How Biophilic Design Benefits Learning Environments

8 Sep | Biophilic Design, Indoor Landscape, Natural Wellness

We’re all looking for ways to be less stressed – yoga, meditation, you name it. What if we told you that being around plants was a proven way to relax? A study in 2003 by Nancy Wells and Gary Evans found that stress was lower among children that spent more time in nature than those who were seldom near the outdoors.

We know that bringing plants into your home and workplace can help you be a little more Zen. But what about learning environments? The performance metrics associated with schooling can make it a stressful place, but did you know that a classroom’s physical environment can have undesirable effects on students?  In fact, a 2012 study by Helena Jahncke describes how open floor plan noise, like you’d find in a classroom, creates fatigue and has a negative impact on motivation and performance.

To discover if biophilic design could help reduce stress and increase performance in a school setting, Craig Gaulden Davis Architects put together a team of researchers to put it to the test in 2019. The experiment took place in a 6th grade math class at Green Street Academy in Baltimore. One of the enhancements they implemented was for students to be able to view elements of nature by having plants easily in sight. They found that students were significantly less stressed, that their average test score gain was three times better than the previous year, and that they felt more positive about learning, more relaxed and better able to concentrate.

Plant Solutions Owner Joe Zazzera has been tracking these education-related metrics for years.

“While biophilic design has been trending in office spaces for years now, it’s something that hasn’t been as widely utilized in learning environments,” Zazzera says. “But why wouldn’t we focus more on helping our young ones to make the most of their education? In Arizona, we’ve been honored to serve as a partner to some great forward-thinking institutions that are making the effectiveness of physical learning environments a priority.”

Nature-inspired design can also help with mental recovery. A study by Alvarsson et al. in 2010 discovered that exposure to nature sounds accelerated physical and psychological restoration after a stressor, such as a test or not understanding a topic. Biophilic design was also found to reduce cognitive fatigue and help motivation!

Research clearly shows that emotional well-being and cognitive ability is positively affected by embedding nature into learning environments – and Plant Solutions has been proud to bring the benefits of nature-inspired design to Arizona’s students. From Creighton University to multiple projects at ASU including the University Center, Barrett Honors Center and ASU Design Institute, when educational institutions come to Plant Solutions, they get the best in biophilic design created to help students relax, recuperate and improve their overall wellness.

For more information on how to partner with Plant Solutions to provide an effective space for higher learning, visit our services page here.

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