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Biophilia in the spotlight as humanity and the natural world merge for design contest

The High Line is a public park in New York, built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It is owned by the City of New York, and maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line. Image CC credit David Berkowitz

The High Line is a public park in New York, built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It is owned by the City of New York, and maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line. Image CC credit David Berkowitz

Some people love New York. Others fancy London, Sydney, or Hong Kong. While preferences for cities are split, science says that all of us may in fact be hard-wired to love the natural world.

Interface, Inc, a global manufacturer, designer and marketer of carpet tiles, has launched a global competition named “Reconnect Your Space” that calls for architectural, interior or urban landscape design entries that put this affinity for nature, or biophilia, at the forefront. Biophilic design incorporates natural elements into manmade environments in order to help people feel and perform better.

Evidence of biophilic design can be seen in a variety of ways – from New York’s acclaimed High Line linear park built on an historic elevated freight rail line (pictured above), to the growing popularity of community gardens throughout Sydney, as well as through the ecological approach to building design showcased in Singapore’s Solaris high-rise project. Research has shown benefits such as productivity, emotional well-being, stress reduction, learning, healing and environmental protection resulting from biophilic design and humankind’s innate psychological and physiological connections with the natural world.

“Biophilic design is ‘purpose driven’ design that recognises humanity’s strong link with the natural world, which can be utilised for good,” said Maria Davlantes, senior vice president and CMO of Interface, Inc.

“Our hope is that ‘Reconnect Your Space’ inspires compelling examples of leading-edge biophilic design. We appreciate the global emergence of this exciting area and how the broader design community and communities at large stand to benefit through its development.”

One winning entry will be chosen by a renowned panel of judges from the global design community. Judges include: Robert D. Fox, principal at Fox Architects based in New York City; Paul McGillick, editorial director at Indesign Publishing in Sydney; and Richard Weston, professor of architecture at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University in Wales. The panel will select the winner from six finalists determined by social media based voting at interfacereconnect.com.

The winner’s prize includes travel and accommodations for four days and three nights to experience firsthand biophilia’s influence in design. The winner can choose a biophilia inspired experience in one of three locations: Singapore; San Francisco in the United States; or Cornwall in the United Kingdom. Among the trip themes are discovering how Singapore is achieving its goal of becoming a “city in a garden”; exploring natural elements within San Francisco’s popular monuments and dynamic architectural and design scene; and delving into the United Kingdom’s Eden Project that explores humanity’s dependency on nature.

Interface’s “Reconnect Your Space” competition is open until Monday, April 1, 2013 at 5:00 pm EST. The winner will be announced on May 6, 2013.

 

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