Biophilic design considerations for creating a restorative life care community (Adapting patterns of biophilia in senior housing for reducing stress)

Presented by: Sahar Mihandoust, Dr. Michelle Pearson

A significant portion of the elderly population lives in care environments outside their homes. Homesickness and losing independence happen when elderly leave their homes. This change of environment leads to stress, cognitive impairments, and depression. These alterations can stimulate the production of hormones associated with stress (Ladeira, Gomes fa Silva, & Barbosa, 2014). Stress is a forerunner of several diseases; therefore, creating a stress reducing environment is the key concept when designing for the elderly (Stein, Linn, 1983). Biophilic design interventions improve health and well-being in built environment by implementing natural solutions. In this study, firstly the literature review explored the relationship between patterns of Biophilic design with stress reduction. Visual connection with nature, biomorphic forms and patterns, material connection with nature, and complexity and order were the four patterns associated with lowering heart rate, blood pressure, skin conductance level, and brain activity; therefore these patterns were considered restorative and influential for stress reduction. Secondly, a site in Carillon life care community, Lubbock, TX, was selected for integrating stress reducing Biophilic design interventions. The dining hall and common space in Carillon care center were analyzed for existing problems. layout and circulation, visual connection with nature, artwork, and dominant colors and materials were the four major problematic categories. Finally, according to the literature review in the first phase of the study, multiple stress reducing design solutions were suggested for each problem, and best fitting solutions were selected and applied to the Carillon lifecare community design.

References:

  • Fell, D. R. (2010). Wood in the human environment: restorative properties of wood in the built indoor environment. UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver. Feuerstein, G. (2002). Biomorphic architecture: Human and animal forms in architecture: Edition Axel Menges.
  • Rashid, M., & Zimring, C. (2008). A review of the empirical literature on the relationships between indoor environment and stress in health care and office settings problems and prospects of sharing evidence. Environment and Behavior, 40(2), 151-190.
  • Taylor, R. P. (2006). Reduction of physiological stress using fractal art and architecture. Leonardo, 39(3), 245-251.
  • Tse, M. M. Y., Ng, J. K. F., Chung, J. W. Y., & Wong, T. K. S. (2002). The effect of visual stimuli on pain threshold and tolerance. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 11(4), 462-469 468p. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2702.2002.00608.x
  • Tsunetsugu, Y., Miyazaki, Y., & Sato, H. (2007). Physiological effects in humans induced by the visual stimulation of room interiors with different wood quantities. Journal of Wood Science, 53(1), 11-16.
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