Mohamed Shokry Abdelaal, Veronica Soebarto

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26687/archnet-ijar.v12i3.1655


Recent empirical studies have shown a positive correlation between nature, the built environment and creativity in the human brain. During the medieval Islamic Golden Era, higher education buildings of non-medical ‘madrasa’ and medical ‘bimaristan’ institutions applied specific techniques and strategies so that human intellectual curiosity could flourish through direct and indirect contact with nature. In contrast, the architecture of modern universities has lessened students’ multisensory focus and engagement with nature. Several studies have addressed these institutions’ failure to foster the innovation-generation process. This systematic review summarises and synthesises previous studies, elaborating the characteristics of those spaces that can host Innovation-Generation Processes (IGPs) based on psychological and neurological investigation. The study analyses research outcomes that support the stimulative impact of nature on people’s cognitive capacities. This demonstrates that the biophilic design approach utilises natural conditions and elements within the built environment to enhance the physical, social, intellectual and psychological status of innovators. The findings of this study demonstrate a strong interrelationship between IGPs and the built environment in traditional higher education institutions based on the premise of biophilic design. Hence, we can adopt some lessons from these ‘timeless’ buildings to support the evolution of innovative university campuses today.


university campus; Biophilia; innovation; bimaristan; metaphor; refuge; prospect

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