The term holistic comes from the Greek word olos which means “the whole”. This word indicates a philosophy according to which a system should not be considered as a simple sum of its parts, but should be considered as an interconnected whole.
From this point of view, architecture is considered as a set of parts in constant relation with each other and with the person who lives there.
A house must therefore be analyzed in relation to all the links that exist between its parts, between them and man and in relation to the surrounding environment, materials, installations, etc.
HISTORY OF HOLISTIC ARCHITECTURE
Holistic architecture was born in the East, developing in the 13th century from certain Indian theological philosophies and partly from Chinese Taoism.
The discipline of Feng Shui, also based on a holistic conception, is among other things derived from the latter theology. However, holistic architecture came to the West much later, only in the 20th century.
BASIC PRINCIPLES OF HOLISTIC ARCHITECTURE
The first step in building your home according to the principles of holistic architecture is to carefully choose the area in which it will be located.
In particular, the following aspects should be evaluated:
Exposure to the sun
Geomorphology of the site
Presence of other artifacts in the area.
The objective is essentially twofold: not to have an excessive impact on the territory and to avoid being surrounded by “pollutants”.
Orientation is a very important aspect, to be evaluated both during the construction of the building and during the choice of furniture.
During the construction phase, the choice of orientation aims to increase the natural radiation in order to make the most of its thermal energy. For this reason, the rooms that are most used should be oriented towards the south.
The relationship with the territory makes the choice of all-natural materials such as wood, straw, clay, cork, hemp and natural pigments fundamental.
The use of these materials protects against indoor pollution and respects the environmental balance, because they are :
Produced from a low energy consumption production line.
Free of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and solvents.
HOLISTIC ARCHITECTURE AND INSTALLATIONS
The presence of electromagnetic fields, whose effects are still being debated today, is absolutely opposed by holistic architects.
The followers of this philosophy oppose the presence of natural phenomena, studied through disciplines such as geobiology and geobiophysics, and artificial phenomena created by the presence of installations in the house.
Devices such as Wi-Fi, smartphones, smart TVs, home appliances, home automation systems and security systems, which are very frequently used today, should, according to the global approach, be kept as far away from the home as possible or, at least, their use should be limited as much as possible.
This can now be achieved more easily in newly built houses.
Those that obtain the “Passive House” certification are indeed built in such a way as to avoid the installation of heating and cooling systems.
Forgoing Wi-Fi, smartphones, smart TVs and other such devices remains a personal choice. It is more difficult to pursue this goal in existing and older buildings.
FURNITURE AND HOLISTIC ARCHITECTURE
When it comes to furniture, it is difficult to give general guidance, as there are different philosophies in the holistic field that often assert different principles from one another.
These philosophies are linked to beliefs, symbolisms and cosmic forces linked to religious traditions that, frankly, are not always based on rational principles.
Let’s just say that, even for furniture and home accessories, it is essential to give a large place to natural materials. Curtains, pillows, bed and bath linens and decorations should be made of natural fibers, cotton, linen or wool.