12 Projects Win Regional Holcim Awards 2014 for Africa Middle East

GOLD: Eco-Techno Park: Green building showcase and enterprise hub. Image Courtesy of Holcim Foundation

Teams from Turkey and Lebanon have received top honors in the 2014 regional Holcim Awards for Africa Middle East, an award which recognizes the most innovative and advanced sustainable construction designs. Among the top three winners is an “Eco-Park” sustainable research and technology center embedded within the terraced, industrial landscape of Ankara.

The 12 recognized projects will share over $300,000 in prize money, with the top three projects overall going on to be considered for the global Holcim Awards, to be selected in 2015.

The full list of winners, after the break…

12 Projects Win Regional Holcim Awards 2014 for Latin America

GOLD: Articulated Site: Water reservoirs as public park (Medellin, Colombia) . Image Courtesy of the

Teams from Mexico and Colombia have received top honors in the 2014 regional Holcim Awards for Latin America, an award which recognizes the most innovative and advanced sustainable construction designs. Among the top three winner is a Colombian water reservoir turned public park and low-impact timber rainforest center in Costa Rica.

The 12 recognized projects share over $300,000 in prize money, with the top three projects overall going on to be considered for the global awards, to be selected in 2015.

The full list of Latin American winners, after the break…

European Winners of 2014 Holcim Awards Announced

Anthropic Park: Freshwater ecological reserve and remediation – Saline Joniche, Italy. Image Courtesy of Grupo Aranea

The Holcim Foundation has announced the European winners of its 2014 Holcim Awards for exemplary sustainable design and construction. In light of the complex and interdisciplinary challenges facing the building industry today, the Jury identified target issues of environmental, social, and economical performance alongside architectural excellence and high transferability as intrinsic objectives in the winning projects.

Teams from Italy, France, and Austria were all selected for approaching the challenges of sustainable construction with innovative creativity and social ethos. Each will share over $300,000 in prize money and will be considered for the global .

Read more about the winning schemes after the break…

The Living and BIG Among Winners of the Holcim Awards 2014 for North America

© Courtesy of the Holcim Foundation

The Holcim Foundation has announced the Winners of the Holcim Awards 2014 for North America, the award which recognizes the most innovative and advanced sustainable construction designs. Among the winners are BIG and The Living, with designs which the jury stated showed “sophisticated and multi-disciplinary responses to the challenges facing the building and construction industry.”

The ten recognized projects share over $300,000 in prize money, with the top three projects overall going on to be considered for the global Holcim Awards , to be selected in 2015.

Read on after the break for the full list of winners

Holcim Foundation Announces Jury for 2015 Global Award

Courtesy of

The Holcim Foundation has announced the global jury for the 2015 Holcim Awards, its triennial prize which encourages architects, planners, engineers, project owners and students to share their projects and visions that “go beyond conventional notions of sustainable construction.”

The 2015 prize is the Holcim Foundation’s fourth cycle, and this year will feature a total prize fund of $2 million – a significant increase on their 2012 prize fund of $300,000. To oversee the , they have recruited independent experts of international stature, including the Deans of the Harvard Graduate School of Design and ETH Zurich, and Alejandro Aravena of Chilean practice Elemental.

Read on after the break for the full list of jurors and more on the prize

Why Sustainability Has Nothing to Do with Architecture and Everything to Do with Integrity: A Lecture by Alejandro Aravena

At a lecture he delivered in April this year the 4th Holcim Forum 2013 in Mumbai, Pritzker Jury member and Chilean architect approached sustainability from an unconventional angle. The key to achieving the “Economy of Sustainable Construction” (the title of this year’s Holcim Forum), Aravena claims, requires two things: “in this generation, more psychiatrists; in the next generations, more breasts.”

Yes, psychiatrists and breasts. How did Aravena come to this conclusion? Through his firm ELEMENTAL’s work in the earthquake- and tsunami-damaged Chilean city of Constitución, he realized that their biggest challenge for reconstructing and initiating changes in the built environment lay in the lack of integrity among decision-makers. In the lecture, Aravena proclaims:  ”sustainability is nothing but the rigorous use of common sense.” By outlining a general list of points (established throughout years of designing an array of different projects in Chile and abroad), he reveals that projects that are truly ground-breaking or innovative, can and should, in fact, be traced back to general precepts that transcend sophisticated notions of architecture and the role of the architect.

Aravena contends that a person’s capacity to hold a particular view in private but abandon that view when it comes time to do business is the greatest testament to our (architects, politicians, developers, etc) endemic lack of integrity. “Integrity is, by it’s very definition, to be just one… Integrity is achieved when you are secure, and security comes from bonding.” It’s one thing to believe in the importance of building sustainably; it’s another thing to say “but business is business” while abandoning what one believes to be essential to effect change.

To a certain extent, it has been ably demonstrated that many of the hurdles barring truly sustainable practices spring from basic economic constraints. Until “sustainable” construction is cheaper than accepted and entrenched construction methods, we cannot reasonably expect that alternative practices can stand a chance at becoming commonplace. “There’s not doubt that there is a value in sustainable construction, but the way things are today we must pay a higher cost to achieve that value.” And so, through the provision of psychotherapy for the current generation, and with the focus on bonding between parent and child, it is Aravena’s hope that the improvement of the current state of affairs resides in a basic, undeniable form of education that is separate from a technical understanding of the practice of architecture and building. In stepping back and considering a much larger and formative issue, he concludes that ”the way to lower carbon emissions is through oxytocin.”

Don’t miss our interviews with Alejandro Aravena.

4th International Holcim Forum “Economy of Sustainable Construction”

Experts from all continents will meet in Mumbai at the 4th International Holcim Forum for Sustainable Construction – April 11-13, 2013. The conference for academics and professionals from architecture, civil engineering, urban planning, natural and social sciences will advance concepts on how construction needs to be re-invented and aligned with principles of sustainable development.

The focus of the three-day conference will be on the ongoing economic challenges in many parts of the industrialized world driving a paradigm shift. Governments, companies and individuals are all becoming aware that although sustainable development incurs costs, it also offers considerable economic potential. The Holcim Forum includes workshops and site visits and will be hosted by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Bombay), and chaired by architect Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, USA, together with co-chair, engineer Battula K. Chakravarthy, IIT Bombay.

Sponsored by

European Winners of Holcim Awards Competition Announced in Milan

Courtesy of Holcim Foundation

The Holcim Award winners for Europe were recently announced in for sustainable place making and materials innovation. The Holcim Gold 2011 for Europe and USD 100,000 was awarded to German architects realities united for a project on the UNESCO World Heritage site of Museuminsel in the heart of Berlin. The Flussbad urban plan will remediate an area rich in cultural heritage by transforming an under-utilized arm of the River Spree into a natural 745m-long “swimming pool”. The project will form a swimming zone equivalent to 17 Olympic-sized pools – and directly improve the quality of urban life and the ecology of the waterway. More information on the after the break.