Blue as an expansive approach
Many early adopters of the term Blue Design or the phrase “green to blue” focus on the power of design to give something back to the community by having a net positive effect on air quality and energy (in the meantime, we have been hard pressed to even design net-zero, or energy neutral buildings). This narrow definition of blue loses sight of a much larger goal that we should be striving for in our built environment, the ability to be restorative, even therapeutic. While contaminants in that environment can contribute to a lack of focus and well being, cultural impacts are far greater. We inhabit a world of sensory overload. We lead isolated and independent lives in the processed, overproduced stage set of life. Depleting days feature streaming information in the form of constant interruptions and demands on our attention. The resulting level of stress that we experience impacts our ability to focus our attention, creating a state of persistent mental fatigue that impairs our quality of life. The antidote: a restorative environment.
Building for the senses
It’s unlikely that life in the information age is going to change anytime soon, or that its cultural impacts are necessarily negative. They just feel that way because there is such disconnect between our lifestyles and the spaces in which we live. The industrial age city and post-industrial sprawl has created both interior and exterior spaces that exacerbate our state of depletion. Our built world needs an overhaul.
- Prospect- the vista
- Refuge- the safe place
- Water-actual water or design elements that provide glimmer, movement or symbolic images representing water
- Biodiversity- a rich palette of natural materials supplied through both interactive spaces (gardens, planters) and views.
- Sensory Variability- response to the changing times of day and seasons
- Biomimicry-natural materials, natural forms and structures
- Sense of playfulness-things that delight, surprise and amuse
- Enticement-complexity that encourages exploration