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25 February 2014

Canadian Geographic Talks to HOK’s Gordon Stratford About Biomimicry

Gordon StratfordCutting-edge designers and engineers are putting nature into practice with sustainable architecture principles like biophilia and biomimicry.

Gordon Stratford, director of design for HOK’s Canadian practice, says biomimicry is about coming to the realization that humans aren’t necessarily the first beings to have done something in a particular environment. ‘Chances are a non-human has done something in an area that could teach humans how to build in that site. It’s basically how we can look at and mimic nature.’”

“The William Jefferson Clinton Children’s Center in Haiti was designed with the principle of mimicking the local trees that used to provide cover to the countryside before much of the nation suffered from deforestation. Lattice-like walls provide cool shade while letting in natural light. Other passive building strategies focus on reusing water and energy to ensure the building can exist on a net-zero design that doesn’t take away from the limited energy or power resources the country has.”

“‘As smart as humans think they are, there’s a lot more to learn,’ Stratford says. ‘We’re going to have to be more agile and wily when coming up with our design because the kind of resources that are available now won’t always be available.’”

Canadian Geographic