Presented by: Kendra Ordia
Human wellness has always depended on nature - a perpetually changing, interconnected, incredibly intricate flow of life presenting us with a stunning interplay of ecological relationships. Within growing architectural design sectors, “research supports measurable, positive impacts of biophilic design on health, strengthening the empirical evidence for the human-nature connection and raising its priority level within both design research and design practice; however, little guidance for evidence-based interior design implementation continues to exist” (Browning, Ryan, and Clancy, 2014, 4). Health outcomes associated with biophilic spaces are of interest to stakeholders as they provide evidence for design decisions, contribute to best practice standards, inform public health policy, and provide healthy spaces for users. Further studies of environmental qualities need to be conducted in the form of measured outcomes for wellbeing. Tracking and monitoring of the space and human biological responses related to biophilic design in interior environments is needed to build the evidence for actively pursue solutions to problems that nature has already solved (Benyus, 1997). By tapping into contemporary topics of well-being, sustainability, and solving meaningful problems through system-level thinking, the field of architecture and design can further converge with other disciplines to carry out our roles as public health professionals. Till.r+u_1.0 is the first in the series of biophilic design solutions using ecological inspiration to reimagine regional bio-waste material into a living filtration system – inspiring delight while improving human health through functions of the epiphytic plant species. The system offers a non-toxic merger of interior and landscape embodied in the materiality of the biofiltration system while rich patterns, textures, and spatial structures activated by light and air movements stimulate recognition of the natural world beyond. The plant material utilized in Till r+u_1.0 are common to the Southern region of the U.S. and found on trees across the campus of the install. Research shows that Tillandsia usneoides (Spanish Moss) and Tillandsia recurvate (Ball Moss) are bioindicators and bioacculumlators of trace elements, particularly in urban areas, and have been shown to accumulate more than 30 chemical elements including metals (Reinert, 1998). Both epiphytic plants are efficient biomonitors of air pollution since they do not make contact with soil and pull nutrients from the atmosphere. In lab studies, their tissue content largely reflects exterior atmospheric contamination making; this project will test the ability of the plant material as a biomonitor for the interior environment. T. usneoides and T. recurvate are currently being grown in an on-campus greenhouse to test required interior moisture and light levels for growth, flowering, and propagation prior to installing in the space. The prototype utilizes a flexible web-like structure fabricated from 100% non-woven polyester that is class A fire rated, UV treated for interior use, anti-static, and easily cleanable. It is attached to the mullions through industrial strength magnets for ease of maintenance. Environmental testing will take place via a portable environmental tracker with connected smartphone app that will be displayed in real-time on a monitor in the space to inform users of the specifics of the project. Student perception of the installation will also be gauged through a series of real-time digital ethnography studies. Benyus, Janine M. Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. New York: Morrow, 1997. Browning, William D., Catherine Ryan, and Joseph Clancy. “14 Patterns of Biophilic Design.” New York: Terrapin Bright Green LLC. 2014. Reinert, Fernanda. "Epiphytes: Photosynthesis, Water Balance and Nutrients." Oecologia Brasiliensis 04, no. 01 (1998): 87-110. Accessed July 16, 2016. doi:10.4257/oeco.1998.0401.05.