Biophilic Approach to Design for Children




biophilic design, design for children, nature



In recent years, design approaches that offer sustainable solutions have been preferred widely. Although these sustainable design approaches provide solutions for physical context, they are not able to solve the problems on psychological side of this situation. These psychological problems have been observed both on adults and children. This research aims to examine the benefits of enabling children who spend their time in built environments to experience nature through Biophilic Design.


140 children between the ages of 3 and 5 from two different pre-school institutions participated in the study. Participation criteria were to be volunteer, a pre-school student, and accessible. The pictures drawn by the children in reply to the question ‘What is nature like?’ were analysed by using content analysis and cognitive mapping method. The data obtained from the study were analysed and the results were presented as median, mean values ​​± standard deviations (SD), numbers, and percentages. The compliance of the total score to normal distribution according to age and gender independent variables was examined by the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. Non-parametric tests were used in the analysis, p<0.050 was considered statistically significant. In addition, semi-structured interviews were conducted with the teachers of the participants.


According to the age groups, the scores of the older age group were found to be significantly higher than the younger age group (p=0.000). When the relationship between total score and gender was examined, no statistically significant difference was found (p=0.074).

Research Limitations/Implications

In the study, even though the necessary permissions were obtained to carry out planned studies with preschool students, due to the prejudices of teachers and administrators, the work that was wanted to be carried out with children was made difficult in some cases.


Study originality; in the context of Biophilic Design, is owed to the age range of the chosen focus group, and with the help of this study, the emphasis on what biophilic design can add to the lives of children.


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Author Biographies

Nihan Ünal, Mimar Sinan Güzel Sanatlar Üniversitesi

Nihan Ünal is a PhD graduate in the Department of Interior Architecture at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. She got his bachelor’s degree in Interior Architecture and Environmental Design from Bilkent University in 2011 and her MSc degree in Interior Architecture from Çankaya University in 2014.

Esin Sarıman Özen, Mimar Sinan Güzel Sanatlar Üniversitesi

Esin Sarıman Özen has been working at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Interior Architecture since 2008. During this time, she organized and managed various workshops as well as national and international projects. Sarıman Özen conducts research on Adaptive Reuse, Industrial Heritage, Sustainability, Micro Space and Highrise Buildings.


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How to Cite

Ünal, N., & Sarıman Özen, E. . (2021). Biophilic Approach to Design for Children. ICONARP International Journal of Architecture and Planning, 9(2), 943–965.