Outside In

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Abstract

Natural outdoor environments are known to reduce human stress, but most people in the developed world now spend more than 90 percent of their lives inside buildings, and the most common means of attempting to bring nature indoors—interior planting—is significantly less beneficial to human health than its outdoor equivalent. The work presented here is based on the thesis that this may in part be because indoor plants typically lack a characterizing feature of most outdoor foliage: visible movement. The paper demonstrates how the movements of sunlight, wind and rain can be used to overcome the absence of nature and perceptible change from many indoor environments while at the same time increasing the visibility of important but underused passive energy and rainwater-saving techniques in buildings. Three general design strategies for bringing the movements of the elements indoors without compromising shelter are identified, and their potential intersections with five key passive energy and rainwater-saving techniques are then examined.