The Rise of Biophilic Design in the Green Façade Movement: A New Era for Home Exteriors

The Rise of Biophilic Design in the Green Façade Movement: A New Era for Home Exteriors

Sep 18, 2023

Biophilic design is a concept that has been rapidly gaining traction in the world of architecture and interior design. It is an innovative approach that seeks to connect our living and working environments more closely with nature. Biophilic design is based on the idea of ‘biophilia’, a term popularised by the biologist Edward O. Wilson in the 1980s. Wilson suggested that humans have an innate desire to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. Biophilic design, therefore, is about creating spaces that satisfy this deep-seated need.

In practical terms, biophilic design translates to the incorporation of natural elements such as plants, water, and natural light into architectural design. It’s not just about adding a few potted plants or a fish tank, though. Biophilic design is about creating a holistic environment where the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces are blurred, and the presence of nature is felt in a profound way.

The Role of Biophilic Design in the Green Façade Movement

The green façade movement is a part of the broader shift towards sustainable architecture. Green façades, also known as living walls or vertical gardens, are a way of incorporating vegetation into the design of buildings. They offer a multitude of environmental benefits, including improved air quality, energy conservation, and urban biodiversity. Biophilic design plays a crucial role in the green façade movement, providing the conceptual framework for integrating nature into our built environments.

One way that biophilic design contributes to the green façade movement is through its emphasis on the sensory experience of nature. Biophilic design is not just about visual aesthetics; it’s about creating spaces that engage all our senses. The rustling of leaves, the fragrance of flowers, the feeling of sunlight on our skin – these sensory experiences are integral to the biophilic design approach. And they are precisely what green façades can offer.

Another key contribution of biophilic design to the green façade movement is its focus on creating meaningful connections with nature. Green façades are not just decorative features. They are living, breathing ecosystems that can help us reconnect with nature in a profound way. Through the principles of biophilic design, we can ensure that our green façades are more than just pretty faces – they are spaces that enhance our well-being and deepen our relationship with the natural world.

Benefits of Biophilic Design and Green Façades

There’s a growing body of research that shows the many benefits of biophilic design and green façades. For instance, studies have found that exposure to nature can improve our health, well-being, and productivity. This is why biophilic design is increasingly being incorporated into healthcare facilities, schools, offices, and of course, residential buildings.

Green façades, as a component of biophilic design, offer similar benefits. They can contribute to better air quality by absorbing pollutants and releasing oxygen. They can also help regulate building temperatures, reducing the need for artificial cooling or heating. This not only reduces energy consumption but also contributes to a more comfortable indoor environment.

But the benefits of biophilic design and green façades are not just functional. They also have a profound psychological impact. Being surrounded by nature, even in an urban setting, can reduce stress and enhance our mood. It can foster a sense of peace and tranquillity that’s often lacking in our busy, urban lives.

Understanding Green Façade Design

Green façade design involves more than just attaching plants to a building’s exterior. It requires careful planning and consideration of various factors such as a building’s location, orientation, and climate. The choice of plant species is also critical, as different plants have different light, water, and nutrient requirements.

When designed well, green façades can be self-sustaining ecosystems. They can provide habitat for birds, insects, and other wildlife, contributing to urban biodiversity. They can also offer a visually pleasing alternative to conventional building materials, adding a touch of green to our often grey urban landscapes.

In addition to their environmental benefits, green façades can increase the value of a property. They can improve a building’s aesthetic appeal, attracting potential buyers or tenants. They can also contribute to a building’s sustainability credentials, which is turning into an increasingly important consideration in the real estate market.

The Impact of Biophilic Design on Residential Façade Design

Biophilic design is having a significant impact on residential façade design. Homeowners are becoming more aware of the benefits of living in harmony with nature, and they are increasingly seeking ways to incorporate natural elements into their homes. This has led to a rise in the popularity of green façades for residential buildings.

Green façades can transform the exterior of a house, turning it into a living, breathing work of art. They can also extend the living space of a home, turning the façade into a vertical garden that can be used for growing herbs, vegetables, or simply to enjoy the beauty of nature.

The principles of biophilic design can guide the design of these green façades, ensuring that they are not just aesthetically pleasing but also beneficial for our well-being. By integrating nature into our homes, we can create spaces that are not just comfortable and functional, but also nurturing and life-enhancing.


The green façade movement is a testament to the power of biophilic design. It shows how we can integrate nature into our built environments, creating spaces that are not just sustainable, but also beneficial for our health and well-being.

The future of biophilic design and the green façade movement looks promising. As more people embrace the principles of biophilic design, we can expect to see more green façades springing up in our cities and neighbourhoods. These living walls will not just beautify our urban landscapes, but also contribute to a healthier, more sustainable future.

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