Have you ever spent time in an environment that invigorated your body and mind, calmed your nerves and inspired you to think clearly and creatively? Chances are high that this place was in nature.
In contrast, how do you feel when you spend hours inside a cubicle in an office building, or surrounded by fluorescent lighting, wall-to-wall carpeting and artificial paint? Dull, down and dreary may come to mind.
Bau-biologie is a term from Germany that means “building biology,” and it is at the forefront of intertwining the nurturing feelings of nature with the places in which you live and work. This is the holistic approach to the “built environment.”
Building biology describes a movement that promotes “the use of healthy building principles as a means to improve living and work spaces and the health of people who occupy them.”
Building “ecology” can then be defined as the relationship between the building and the environment.
Among the 25 principles of bau-biologie are:
1. A building site shall be geologically undisturbed.
2. Residential homes are best located away from industrial centers and main traffic routes.
3. Housing shall be developed in a decentralized and loose manner interlaced with sufficient green space.
4. Housing and developments shall be personalized, in harmony with nature, fit for human habitation and family oriented.
5. Natural and unadulterated building materials shall be used.
At the International Institute for Bau-Biologie and Ecology, a non-profit organization, people are educated about the health hazards that may exist in typical living spaces, and to raise awareness that homes and workplaces can be created to bring the benefits of both health and aesthetics into your living environment.
They view buildings not just as shelter, but as a third skin (the first skin being your body, the second your clothes).
You can experience an embracing, nurturing feeling in your home and office, such as what you might feel when you are in a forest with the sun shining gently on your face, if it was built in accordance with the laws of nature.
Whereas a home or office built from artificial materials will gradually deplete you, a home made from nature will nourish you.