Building for Life: Designing and Understanding the Human-Nature Connection

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Island Press, Sep 26, 2012 - Architecture - 264 pages
Sustainable design has made great strides in recent years; unfortunately, it still falls short of fully integrating nature into our built environment. Through a groundbreaking new paradigm of "restorative environmental design," award-winning author Stephen R. Kellert proposes a new architectural model of sustainability. In Building For Life, Kellert examines the fundamental interconnectedness of people and nature, and how the loss of this connection results in a diminished quality of life. This thoughtful new work illustrates how architects and designers can use simple methods to address our innate needs for contact with nature. Through the use of natural lighting, ventilation, and materials, as well as more unexpected methodologies-the use of metaphor, perspective, enticement, and symbol-architects can greatly enhance our daily lives. These design techniques foster intellectual development, relaxation, and physical and emotional well-being. In the works of architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, Eero Saarinen, Cesar Pelli, Norman Foster, and Michael Hopkins, Kellert sees the success of these strategies and presents models for moving forward. Ultimately, Kellert views our fractured relationship with nature as a design problem rather than an unavoidable aspect of modern life, and he proposes many practical and creative solutions for cultivating a more rewarding experience of nature in our built environment.

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This book presents the summary of many people's work on how nature integrated into the built environment is crucial for our psychological and physiological health.


Science and Theory of Connecting Human and Natural Systems
Nature and Childhood Development
Harmonizing the Natural and Human Build Environments
Biophilic Design
Ethics of Sustainablilty
Narrative Epilogue

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Page 9 - Earth, we can create new environments that are ecologically sound, esthetically satisfying, economically rewarding, and favorable to the continued growth of civilization. But the wooing of the Earth will have a lastingly successful outcome only if we create conditions in which both humankind and the Earth retain the essence of their wildness.

About the author (2012)

Stephen R. Kellert is the Tweedy/Ordway Professor of Social Ecology at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and author of numerous books including, The Biophilia Hypothesis (coedited with E. O. Wilson, 1993), The Value of Life: Biological Diversity and Human Society (1996), Kinship to Mastery: Biophilia in Human Evolution and Development (1997), The Good in Nature and Humanity: Connecting Science, Religion, and Spirituality with the Natural World (coedited with T. Farnham, 2002), and Children and Nature: Psychological, Sociocultural, and Evolutionary Investigations (coedited with P. H. Kahn, 2002).

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