Toward A Place

Natural resources and laws have an impact on the language of our physical setting and a direct relationship with human well-being. Early human age 3-10 is very significant to develop the sensory pattern and being close to nature plays a vital role in this sensitive phase of human development, as memory and imagination shape through the variables of nature. This thesis proposes the patterns of Biophilia as design principles for the early childhood learning spaces. For biophilic design, the place-based relation is equally important as children learn from nature and through the community. The integration of natural systems with built world systems can add playful moments in learning layouts.

The learning spaces have been changed over time according to the change of learning patterns, from tree places to open-air pavilion to multi-story school buildings. In this transition, somehow the connection with nature and surrounding has been lost. The modes of learning are getting virtual every day toward delocalization despite our localized existence. According to Stephen Kellert, humans are biologically programmed to feel self-sufficient in close contact with nature and thus they incorporate nature's imagery to build their surroundings. A strong presence of natural dynamics influences the learning system and school as a hyperlocal institution plays a larger role in the community's cultural fabric. Revealing tangible materials explicitly in the geographic organization of urban life, both in physical and visual settings supports childhood activity for cognitive development. Biophilic principles register the inclusion of nature in the design of the learning environment to create these values by providing an atmosphere of care, comfort, security and safety. The shared spatial freedom in natural settings is envisioned to create a hyperlocal domain with an active engagement in a larger network to support vibrant learning through community stewardship.
Faculty Advisor:
Malcolm McCullough