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Workshop: Designing for Human Health and Wellbeing

Join AIA|DC and Helena van Vliet, AIA, for this workshop that draws on science and human biology to explore the design of neurologically restorative spaces and places. During the first half of the workshop, van Vliet will provide the building blocks of a biophilic design methodology grounded in evolutionary biology, cognitive neuroscience, and the direct embodied experience of inhabiting place.

During the second half of the workshop participants will be invited to engage in a guided ‘biophilic intervention’ exercise, followed by discussion.


Presented by: Helena van Vliet, AIA
Helena is the principal at Helena van Vliet, LLC. She is a biophilic consultant and a regular contributor at the biophilic design hub Human Spaces. She is a steering committee member for the Biophilic Cities Network and the founder of bioPhilly, which promotes wild habitat biodiversity in urban Philadelphia. Helena teaches biophilic design at Pratt Institute in NY. She is a Senior Thesis Advisor in the M.S. in Sustainable Design Program at Philadelphia University, and a member of the NIH ‘Health in Buildings Roundtable.’ Helena regularly lectures on biophilic design, biophilic urbanism, and the direct connection between architecture and health.


Organized by:         


After attending this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the origins, evolutionary and scientific underpinnings of biophilic design;
  • Describe the physiologically restorative health benefits of biophilic design;
  • Summarize the building blocks, patterns and elements of a biophilic design methodology; and
  • Diagnose the ‘ailments’ of existing places, much as a physician would consider a patient and set about to heal them with biophilic ‘tools’.