More Buildings Are Going Green. Literally.

Increasingly, buildings are becoming literally green, as cities and companies around the world embrace biophilic design-the concept of surrounding buildings with nature, even on their upper floors, and bringing the outdoors indoors by including natural elements in their interior design. Biophilic design can result in significant energy savings, and research indicates that employees in buildings designed with biophilic elements not only feel better about their workplace but perform better, too. Outdoors, a number of patios used by employees for breaks and dining are planted with or surrounded by drought-tolerant native plants, including more than 570 trees and 5,700 shrubs and grasses. A pivotal piece of research backing up the premise of biophilic design is a 1984 study published in the journal Science that found that a suburban Pennsylvania hospital’s gallbladder-surgery patients who had views of green space from their rooms had shorter recovery times than those who didn’t. One of them is a park and classroom cluster as part of a new campus for the Singapore Institute of Technology that will cocoon campus buildings in an urban forest. While designing buildings with huge green spaces, green walls and terraced gardens can be challenging-using trees requires building in load capacity-some projects get around that by the choice of plants they use. The mixed residential and commercial building features a series of hanging gardens that clad the exteriors of its two residential towers with more than 85,000 plants, and includes 22 interior green walls.


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