this film is a breath of fresh air and takes us on journey of possibility and hope. This inspiring film features some of the leading visionaries in architecture and design, people who understand the real world need to design residential and commercial buildings and cities that are not only functional but feed our souls by reconnecting us to nature. Biophilic Design is essential viewing for policy makers, planners, designers and anyone engaged in re-designing the future.' Bryony Schwan, Executive Director, The Biomimicry 3.8 Institute

'Natural environments are not amenities, and they are not mere 'resources' or quaint luxuries. They are essential to human mental, physical and social well-being, most urgently for our children. Stephen Kellert has yoked health and environment in a new and powerful way for all who view Biophilic Design.' Dr. Richard Jackson, Pediatrician, Professor and Chair, Environmental Health Sciences, University of California-Los Angeles

'I was truly impressed with, as well as inspired by Biophilic Design.... [It] should be a required part of any design curriculum, not just for architects but also for engineers, interior designers, and even landscape architects. I can also see practicing designers using the film as an effective tool in talking with clients about the value of using 'the poetry we find in nature' for many different kinds of projects. I can see Biophilic Design extending beyond the design community. It will resonate with and inspired anyone remotely interested in the intersection of nature and design.' Naomi Sachs, ASLA, EDAC, Founder and Director, Therapeutic Landscapes Network

'This film goes well beyond the current concern with `green' building design...Provides convincing evidence from a wide range of types of settings that the reintroduction of nature into our everyday living environment profoundly impacts our individual health and well-being...Biophilic design could be a critical step in fostering a necessary societal level change of consciousness: through the broad reintroduction of nature into human habitats citizens will be more likely to become aware of their love of, and mutual connectedness with, nature and become passionate advocates for global change in how we work to sustain life on earth.' Roger Hart, Director, The Children's Environments Research Group, Professor, Environmental and Developmental Psychology and Earth and Environmental Sciences, City University of New York

'Progress has certainly been made with the more measurable and verifiable aspects of environmental design, such as minimizing the use of energy, water and materials. In the end, however, it is perhaps the depth of our emotional connection to the natural world that is most important to our environmental future. Deep affinity and resonance with nature give the environment its compelling value that ultimately leads to its measurable conservation. Biophilic Design, The Architecture of Life fills a huge void in our understanding the role of the natural world in modern life. It brings home why nature's presence in our daily lives is central to our existence and what we can do to reverse a centuries old decline.' Stephen Kieran, FAIA, Founding Partner, KieranTimberlake, Co-Author, Loblolly House: Elements of a New Architecture

'Unlike many environmental documentaries, this film does not dwell on much discussed problems but discusses concrete solutions...Biophilic Design is a professionally produced documentary and a clear argument for the benefits of design that brings people in closer contact with nature. It packs a lot of excellent examples and expert testimony in its hour long running time.' Tom Ipri, Drexel University, Educational Media Reviews Online

'A thought-provoking study brimming with invaluable ideas, especially for architects, policy makers, and interior designers, Biophilic Design is highly recommended.' The Midwest Book Review


Main credits

Kellert, Stephen R. (screenwriter)
Kellert, Stephen R. (narrator)
Finnegan, Bill (film producer)
Finnegan, Bill (screenwriter)
Finnegan, Bill (film editor)
Finnegan, Bill (cinematographer)
Miller, Florence (narrator)

Other credits

Additional camera, Taylor Gentry, Charles Divak, Hilary Byrne, Daniel Shearer; music, Peter Land, Jaime Garamella.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

American Studies
Environmental Ethics
Green Building
Mental Health
Natural Resources
Renewable Energy
Social Psychology
Sustainable Development
Urban and Regional Planning


biophilia, design revolution, green architecture, reconnecting to natural world, sustainable development, connecting people and nature, hospitals, faster healing, schools, higher test scores, offices, more productive workers, thriving communities, Frank Lloyd Wright, Aldo Leopold, John Ruskin, California Academy of Sciences, Doernbecher Children's Hospital, Fallingwater, Viaduc des Arts, Google/YouTube Headquarters, Sahlgrenska Hospital, High Point Seattle Housing Authority, Johnson Wax Building, Sidwell Friends Middle School, Oxford Museum of Natural History, Village Homes Davis, CA, and Kroon Hall, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Edward O. Wilson, Bill McDonough, Judi Heerwagen, Jason McLennan, Tim Beatley, Bill Browning, Bert Gregory, Kent Bloomer, Claire Cooper Marcus, Michael Taylor, David Orr, Gus Speth, Richard Louv, Aldo Leopold Foundation, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, Cook+Fox Architects, David Mellor Design, Dell Children's Hospital, Seaton Family of Hospitals, Embassy of Finland Washington, Genzyme, Herman Miller, Hopkins Architects, Islandwood, Kieran-Timberlake, King Middle School - Edible Schoolyard, Lake-Flato Architects, Metro-North Railroad, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Mithun, Next Phase Studios, NRG Systems, Oberlin College, Sellers and Company, Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, White Arkitekter, Yestermorrow Design/Build School, Christopher Andrews, Alan Bell, Patrick Berger, Lennart Bogren, Carrington Conerly, Richard Cook, Judy Corbett, Pliny Fisk III, Ted Flato, Bob Fox, Jan Freitas-Nichols, Howard Frumkin, Trevor Garnham, Anna Grady, Ann Greenamyre, Marsha Guerrero, Beth Hadi, Bob Harris, Grant Hildebrand, Michael Hoke, Buddy Huffaker, Marleen Kaptein, Greg Kats, DeAnna Lawson, Stefen Lundin, Rick Mattila, Corin Mellor, Jennifer Mitchell, Nina Moiseiwitsch, Paul Murray, Ed Nagelkirk, Michael Nichols, Stacy Nicholson, Margaret Pennock, Tom Phillips, Martha Platt, Anthony Ravitz, Karen Salsbury, David Sellers, Diana Sevelin, Kate Stephenson, Matt Sullivan, Anthony Sutcliffe, Toni Torres, Roger Ulrich, Gail Vittori, Martin Werminghausen, Carolyn West; ,"Biophilic Design",Bullfrog Films,doc,art,env; science

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