Inspired by nature

Inspired by nature

Biophilic Architecture Engineers explored with Tunde Agoro

Tunde Agoro is a senior associate in the Sustainability Group at engineering consultancy Hoare Lea. He leads on the development and delivery of sustainability and wellbeing strategies, as well as being a member of the UKGBC Circular Economy Working Group, the WELL Building Standard UK group, and BREEAM industry liaison panel. 

Tunde started his career in architectural design, working across the residential, commercial, retail and educational sectors.  He developed an interest in sustainability while studying for a Masters in Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Development at Imperial College London in 2007.  Since then, Tunde has pursued a career in sustainable development, becoming a lead consultant in the South West and Wales for a large sustainability firm, before joining Hoare Lea in 2014.

Tunde is an advocate of biophilic design/architecture, which stems from the phenomenon known as ‘biophilia’; that is, our innate love for nature.  Several studies – including a number of World Green Building Council (WGBC) reports (2013, 2014, 2016) and the 2012 “Economics of Biophilia” Terrapin report – show that biophilia could lead to benefits such as improved recovery rates in hospitals, increased productivity levels in workplaces, increased sales and footfall in retail developments, and increased rates of learning in education institutions.  Tunde said: “Biophilic design is an approach to architecture and building design which embraces nature by optimising human connections with the natural environment.  It goes beyond symbolising nature and extends to actually mimicking natural processes in the design, delivery and operation of buildings.” He stated that, “for instance, there are so many design decisions that could transform UK healthcare buildings: from a focus on daylight and air quality, to providing links/access to nature (i.e. biophilic design) and promoting healthy nutritional choices. All of these and many other measures could make a real positive impact on patients and staff alike.”

The award-winning Genesis Building in Plymouth by FORM Design, is a stand-out example of biophilic design.  The state-of-the-art office building, which opened in 2015, comprises flexible workspaces, meeting rooms, a full-height internal atrium and Plymouth’s first living walls (vertical gardens comprising 18,600 plants on four walls) – as well as the use of green colour palettes in selected interior finishes. Taking this approach to building design has resulted in fostering stronger connections with elements of nature and a high level of occupant satisfaction. Ultimately, optimised levels of occupant wellbeing and increase in productivity can be anticipated.  Tunde said: “Hoare Lea is a forward looking firm. We’re engineers of human experiences, aiming to shape a positive experience in buildings for people by integrating appropriate technology and championing user-centred design solutions.”

During his career, Tunde has seen the emergence of big data and technological innovations such as 3-D printing and virtual reality (VR) change the way buildings are designed, constructed and operated, enabling greater strides being made towards buildings that positively impact their inhabitants.  The recently completed Deloitte UK headquarters building located at One New Street Square is an exemplar in terms of a super-connected building, an environmentally sustainable and human-centred workplace – where the optimisation of the health and wellbeing of its occupants is truly paramount.

Tunde is an ambassador for STEM in the South West, representing Hoare Lea within the Government’s initiative as a STEM ambassador and through work with the Universities of Bath, Bristol and Cardiff, as well as with local schools.  He said: “A number of students have approached me to tell me they want to do what I do.  Two of the students I met even went on to join the Hoare Lea team. I hope that, by talking about our work, more young people are inspired into the increasingly high-tech fields of engineering and architecture.”

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