Short courses


Nature and Healthcare Design

  • 7 hours
  • 1 day (9am to 5pm)


On this interactive one-day course you’ll be introduced to design methods that draw inspiration from nature, such as biophilia, biomimicry and biourbanism

Even though nature and health are interlinked, in design practice they often end up in different silos. This short course aims to connect them by bringing together academics and practitioners.

You'll learn how biophilic design can influence buildings for health and healthcare delivery, and about the challenges and opportunities for healthcare facility designers.

Biomimicry has been hailed as a powerful creative and intellectual tool which catalyses innovation by using ‘natural’ intelligence. From engineers to architects, from inventors to urbanists, designers and thinkers from all fields have been inspired by the biological world since time immemorial.

How do we allow our inspiration to be channelled, given that the starting point of the biologist and artist is often remarkably similar and yet their results are so disparate? 

How do we identify the relevant aspects of living systems with respect to healthcare facilities? 

The answer lies in the development of method, and you're asked to marry intuition with intellectual rigour to get an overview of the potential of biophilic design and end-user experience.

The course is run by The Bartlett Real Estate Institute at UCL.

Course content and structure

The day will run from 9am to 5pm.

Following an introduction by Dr Evangelia Chrysikou, the day will involve a:

  • presentation by Steven Ware on how biomimicry has been employed by designers, and how we might come to a useful definition of biomimicry in light of today’s challenges and practices
  • visit to the bio-integrated design lab at UCL Here East
  • workshop on biomimicry, where you'll work in small groups to explore a biophilic subject of your choice
  • presentation by Dr Eleni Tracada on biourbanism and patterns of human-centred design for healthy environments in resilient future cities

There'll also be opportunities for networking throughout the day.

Who this course is for

This course is for professionals and students with an interest in environment and health.

It's suitable for:

  • architects
  • designers
  • engineers
  • facility managers
  • healthcare planners
  • healthcare professionals
  • healthcare managers 

It may also be of interest to people working in the care home sector and for capital planning, facilities and estates of the NHS.

Learning outcomes

This course will help you understand:

  • design methods that draw inspiration from nature, e.g. biophilia, biomimicry, biourbanism
  • how biophilic design can influence buildings for health and healthcare delivery
  • the potential of design and architecture and the challenges and opportunities for healthcare facility designers
  • the potential of biophilic design and end-user experience 
  • European healthcare buildings and especially the Benelux context 
  • how to work across sectors and collaborate with different disciplines


You'll receive a certificate of attendance after completing the course.

Costs and concessions 

The standard course fee is £300. 

A discounted rate of £150 is available for:

  • all students
  • UCL staff and partners (including NHS)

Course team

Dr Evangelia Chrysikou - Course leader

Dr Evangelia Chrysikou - Course leader

Evangelia is a Lecturer at the Bartlett Real Estate Institute UCL, Program Director of MSc Healthcare Facilities, and a medical architect. She's a former Marie Curie H2020 Fellow and is actively involved in policy making (Coordinator on D4 Action Group of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing of the European Commission). Her work on therapeutic environments has received prestigious international awards. Currently, she’s the principal investigator (PI) of a UCL Cities partnerships programme, the PI at a Butterfield award of the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, and a co-investigator at a Marsden Fund from the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Steven Ware

Steven Ware

Steven is an architect and trained biologist. He’s dedicated his design work to the application of bio-adaptive principles to buildings and objects. He’s designed and managed a series of projects which push the boundaries of environmental practice. His breakthrough timber projects include the headquarters of Paris’ architectural services, the city’s first, large scale wooden framed office building. He has other benchmark timber buildings in progress in Nantes, Paris, Brussels, Luxembourg. Steven heads up Art&Build’s think tank AB_Lab whose teams work with scientists, industrialists and research groups to integrate biomimetic concepts into mainstream construction practices, particularly in the health sector.

Coen van den Wijngaart

Coen van den Wijngaart

Coen is an architect. As Art & Build’s business development manager he explores new partnerships and models which bring added value to projects through social integration, ecological responsibility and innovative spatial strategies. He explores collaborations with complementary partners from industry to academics and from engineers to fellow designers. A specialist in healthcare planning and passionate about high quality architecture, he’s been involved in hospital developments in The Netherlands, Belgium and France. At present, he’s involved in the PPP development of SANAPOLIS, a health(care) campus with focus on prevention and integrated care which will become a new benchmark for the Benelux nations.

Dr Eleni Tracada

Dr Eleni Tracada

Eleni is Senior Lecturer in the Built Environment (Architecture) at the University of Derby. She graduated in architecture from the Faculty of Architecture of Florence. She has an MA in Interior Design and a PhD by published works from the University of Derby. She’s a member of the Scientific Committee of the International Society of Biourbanism and was Editor in Chief of the Journal of Biourbanism from 2011 to 2014. Her main research interests include architecture, human behaviours in urban spaces, architectural psychology and placemaking, ageing and vulnerable communities’ needs in accommodation and urban design, gender issues, social justice and regeneration of neighbourhoods. She’s currently involved in the Nature Connectedness Research Group at the University of Derby.

Course information last modified: 30 Nov 2022, 16:01