Skip to main content

Biophilia in the Blue Mountains

Experience biophilia in a two-day immersive biophilic design retreat set in world heritage wilderness. Disconnect to reconnect, pause to play and learn by living biophilia in the Blue Mountains.


A deeper understanding of biophilic design elements and attributes, and how these apply in sound

Exploration of ecoacoustics – an emerging interdisciplinary science that investigates natural and anthropogenic sounds and their relationships

Development of acoustic terminology, to support better conversations in projects

Awareness of what shapes sonic environments in buildings

A look at building standards that focus on enhancing acoustic comfort to prevent stress and injury and facilitate comfort, productivity and well-being

Time in nature and opportunities to relax or get to know your fellow participants.


Surrounded by bushland, the heritage-listed township of Mount Victoria boasts plentiful opportunities to escape into nature and history.

The Summit will be hosted at Hotel Etico, also known as ‘Manor House’. The heritage building was built in 1876 by John Fairfax and is Australia’s first social enterprise hotel providing employment opportunities for people with intellectual abilities. It is centrally located within walking distance of the train station, town centre, viewpoints and bush trails.

Guests staying at Hotel Etico will enjoy having a character-filled private room on-site with access to hotel amenities for the entire Summit. Summit attendees are also welcome to organise alternate accommodation for themselves.

Lunch, dinner, and morning and afternoon tea will be provided by Niccolo’s Restaurant at Hotel Etico and are included for all Summit attendees. Breakfast will be provided in addition for guests staying at Hotel Etico.

What to expect

Attendees should plan to be at Hotel Etico at 4 PM for afternoon tea on Wednesday the 7th. Expect days to begin at 9:00 am and finish with a 7:30 pm dinner with workshops, activities and plenty of downtime in between. During the Summit, we will cover all of the outcomes above in a spacious schedule that allows ample time to connect with nature. We’ll wrap our retreat experience up by midday on Friday the 9th.

Download a copy of the timetable here.


The Summit will be hosted by the LFIA team, members of the Biophilic Design Initiative Advisory Panel and guest keynote speakers.

Free Community Talk

The Summit will kick off with a free public talk to introduce the elements and attributes of biophilic design more broadly, before a more focused discussion on this year’s OBS theme of ‘Soundscapes’.

This talk is open to all members of the public interested in biophilic design and the built environment. Know any Blue Mountains locals? Let them know to register here!


Vicki Hallett

Acoustic Ecologist

Vicki Hallett is a composer, versatile musician, sound artist and educator. She is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts and the University of Melbourne. Vicki has composed, produced and performed in live concerts, international conferences, solo recordings and videos ranging from chamber music to exploratory work with sound art. Through her unique approach of combining acoustic ecology, scientific analysis and innovative performance practices, Vicki reshapes the role of interdisciplinary research.


Ethan Bourdeau

Sound Concept Lead, WELL

Ethan Bourdeau is an acoustician, standards developer, musician, sound designer, and aspiring field recordist based in Queens, NY. He formally studied acoustical engineering and euphonium performance at the University of Hartford in Connecticut and currently serves as the Sound Concept Lead at the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) where he synthesizes the latest research in acoustics and noise to human health outcomes and design targets in the built environment. Simultaneously, Ethan operates his own acoustical consulting practice where he has designed both critical and public listening rooms, art installations, commercial offices, and residential environments internationally. He serves on both the Board of Directors to the Institute of Noise Control Engineering (INCE) and Quiet Parks International (QPI) where he is responsible for developing standards with which parks can be awarded on the basis of quiet soundscapes, management, and programming.


Ticket sales closed