The winners of the Global Holcim Awards 2012 were recently announced which asked participants to design a project for a school in Gando, Burkina Faso, a community center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and a plan for urban renewal in Berlin, Germany. These outstanding sustainable construction projects were selected from 15 finalists by a panel of independent experts led by Enrique Norten. More images and information on the winning designs after the break.
1st Prize: Diébédo Francis Kéré, Kéré Architecture, Germany This school project in one of the world’s poorest countries aims to provide further education to the inhabitants of a rural area. Gando, with a population of 3000, has no secondary education facilities and lies on the southern plains of Burkina Faso, some 200km from the capital Ouagadougou. Diverse design aspects of the project consider the challenging weather conditions where summer temperatures peak at 40°C. The natural ventilation cooling effect is enhanced by routing air through underground tubes, planting vegetation, and the use of double-skin roofs and façades to achieve a 5°C thermal reduction. The enhanced indoor comfort and conditions are far more conducive to education.
Energy consumption during construction and operation is reduced to a minimum using only the sun and wind. The collection of scarce rainwater is integrated into the planting concept and is used to irrigate newly-planted trees that are intended to help consolidate previously exploited vegetation. Completed projects including an elementary school and library contributed to the evolving research and development process concerning design concepts, technologies and materials.
2nd Prize: Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner, Urban Think Tank, Brazil This project for a multifunctional public building, Grotão – Fábrica de Música (music factory), is located in Grotão in the heart of the Paraisópolis favela of São Paulo. With more than 100,000 inhabitants, it is one of the largest informal communities worldwide. Like many favelas, and despite its unusually central location, the area is effectively separated from the formal city and its social and cultural infrastructure. In addition, due to the informal development and the area’s topographic and geological conditions, the site is characterized by increased erosion and dangerous mudslides. The project takes up both of these key challenges, building on intense community participation.
The challenging topography is retained and stabilized to prevent further erosion, creating a natural arena in a terraced public space and including a precinct for urban agriculture. Different low-tech features are proposed. A water management system is introduced to use rainwater on site and reuse grey-water. An integrative system for the active and passive use of ventilation, cooling and air conditioning makes use of both, the building and the amphitheater construction. In its vertical structure, the building itself offers various spaces for the music school, including a small concert hall, and also sports facilities, public spaces, and transport infrastructure. In the vicinity, residential buildings augment housing reserves and frame the arena.
3rd Prize: Jan Edler, realities united, Germany, Denise Dih, DODK, Germany, Heiko Sieker, Ingenieurgesellschaft Prof. Dr. Sieker, Germany, Anna Lundquist, Christian Bohne, Man Made Land, Germany The Flussbad project is located in the center of Berlin and transforms an unused arm of the River Spree into a natural 745m “swimming pool”. The facility is the equivalent of seventeen Olympic swimming pools with an average width of 28.8m, water depth around 2.2m, and features a 780m-long reed bed filtration system. The renewal concept for the 3.9ha site is as invigorating and hypothetical as it is realistic and simple in design. Parts of the Lustgarten quay wall are converted into generous stairs providing access to the swimming pool, with functional lockers and change rooms integrated unobtrusively into the terrain.
Water entering the upper section of the river arm is purified through a 1.8ha reed bed natural reserve with sub-surface sand bed filters. A barrage at the lower end of the system prevents the backflow of unfiltered water from the main body of the river, and overflow outlets for city’s mixed sewage network are channeled beneath the system. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the precinct has experienced a 75% increase in resident population and parallel loss of vacant space. The Flussbad right in the heart of Berlin’s historic city center on an unused river arm provides a public urban recreation space for both, residents and tourists adjacent to the UNESCO World Heritage site, Museuminsel (Museum Island).