architecture · design · environment · happiness · health · Nature

Singapore Opens New Garden Airport

Singapore is famous for its greenery, dedication to parks and green spaces, and impressive architecture. They have combined all of that into their new international airport.

REPOST from ASLA blog The Dirt:

The new Jewel Changi airport features a 6-acre indoor forest, walking trails, and the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. This restorative mecca filled with 2,500 trees and 100,000 shrubs not only revitalizes weary international travelers but is also open to the public.

This includes an inside bamboo forest, canopy-level train system, and an incredible water feature that also recycles rain water.

Jewel Changi provides that nearby natural respite with a 5-story-tall forest encased in a 144,000-square-foot steel and glass donut structure. During rain storms, water pours through an oculus in the roof — creating the 130-foot-tall Rain Vortex, a mesmerizing waterfall sculpture that can accommodate up to 10,000 gallons per minute at peak flow. Stormwater is then recycled throughout the building.

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As anyone who experienced the stress of air travel can attest, the onslaught of digital signs, loud speakers announcing departures, shops blaring music, and carts flying by quickly leads to draining sensory overload. Now imagine if there was a natural place to take a break amid the cacophony. As many studies have shown, just 10 minutes of immersion in nature can reduce stress, restore cognitive ability, and improve mood.

With Jewel Changi, Singapore has reinvented what an airport can be, just as they re-imagined what a hospital can be with Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, which is not only a medical facility but also a green hub open to the community. Now let’s hope Singapore’s biophilic design culture spreads around the world. International airports are in fierce competition for passengers and regularly one-up each other with new wow-factor amenities, shops, and restaurants.

I realize that Singapore has a lot more support, both culturally and financially, than other places in the world to implement this kind of space. However, hopefully the value from a cultural, health, and tourism dollar standpoint will make it worth it for other countries to invest in adding even small elements of this to their public spaces like hospitals, airports, and other spaces.

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behavior · children · environment · happiness · Nature

Make-A-Wish, Woodland Park Zoo grant a child’s wish to play with animals.

When 2 1/2-year-old Rylee, a Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington kid, said she loved animals, we wanted to give her an unforgettable day at Woodland Park Zoo. Two weeks ago, Rylee arrived in a stretch limo, fed elephants Chai and Watoto, pet and fed the goats, pigs and bunnies, enjoyed a picnic and rode the carousel—and had a wonderful time sharing it all with her family. We’re so sorry to learn that Rylee has since passed. But we know that while we gave Rylee and her family the gift of nature, they gave us the gift of sharing one of Rylee’s last days with her. Go outside and play today—nature and time are gifts we should all treasure together. (Photo: Jessica Johnny Photography)

Photo: When 2 1/2-year-old Rylee, a Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington kid, said she loved animals, we wanted to give her an unforgettable day at Woodland Park Zoo. Two weeks ago, Rylee arrived in a stretch limo, fed elephants Chai and Watoto, pet and fed the goats, pigs and bunnies, enjoyed a picnic and rode the carousel—and had a wonderful time sharing it all with her family. We’re so sorry to learn that Rylee has since passed. But we know that while we gave Rylee and her family the gift of nature, they gave us the gift of sharing one of Rylee’s last days with her. Go outside and play today—nature and time are gifts we should all treasure together. (Photo: Jessica Johnny Photography)

Biophilia is amazingly strong for all kids, and it’s simultaneously wonderful and heartbreaking that this was a little girl’s last wish.

anthropology · architecture · environment

As you digest your turkey and reflect on a hopefully happy Thanksgiving, I am offering this summary of a recent conference session that talked about how to integrate biophilia into urban spaces and cities. As the human population increases, more people move away from the country and into the city, yet as humans we still crave nature and natural environments. Three researchers suggest how to go about addressing that.

THE DIRT


In a session on a new planning and design theory called “biophilic urbanism” at the 2012 Greenbuild conference in San Francisco, Judith Heerwagen, a professor at the University of Washington; Timothy Beatley, Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities at the University of Virginia; and Bert Gregory, head of Mithun Architects + Designers + Planners argued that cities can be in tune with nature, actually embody nature in physical design, and foster deeper connections with natural systems.

For Professor Heerwagen, biophilia is best defined by the amazing biologist E.O. Wilson, who came up with the actual concept. It relates to the “innate emotional connection of humans to all living things.” In cities, for example, this means that people are attracted to trees and will pay more to live in areas with them. People will pay more for hotel rooms with views of nature. “These are things we intuitively know. We chose places that are…

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architecture · disease · environment · happiness · health · mental health · psychology

Biophilic Building Design Held Back by Lack of Data

Really interesting article about the concept of biophilic design, something I’ve brought up a lot on this sight. In summary, humans love natural environments, so why haven’t our buildings and other spaces moved more in that direction? It’s all broken out very nicely in this post:

THE DIRT


Biophilic design is still at the bleeding-edge of green building design and hasn’t taken off yet. The obstacle may be the lack of data on the impact of biophilic design on health and well-being. Or perhaps it’s because there still hasn’t been that one model site that makes current practice irrelevant. Other possible reasons: “collective ignorance” or a “lack of imagination.” At a session at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) conference in Washington, D.C., some of early innovators in this field, Bill Browning, Founder, Terrapin Bright Green, Jason McClennan, CEO, International Living Future Institute / Cascadia Green Building Council, and Bob Berkebile, a principal at BNIM and an early green building innovator, discussed the many obstacles preventing more widespread use of these approaches and argued for rapidly stepping up research and promotion efforts.

Biophilia, which has been defined in earlier posts, is “the innate emotional affiliation of humans with all living things.” Defined by famed biologist…

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