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Biophilia for Engineers

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The CIBSE NSW June seminar was held in Caroma's amazing flagship facilities on Collins Street in Alexandria. This was a fascinating collaboration between CIBSE and LFIA (Living Future Institute of Australia). Biophilia evokes a sense of affinity with the environment that we are in and because of the services engineers’ control we need to understand the effect that we have on how people connect with their spaces.


Presenters Stephen Choi (Executive Director of LFIA), Suzie Barnett (General Manager, Junglefy) and Sacha Coles (Director – Design & Strategy, ASPECT Studios) took the audience on a vivid journey from the principles of biophilia through to specific applications in the built environment with examples of successes and failures.


Some memorable statements from the evening all surrounded the theme of people being central to good design:


Stephen: Biophilia simply relates to the love of life. The creation of connection to patterns, to lighting, our cultural connection to space and our comfort in our spaces.


Suzie: We are now entering the era of the human and how we engage with space.


Sacha:  We need to take the environments we are in and see how we can make it better for people.


The post-presentation Q&A teased out a number of items, including:


The traditional challenges of upfront projects costs vs post-construction benefits - particularly where the benefits are not directly financial.


Services engineering challenges - materials combustibility, hydraulic servicing (and closing the hydrological cycle)


Maintenance challenges - how do you landscape while suspended from the side of an office tower?


The audience left with a clearer understanding of building services vs biophilia, and was inspired both by the speaker content and discussion as well as the event space.

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