This is Our Brain

How can we bring nature back to our built environments and fit it into our busy urban lives?  Behind and beyond keyboards, screens and realities of physical or virtual kinds, we are, nevertheless, hard-wired to crave love and need nature to touch our neurons and senses, imagination and humanity.  In pursuit of growing organic bonds between architecture and nature, space and mind, design and wellbeing, we formed a bio-inspired design team and seeded a project called DUO to harvest our expertise in cognitive psychology, data science, urbanism, architecture, and landscape design.

In DUO, we seek to understand breathing, living patterns using machine learning and wearable sensors that model our real-time physical and psychological experience with nature in visiting public and private spaces. Ultimately, this model will mature in its predictive power through substantial data and become a neural network-based decision support system to help architects, designers and laypeople alike make well-informed decisions to preserve our inborn affiliation for nature and promote well-being.

Team DUO

Yung-Yi Juliet Chou
She takes good care of memories. Trained as a historic preservationist and cognitive psychologist, she has been fluid enough to collect intimate traces and particles of places, events, wandering minds, squirrels, and recreate the diminishing space in light with warmth.  Learn more about Juliet here.

Valerie Lechene
She is a generalist and draws on several bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems. Trained as an architect, her interest lies in making adjustments to the material world to impact social and environmental issues. Bubbles like soda.  Learn more about Valerie here.

Lily Kwong
She builds dynamic spaces with all shades of green and restores intimate bonds between human and nature. With this mission, Lily founded STUDIO LILY KWONG, a next-generation landscape design firm committed to creating a cultural impact through the lens of the natural world. Learn more about Lily here.

Yaoli Mao
She is a jumping gene. Trained as a cognitive scientist. Interested in noise behind signal, randomness, and chance. Live on morning sunlight, rustling leaves, and creamy avocados.  Learn more about Yaoli here.

We have been collaborating with urban Edenist and Landscape Designer Lily Kwong.  Currently, we are carrying out a study at Lily’s biophilic ‘Summer in Winter’ installation at the Cadillac House Gallery from November 15, 2018, until January 15, 2019.  We are particularly interested in discovering the dynamic of stress level and emotional empathy of ‘Summer in Winter’ visitors.


Are you willing to trade your mobile phone for a mindful and insightful experience for 30 minutes of your busy life? You will learn how to pay attention non-judgmentally to the magical bonding with nature. Please join us to explore Lily Kwong’s “Summer in Winter” at the Cadillac House and bring your TRUE MEMORY home.

You should set aside about 45 minutes for this activity on the site. Risks to participants are considered minimal. We collect data from a wearable watch and a GoPro camera, basically recording how you react on your wrist skin and with your eyes when moving around in space. No personally-identifiable information about you will be collected. If you would like to participate in this study between December 11 Tuesday and December 18 Tuesday, please schedule an appointment with us.


Team DUO is a member of the Columbia University GSAPP Incubator based at the NEW INC,  New Museum, New York City.  You may drop us a line through research at