The biophilia hypothesis (also called BET) suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life
. Edward O. Wilson introduced and popularized the hypothesis in his book, Biophilia (1984). He defines biophilia as "the urge to affiliate with other forms of life
In architecture, biophilic design is a sustainable design strategy that incorporates reconnecting people with the natural environment. It may be seen as a necessary complement to green architecture, which decreases the environmental impact of the built world but does not address human reconnection with the natural world. Caperna and Serafini
define biophilic design as that kind of architecture, which is able to supply our inborn need of connection to life and to the vital processes. According to Caperna and Serafini, Biophilic architecture is characterized by the following elements:
- the naturalistic dimension;
- the Wholeness of the site, that is, "the basic structure of the place";
- the "geometric coherency", that is, the physical space must have such a geometrical configuration able to exalt the connections human dimension and built and natural environments.
Similarly, biophilic space has been defined as the environment that strengthens life and supports the sociological and psychological components, or, in other words, it is able to:
- unburden our cognitive system, supporting it in collecting and recognizing more information in the quickest and most efficient way;
- foster the optimum of our sensorial system in terms of neuro-motorial influence, avoiding both the depressive and the exciting effects;
- induce a strengthening in emotive and biological terms at a neural level;
- support, according to the many clinical evidences, the neuro-endocryne and immunological system, especially for those people who are in bad physical condition.
Having a window looking out to plants is also claimed to help speed up the healing process of patients in hospitals. Similarly, having plants in the same room as patients in hospitals also speeds up their healing process.