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Architect Magazine: ECOBUILDING Pulse: Think Like a Lizard

“I love the idea of biomimicry,” says architect Allison Ewing of design inspired by nature. It’s the next step, she says, in designing and delivering sustainable buildings, a progression that started for her working with green pioneers Renzo Piano and William McDonough and continues today in an architectural practice with her husband, Chris Hays, in Charlottesville, Va. “It’s very much an emerging technology.”

To maintain a sharp eye on its evolution, Ewing routinely checks in with cutting-edge sustainable materials sources such as Material ConneXion, and she recently used Cambia, a wood-based decking product that is thermally modified to more effectively resist natural forces. “It’s a kind of fossilization process that changes the cellular structure of the wood,” she says, a process that mimics (if occurs far faster than) petrified wood in nature.

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