Design competitions are an ideal vessel to raise awareness and introduce a broad audience to issues affecting the built environment. Winning an award can have a significant impact on gaining public support or securing sponsorship for the respective project. The Holcim Awards is such a design competition: it promotes and rewards innovative approaches to sustainable construction. One of the award-winning projects is the “The Living with Lakes Center” (above) in northeastern Ontario, Canada. The project will also house a research center to aid the restoration of the city of Sudbury’s ecosystem with an emphasis on water security for future generations. The research center will be self-sufficient for electricity and heating needs and be built to LEED platinum standards with instrumentation fitted to monitor the effectiveness of an array of technical features and their impact on lake water quality.
The project is led by Laurentian University scientist John Gunn who remarks that winning a Holcim Award for North America secured vital funds for the project as well as assisted the project team in attracting financial support from Industry Canada and other sponsors for the USD 5 million project. The Global Holcim Awards Gold 2009 winner, “River remediation and urban development scheme” is situated in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Fez, Morocco. The project is a multi-sited, multi-functional project that is centered upon the recovery of a river. Work on restoring it triggers a range of interventions in the Medina. Core components are the rehabilitation of the old city’s architecture, revitalizing public spaces and traditional tanneries, and creating new pedestrian zones.