Trends in Biophilia – the Greening of the Contemporary Urban Office

When contemplating  the contemporary urban office, one imagines soul deadening fluorescent lights illuminating monotones of grey and white cubicles keeping their occupants sterilized in order to achieve a particular type of identity-less productivity. Psychologists and wellness experts have realized the profitability of other/different types of productivity, and the modern office has evolved into a veritable rain forest, including waterfalls and large palettes of foliage.  For example:  Amazon’s Seattle headquarters has over 40,000 plants and a full time horticulturalist;  Samsung’s offices in San Jose has a garden space on every other floor.


The human mind is intrinsically wired to green spaces, so it’s only natural that our workplaces are designed to work synergistically with the human mind. There are even WELL Building Standards certifications that highlight clean air, walkability, and health, for criteria.  There has been an unspoken ‘removing’ of humans from nature over the past several hundred years . Urbanization, suburban sprawl, paving forests, mountaintop removal; these trends represent a psychological belief that humans can transcend the earth we are given and make it better with concrete and engineering. As of late though, the new trend seems to be letting the wild back in for the betterment of our mental health. Nature seems to be the best engineer, a degree earned after countless millennia of trial and error.  It seems the most educated of our human minds are now taking the time to examine and produce the natural world through mimesis.  (Derived form the Greek word  “mimeisthai”, which means to imitate.)  The Los Angeles Times talks about these trends in biophilia in this interesting article.   Read the article.

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