March 2020 – A note from Moses Structural Engineers:

Biophilia is the human love of life and the natural world. Biophilic design is focused on the inclusion of nature in design, connecting the human-made environment to natural materials such as stone and wood. It sounds like a wonderful idea and it’s possible in warm and cold climates, especially if we consider exposing mass timber in our buildings. Let’s look at a few examples of biophilic design.

In the workplace

Natural light and natural views in the workplace along with green walls and exposed wood structures have been found to reduce absenteeism, reduce sick days and increase focused productivity.

Mass timber office building, Toronto design in progress MSE with studioCANOO

In hospitals

In hospitals where natural light and healing gardens have been introduced, patients experience faster recovery times, reduced dependence on medication, and improved emotional wellness. Additionally, hospital staff, patients, and family members all experience lower levels of stress.

High pressure laminate cladding for hospital. Moses Structural Engineers with Spring Valley Corporation.

In retail

When retailers introduce skylights and plants into their shops, they create a calming and more soothing environment for shoppers. This resulted in shoppers spending more time in the store and higher return rates.

First demountable mass timber building and first MEC store to receive LEED Gold. Moses Structural Engineers with SMV Architects.

In schools

Studies of schools where classrooms provide natural daylight and exposure to nature result in better outcomes for students during school which lead to better lifetime opportunities.

6-storey Institutional Mass Timber Design Competition. Rendering courtesy of Diamond Schmitt Architects. Image courtesy of Diamond Schmitt Architects

In the community

Communities situated within natural surroundings (including parks and nature trails) experience reduced crime rates, fewer domestic violence incidences, and improved social behaviour (the exposure helps community members the opportunity to cope with negative emotions).

Brampton Picnic Shelter. Detailed Design of CLT roof by Moses Structural Engineers.

Biophilic design takes just a few small moves which result in very positive outcomes. Combining exposed mass timber with other strategies for biophilic design is a natural fit! Get Moses Structural Engineers on your team to look for opportunities for exposed mass timber in your buildings.