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To What Extent Can Biophilic Architectural Environments Effect Physiological Stress Indicators?  

Patrick Flynn

Test Methods
VR Simulation Environmnent
Case Study

For copy of full dissertation, contact:

Connor McGowan
David Knight

A breakdown of biophilic architecture and exploration into the extent of its potential to be implemented to create an environment that nurtures a buildings occupants psychological and physiological comfort through the reduction of stress.

This study was carried out to assess the impact of biophilic architecture on human physiological stress recovery. The primary aim of this body of research is to investigate how biophilic architectural features can affect stress recovery of building occupants. The study aimed to identify through the use of virtual reality simulation based stress recovery experimentation, case studies and sample group surveying, if biophilic architecture could be an effective technique to improve the health and happiness of the population, specifically in urban areas as this subset of the population have the least access to connect with nature. Should biophilic architectural philosophy be a greater consideration in the future of Irish architecture? 

Firsty, a literature review was carried out breaking down the 14 patterns of biophilia. This outlined previous studies that have explored similar questions and made it easier to create a standard of measurement when assessing biophilic architecture. A case study was then conducted on, The Wood Quay, Dublin City Council Building. The building’s architectural nature was studied in order to outline how many biophilic patterns have been expressed within the design. From there the occupants of the building were questioned on their experience working in a biophilic environment as opposed to non biophilic environments. After collecting this research, a stress recovery based virtual reality experiment was conducted in order to assess how certain biophilic patterns in an environment can affect human physiological stress indicators. The difference in recovery between environments were recorded, although due to too many variables, further research will be necessary to be fully conclusive in the findings.

The consideration of biophilic design in urban architecture could have the potential to lower urban population stress levels. Stress is a major component in human illness, mental health problems and anti-social behavior and issues. Considering the philosophy behind biophilic architecture it could have a positive social impact on the occupants and surrounding population of our architecture.

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