Nature in Buildings: Meditations on a Design Frontier

By Robert H. Knapp.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The usual phrase is “buildings in nature,” which raises in an orderly way the question of proper relationships between the built human environment and the much more complex and much, much larger natural environment in which it resides. This paper explores the less orderly, less comfortable, and riskier connections that arise when nature in one or another form comes directly into buildings. Distinguished built projects, such as Tezuka Architecture’s Fuji Kindergarten, share the stage with humble services such as indoor beehives and composting toilets. The concept of biophilia confronts pest control. Neighborhood raccoons and friendly spiders give further clues as to what presence of nature in buildings could be welcome and achievable, and what value choices and feasibility puzzles design may have to unravel to get there.

Keywords: Environmental Design, Biophilia, Water, Habitat, Nature and Culture

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.297-306. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 687.576KB).

Robert H. Knapp

Member of the Faculty (Physics and Sustainable Design), Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington, USA

I teach undergraduate and graduate design as a liberal art; my research, currently funded by a Abe Fellowship, concerns the design processes behind exemplary US and Japanese green buildings of commercial scale.


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