Nature AND Nurture?

Earl Crossland, AIA, LEED-AP  |  VSWC Vice President + Architect

Are you feeling “Cabin Fever” from the COVID 19 lock-downs and quarantines? Confinement indoors often affects stress levels, irritability and mental health. Many of us are seeking relief by visiting parks and getting out into nature.

But what if our homes, offices and schools could bring nature indoors to calm us and create that sense of health and well-being we feel in nature?

There is growing scientific research that Biophilia (nature-love) Design can help satisfy our innate need to connect with nature and restore or health.

Biophilia Design involves providing windows with ample daylight and views of nature. It incorporates indoor plants and living walls. Natural materials and textures such as wood and stone offer a tactile connection to nature. Flowing water provides the soothing sound of nature. Nature themed art, photography and sculpture provide focal points for contemplation. Patterns, shapes and forms from nature help ground us. Naturally occurring colors can calm the spirit.

Research also shows that incorporating these elements into healthcare settings actually enhances physical and emotional healing. VSWC designed Jamestowne Inpatient & Outpatient Therapy Center in Hamilton, Ohio, to showcase all of these strategies.

As these examples illustrate, Nature in architecture can Nurture our health and well-being.