THE EFFECTS OF BIOPHILIC DESIGN ON WAYFINDING IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
Izmir University of Economics (TURKEY)
About this paper:
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:The design of learning environments has often been named the third teacher, in that the space communicates with students the messages and values that the school itself identifies with. Considering the significance of the learning environment in students’ education, this study focuses on the role of biophilic design in wayfinding in elementary school interiors. Utilizing a combination of Kevin Lynch’s five descriptive elements that contribute to the legibility or imageability of a city and the biophilic design patterns, wayfinding features were matched with biophilic alternatives. The biophilic elements were natural elements or elements that connect human beings to nature and the elements for legibility were classified as Paths, Edges, Districts, Nodes, Landmarks in Lynch’s model. In terms of method, cognitive maps were used as an instrument to collect information about wayfinding within the learning environment from children in their 4th and 5th year of elementary school. These children were familiar with the spaces and could easily describe and navigate through the learning environment from their memory. The study was applied at SEV School in Izmir, Turkey. The interviews with the children were made online due to the pandemic. The cognitive maps were drawn by the children during the interview. Findings show that the children were comfortable in expressing their opinions through online media and could use the cognitive mapping technique effectively. Moreover, the children chose biophilic elements, such as green walls and small trees quite frequently as an aid for wayfinding within the school and represented them on their maps. Overall, biophilic design was found to be important for wayfinding in elementary schools. This study may be helpful for the design of more natural learning environments for children of the future connecting them to nature in their developmental stages. This information may be useful for school management and school designers in creating healthier and biophilic environments in which children flourish.
Keywords: Biophilic design, elementary schools, children, wayfinding, cognitive map.