Biophilia and Biophilic Design

Faculty Focus

You pause to smell the bouquet of flowers on the the table, even though you’re in a hurry.  You desperately want to pick up and hug the little puppy that is just learning to navigate the carpeting.  You feel joy as you dig your hands into the soil of your nascent garden. You can’t help but watch cat videos. Why? That’s called biophilia – the name that E.O. Wilson gave to our innate love of and connection to life and living things.  

When we want to feel connected to life and other living things, to engage our biophilia, we go outside in nature or bring nature indoors. But what if you could capture that sense of beauty and delight and connection to nature while indoors (where we spend 90% of our time), even while at work, at school or even at the hospital? That is what biophilic design sets out to do.  Bringing nature indoors is one way; however, designers are figuring out myriad ways for us to experience the benefits of nature while engaging in the built environment.  

Curious?  Join Denise DeLuca and Tim McGee as we co-facilitate the International Living Future Institute’s Biophilic Design Summit May 2 in Portland, OR.

This workshop will highlight and provide:

  • Talks highlighting the research behind biophilia and biophilic design
  • Examples of current businesses and projects that have incorporated biophilic design practices
  • Mindfulness exercises and time to enjoy Phipps Conservatory’s Tropical Forest and regenerative spaces
  • Time with other practitioners to develop example biophilic design visions for projects and/or places
  • Space to connect with other professionals in the field

Also come by for a chat with Denise along with MA in Sustainable Design faculty, students, and alumni at the our booth during the Living Future Unconference ’18 trade show!

[Image courtesy of Skitterphoto on Pixabay]

Denise DeLuca / Director

Denise DeLuca is director of MCAD’s Sustainable Design program and co-founder of BCI: Biomimicry Creative for Innovation, a network of creative professional change agents driving ecological thinking for radical transformation. Denise is author of the book Re-Aligning with Nature: Ecological Thinking for Radical Transformation, which was illustrated by MASD alum Stephanie Koehler.  She also teaches with the Amani Institute. Denise’s previous roles include Education Director for the International Living Future Institute, a consultant for Swedish Biomimetics 3000, and Outreach Director for The Biomimicry Institute.  Denise is a licensed civil engineer (PE) and holds a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering with a focus on modeling landscape-scale surface and ground water interactions. Denise is based in Montana.

contact:  [email protected]
Twitter: @MCADSustainDsgn


Tim McGee

Timothy R. McGee is chief biologist and designer at LikoLab, a biology and design firm in Seattle, that learns from nature, and makes things. LikoLab explores the interface between biology and design helping organizations confront both the human and scientific challenges of emerging technology. Tim’s work spans broad challenges from developing new ways to manufacture materials to enabling cities to build resilient systems for growth and development. Tim is also co-founder of Biomimicry New England, a non-profit that works to establish nature and natural systems as an important resource for education and innovation in New England. When not in the studio Tim is often with his family hunting the woods for edible mushrooms, fiddling with camera equipment, or dipping his toes in the ocean. Tim is based in Washington State.