About Emu

Emu offers professional training, consulting services, and component/systems analysis for all aspects of the design and construction of high quality building envelopes and healthy indoor environments. We have extensive knowledge and experience in the international Passive House standard for building construction and performance.

We are experts in virtual prototyping for the construction industry, building science nerds, and Passive House enthusiasts with company origins in Australia, experience in Europe, and new roots in Colorado.

Our Name:

Why the name “Emu”? So. So. So many reasons.


Research based Passive design/build as the industry standard for mainstream construction.


To close the gap between mainstream construction practices and advanced, proven building science, and to empower our industry to build for the future and for resiliency through builder training and simple, standard, Passive systems.

Our History

Mariana Pickering and Enrico Bonilauri initially formed “Emu Architetti” (Emu Architects) back in 2009, in Enrico’s hometown of Cavriago, Italy. For seven years we practiced as an architecture studio focused mainly in sustainable residential design, with a few small commercial projects as well.

Our thirst for knowledge always kept us studying the best ways to improve the performance of the buildings we were designing. Around 2011 we became heavily invested in what we believe to be the most advanced construction standard in the world – the International Passive House standard. We decided to use this set of guidelines as our benchmark for all future work, and we pushed ourselves to delve into the science behind assembly and component design.

By 2015 our practice had shifted towards consulting services for our colleagues in the Passive House arena in Europe and around the world. We’ve presented at many conferences, written and published articles, studied products and climate data, and spent thousands of hours on construction sites.

Our future

As architects, we experienced some frustration trying to implement advanced building science. This was mirrored in the experiences of our colleagues in other phases of the project cycle: inefficiencies in process; time lost to calculating and analyzing; lack of funds to cover experimental and innovative practices; reluctance to take on extra risk and liability.

All of these hurdles led to the unfortunate reality that each cutting-edge project became a prototype, leaving the project team to start over when designing the next project. It seemed that the gap between proven performance data and mainstream construction practices was too wide to be bridged by the business-as-usual approach to construction.

So we decided to change business-as-usual.

The construction industry is now at a turning point that makes it more receptive than ever to the application of transparency and standardization. Technological advancements in analyzing construction defects now allow project teams to tackle problems from the design phase, greatly reducing risk and liability. Standardization allows a level of quality assurance that has already greatly shifted many other industries.

As pre-fab solutions, off-site construction practices, manufactured and even 3D printed buildings become the new normal and the future of our industry, we want to make sure that these improvements are building upon the best building science available, not the industry average.

We want to share knowledge, collaborate, and remove hurdles.

In 2016 we began relocating to Denver, Colorado, where we now offer training, services, and systems in advanced building science to our colleagues in mainstream construction.

We believe that building comfortable, healthy, and efficient buildings should be THE way the world builds.