Using Biophilic Design in Social Psychiatric Institutions to positively affect its residents

by Ida Andersen on November 01, 2022

Exposure to nature is crucial for well-being as a profound bond exists between humans and the natural world. Unfortunately often lacking in our modern society. 

There are theories in Environmental Psychology literature, such as Attention Restoration Theory and Stress Recovery Theory. Those theories suggest that some environments are stressful, and others can actively help people recover from stress and mental fatigue. 

According to Kaplan, natural environments, in particular, contain elements that promote renewed attention by providing a sense of being away, fascination, extent, and compatibility. 

Recently we were happy to be witness to a greater focus on design with nature and awareness of its benefits in public institutions. 

Biophilic design in social psychiatric resident

In SQUARELY COPENHAGEN, we were asked to create a solution with a biophilic design for a social psychiatric residence. The main task was to decorate the canteen and entrance area, and to provide an inviting, reminding of nature environment.

Canteens are often stressful environments. The design is often focused on creating numerous sitting places and easy-to-clean surfaces: the open space and hard finish level up the noise.

Room division and acoustic conditions

For this project, we used solid wooden planters in natural ash with large plants to divide the space and improve the acoustic conditions to solve these challenges with simple means. We created a Green Wall installation on the canteen wall to make a green highlight and break the space. The whole solution was very easy to install and the employees can maintain it themselves. 

We love seeing the residents truly enjoy the new environment and have they prefer to sit in between or next to the green dividers. 

Bearing in mind that biophilic design profoundly affects psychological health, we are delighted that the responsible for social psychiatric institutions take decisions to incorporate those in the design planning. 

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