Nature of the Space

I am currently fascinated by the “Nature of the Space”. This title captures four of the 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design as defined by Terrapin Bright Green in their accessible, informative and useful on-line publication.

14 Patterns of Biophilic Design

The nature of the space includes prospect, refuge, mystery and risk/peril: all of the elements that made it fun to play outdoors when you were a scrawny, skin-kneed kid. Sitting in the crook of tree limbs, looking out over a field. Stepping rock to rock in a stream, or the opposite in the winter when trying to ice skate on the small patches of ice in that ridiculously tiny stream that divided our yard from the Navy Housing complex. Total stumbling risk, not to mention the peril of getting teased by the Navy kids! Even playing hide and seek, where you wedged yourself into a tiny space behind the garage, and waited with thumping heart for the kid who was “it” to find you and tag you. All of these elements are what make our heart beat, our senses fire and our joy increase, so all of them, if re-created in the built environment, will increase our pleasure, performance and health.

I think they also are again affecting the market. I have seen so many ads for swinging, small, comfy hanging chairs that offer shelter and protection while allowing you to look out.shelter And what about the tiny house movement? There is refuge in the tiny and contained, and even more so when the entirely of that space is under your complete control. Add in the mystery elements of clever storage, fold out porches and hidden trap doors and ladders to rooftop “extra” space and you’ve got a child’s tree house writ large for daily life.

Are we learning more about the benefits of biophilia? Or are we rediscovering our interactions with built forms and allowing a diversity of approaches to meet our individual needs and lifestyles? Does it really matter? The point is we are cherishing how we live and where we live in deeper ways that may improve our health, personal prosperity and ability/access to play.

Play and be greener,


  Be the first to like this post (no login required)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 + 7 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.