Love of Life

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Biophilia as the hypothetical human tendency to interact or be closely associated with other forms of life in nature. In simple terms biophilia is Love of life or living systems. The Terrapin team suggested 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design that can help improve health and well-being in the built environment. These patterns can be reflected on in any form of the design process in any field to easily relate to nature. The pattern that I can easily relate within Apparel Design and production is the visual connection with nature. This can be related to the prints on fabrics that are inspired by nature in form if plants, floral, landscape, and weather. Seasonally consumers find an appeal to garments that reflect nature because it helps to tell the mood of the wearer, especially in the summer season.

I would relate the works of designers like Alexander McQueen to Complexity and order. He pushed the limits of what people expected from fashion especially with his runway collections. The last runway show he did which was his Spring/Summer 2010 line where he introduced his famous “armadillo shoes.” The runway show he named “Survival of the Fittest” featured models walking in elaborate and dangerously high-heels that resembled an armadillo. This was pushing fashion to the limit and exhibited complexity with order.


Personally, as an apparel designer, I am inspired by the Refuge pattern. This is because I would love to create clothes in which every customer feels well protected. This can be achieved by ensuring that the person feels confident with what they are wearing while expressing their true identity.

The Terrapin report clearly stated the health benefits from applying the 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design. Research scientists and design practitioners have unveiled that Biophilic design can reduce stress, improve cognitive function and creativity, improve our well-being and expedite healing. As the world population continues to urbanize, architectural designers need to realize that these qualities are ever more important to allow people stay connected to nature. Strong or routine connections with nature can provide opportunities for mental restoration and as a result, our capacity for performing focused tasks is greater than someone with fatigued cognitive resources.  The 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design trigger alertness, attention, concentration, and emotion and mood. This includes responses to nature that impact restoration and stress management.

My takeaway from the TED talk is the phrase “Bamboo will treat you well if you use it right.” Through the use of bamboo, the team has learned to treat it properly, design it carefully, and then the bamboo structure can last a lifetime. I have learned that we can inspire more people to nature and products designed with relationship to nature by building structures, designing clothes that are extraordinary to appeal to people. This demands for creativity and commitment to create beauty, comfort, safety, and luxury even out of a material that is organic, biodegradable, sustainable, and will grow back without depletion of the resource. This great works of using bamboo is a great illustration of biophilia.

It is very evident that OSU campus “Loves Life” and it is illustrated by its contributions to sustainable development. Multiple projects have been implemented to reduce the impact of waste on the environment to achieve a safer and cleaner place for us today and the future generation. The practices have influenced my daily activities and choices; I eliminate waste by reducing a number of resources I accumulate in my home and try to reuse the items before I dispose of them. If at all I cannot reuse them then I recycle the waste or incinerate the waste with control of the heat and fumes from generated, and lastly think of disposal of into the landfills if all the above options cannot be explored. OSU has made an effort to put in place recycle bins and trash cans all around campus to ensure that students have convenience in disposing of waste and this helps to keep the campus very clean. Water fountains have been placed inside the buildings to allow students to refill their water bottles as an initiative to reducing disposable water bottle waste. This is convenient, cheap, and yet provides safe filtered drinking water.

Another way to live sustainably is to always minimize the amount of energy we use in lighting, heating, and cooling rooms. This involves simple initiatives like turning the lights off when rooms are not in use and regulating the room temperatures. It was interesting to learn that 70% of OSU’s electricity comes from wind and solar. It was intriguing for me to learn that a type of tree would dictate the location where it is planted next to a building! That is something I did not know but it has opened my eyes to be more keen about the types of trees and the directions they are planted. It also involves planting or replacing trees with those that require less water to grow. I am fascinated by how far OSU has taken the sustainability campaign to every aspect on campus. It is also a sustainable practice that OSU students are encouraged to be a part of Sustainable Development. This is done by putting in place funds for students who come up with innovative ideas that can be used on campus for a greener environment.

The recycling center at OSU is a critical area for achieving sustainable goals on campus. The center started in 2013 and mainly collects and sorts the cardboards, which are then compressed to a bale and tied up. About 80,000lb of cardboard is collected every month and then sold. The biggest question that is running through my mind right now is what happened to all the cardboard and trash before 2013? Ideally, I imagine that they all ended up in a landfill and I also cannot stop to comprehend the impact they created on the environment and how much of a resource they were. Outside the facility was a decomposing site that turns wood, plants, branches, and grass into manure that is used in the flower gardens all around campus. The manure not only favors the growth of beautiful plants and flowers for beauty and to please our eyes, it also sustainably enables the soils to stay fertile for future generations to grow trees and flowers that provide diverse benefits as discussed in our botanical gardens trip. This facility is faced with some challenges such as labor intensity of the work involved accompanied by a small staff. But despite all that, they have sustainably managed to reduce the volume of waste and have kept the facility really clean and the environment all around us. This was a big takeaway for me! It takes dedication and willingness to care for the environment.

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