August 8, 2023

Timber in Biophilic Design

Written by Michelle Martin

Vertical timber louvres for demarcating internal spaces

What is Biophilia?

Biophilia has been used in interior architectural design for many years, bringing nature into the home boosting a sense of wellbeing and comfort.   

As a soft and natural material, timber possesses the qualities that humans associate with trees, shelter and warmth, all of which equate to why timber remains a popular building material spanning millennia. 

Timber in construction is a sustainable material to build with. It’s lightweight, strong, and possesses insulating properties making it an extremely thermally efficient natural resource. Timber’s ability to sequester carbon versus concrete (which omits more than 25% more carbon emissions), makes it a more earthy-friendly and sustainable.  

Since architecture is as much about 'place' as 'people', timber cladding is a beautiful material for building facades that must reflect its landscape, such as barns conversions, new builds in Areas of Natural Outstanding Beauty (AONB), and coastal projects where a white cladding veneer would not do the natural landscape justice.


Timber in Biophilic Design for Wellbeing

Humans’ love of nature is ‘hard-wired’ into our anatomy, and studies demonstrate that both psychological and physiological states of being, positively improve in people when being in a room with natural timber. Timber in biophilic design internally and externally creates an overall cohesive design.  For example, our sliding timber shutters can match any internal timber so that it is both aesthetically pleasing as well as functional with the ability to control airflow and solar gain within the interior maintaining a comfortable ambiance. 

The positive impact of biophilic design as referenced in Professor Emeritus, Derek Clements-Croome's framework ‘Flourish Model’ illustrates the perceptual senses considered when designing a building for wellness. which always include nature”.  

The texture and grain of timber evokes all the senses which innately connect Homo sapiens with touch, scent, and security. 

In today’s busy modern world, most people spend most of their working weeks distanced from nature and so when making a home into a sanctuary, people seek to invite nature into the home to redeem those sensibilities.  

So, opposed to covering or painting over the natural burs of timber, more frequently, we are seeing designers deliberately exposing knots and enhancing natural patterns of timber as part of the natural beauty of the biophilic design. 

Timber, by virtue of nature, radiates warmth and possesses an acoustic quality helping to dampen loud sounds. The inclusion of timber in biophilic design continues to trend ergonomically, and for both economical and ecological reasons. 


Contact the team and start your biophilic design journey with Avino today!