With Biophilic Design, Modularity by Rendine brings nature into the modular classroom
Nature is a powerful force that can have an irresistibly positive influence on our lives, replacing negative emotions with feelings of calm and focus that can help to surmount daily challenges.
And while this is especially true for school students, our innate attraction to nature and its therapeutic benefits may be just as relevant to high-performance workplaces, in public spaces and buildings, or even sporting facilities.
This is the guiding principle behind the development of Modularity by Rendine's newest value-add product, Biophilic Design for Modular School Classrooms, based on research conducted exclusively for Rendine by Deakin University.
The comprehensive study was conducted by Dr Philip Roös, of Deakin's School of Architecture and the Built Environment, in response to a Victorian government directive to create modern learning centres incorporating contemporary pedagogical principles.
“The days of classrooms that comprise four walls and a set of desks and chairs is well and truly over,” says Modularity by Rendine's Design Manager, and former schoolteacher, Amy Van Berkel. “We approached Deakin University to help us to better understand how to create vibrant and engaging spaces that foster a sense of security and belonging for both students and staff.”
Dr Roös' report, Design for Enhanced Learning in Modular Classrooms Through Biophilic Design (2019), examines the effect of introducing natural elements into built spaces, and forms the basis for a design methodology that could transform school classrooms of the future.
Dr Roös said pre-existing research had shown that particular elements of nature can create “a sense of wellbeing, sense of pleasure and subconscious engagement”. These include water, trees, flowers and colours, and rich vegetation. Spatial arrangements and settings - such as abundant natural light or a view to the horizon - could create “a sense of enticement that provokes exploration and adventure”.
His report concludes: “The consideration of Biophilic Enhanced Design Classroom Principles can potentially result in enhanced learning and wellbeing of students. It is strongly recommended that these design principles be adopted in the development of comprehensive enhanced classroom guidelines, to inform future design and construction of modular classrooms.”
The combination of the principles outlined in the report with our own high-tech modular building solution, Modularity by Rendine, presents schools with a smart solution to the eternal problem of maximising classroom engagement.
“Modularity and Biophilic Design are two advanced ideas that complement one another,” Amy said. “Our highly customisable design framework can be endlessly adapted to add familiar shapes, beautiful natural materials, and visual or tactile devices that foster connections to nature.”
Dr Roös' research is founded on a hypothesis by North American biologist and theorist Edward O. Wilson that humans seek “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life” via connections with nature.
“The primary benefit is to provide healthy, sensory-enhanced classroom spaces that promote improved positive learning, as well as supporting the wellbeing of students and staff,” Dr Roös and his team of researchers wrote of their objective.
Some practical ways to introduce nature into a built environment include:
• Maximising use of natural light
• Incorporating flexible layouts
• Providing a place for refuge
• Maximising views of surrounding spaces or activities
• Creating variable airflows
• Incorporating biomorphic forms and images
• Indoor and outdoor spaces complementing each other
• Selective deployment of plants
• Creative use of water
• Manipulating sound and smells
• Providing layers of different textures
• Using art to enhance natural elements
• Using sensory patterns to challenge the intellect
Amy added: “We work closely with schools to understand their needs. Biophilic design is a powerful new addition to our toolbox that we are proud to offer to all our clients.”
To discuss your modular construction needs, please contact the General Manager of Modularity by Rendine, Craig Whitford, on 03 5248 2542 or firstname.lastname@example.org