A real estate manager, Mr Topsy Essien, has advocated for Nigerians to move towards natural habitat by building homes decorated with biophilic designs “in order to live long”.
In a chat with Blueprint in Abuja Friday, Essien, who is the Managing Director/CEO of Big Homes, Abuja, said that biophilia has the effect of restoring health and bringing people closer to nature, hence the need to incorporate the designs in homes.
He said: “You can’t talk about human beings without nature. For humans to be comfortable in homes, we need natural things to survive. As you know, plants take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen for humans to survive. Nowadays, our homes are so automated that nothing seems natural again. Our floors are made with tiles, our walls with blocks, everywhere is airtight with AC and all that. No flowers, stones, wood and other natural objects or things that remind us of nature.
“When I am tensed, I go close to flowers. For instance, outside our offices, we have green grasses, so I simply take off my shoes and walk around. It gives me that feeling of being closer to nature. In fact, our slogan at Big Homes is ‘green and healthy living’. We use biophilic designs for our architectural designs, but make them affordable to clients.
“The effect of water cannot be overemphasized. It gives you healing, natural taste and feeling of being alive. It helps you in respiration and prolongs your life. Some clients hate and are allergic to tiles, so we use woods, which is natural. Tiles absorb moisture from the atmosphere, while woods keep moisture level of the house at equilibrium. So, we bring nature into the home of clients with biophilic designs.
“It is especially because of the health benefits that we advise Nigerians to go biophilic in their homes. There is serious housing deficit in Nigeria, so we do our best in making homes affordable for Nigerians. Our greatest challenge is the availability of lands. There are lands lying unoccupied everywhere in Abuja, but owned by government. So, why can’t government allow people to take over these lands and erect structures on, instead of being homeless?”
He added: “We are working extra hard to bridge the housing deficit in Nigeria. We are hoping that in the next five years, we will deliver at least a thousand affordable homes. Big Homes alone cannot do the job, so we do our best while other real estate agencies do their own. We pass information to other real estate companies. For instance, this biophilic designs have been passed on to other companies to incorporate in their designs.
“It is going to prolong our lives and calm the nerves of people. I know people that have been healed by just looking at beautiful, natural things. I know of somebody that the moment she hears the sound of water, like small water fall, her stress is gone. There is no need going to Gurara waterfall, you can have a mini waterfall in your home. The sound alone can keep your temperament in a good condition.”