MASS Design Group wins the Zumtobel Group Award 2012

Butaro Hospital, Rwanda / MASS Design Group - Courtesy of Zumtobel Group

MASS Design Group was announced as winner of the Zumtobel Group Award for their innovative and cost-efficient Butaro Hosptial in Rwanda. They triumphed over the 230 projects from 30 different countries that competed in the “Built Environment” award category. Additionally, Atelier d’architecture autogérée (France) was selected as winner of the “Research & Initiative” category for developing a strategy of urban resilience known as the R-URBAN project in Paris.

“Through their decision this year, the jury have underlined the fact that it takes a holistic approach to make truly sustainable improvements in the built environment,” said Zumtobel Group CEO Harald Sommerer, who was also a member of the 8-strong jury. “We are particularly pleased to see that, this year, young and dedicated architectural practices have won the award with approaches to resolving social and ecological issues, both in the industrialized world and in developing countries.”

Continue after the break to learn more.

In the Built Environment category, the US-based not-for-profit architectural practice MASS Design Group won the Zumtobel Group Award for its Butaro Hospital project. In response to a commission from the Ministry of Health in Rwanda, MASS Design Group chose a multidisciplinary approach that enabled them to address core health issues – and hospital-acquired infections in particular – at the design stage. Within an integrated architectural strategy, the architects considered the layout of the buildings, the movement patterns of the patients and staff and above all the maximum use of natural ventilation. The local population were involved in the building process and given suitable training.

Butaro Hospital, Rwanda / MASS Design Group - Courtesy of Zumtobel Group

“This project is highly relevant, because as a template and approach it can be replicated in other, similar regions where there are limited resources and a high risk of infection. The architects have succeeded in building a bridge to innovative technologies and good healthcare for a poor, rural region. What is particularly remarkable is that this sophisticated building was realized in this environment by local labour,” stated the Jury. MASS Design Group was awarded € 80,000.

In the Research & Innovation category, the French architectural practice atelier d’architecture autogérée (AAA) won a € 30,000 prize for their integrated research project R-URBAN in Colombes – a socially deprived suburb in the Greater Paris area. The project deals not only with ecological topics such as waste recycling and reducing the carbon footprint but also with social issues such as vocational training and job creation schemes. With the involvement of local residents, three pilot projects were developed, themed around recycling and eco-construction, cooperative housing and urban farming.

R-URBAN, Paris / atelier d’architecture autogérée (AAA): Constantin Petcou, Doina Petrescu - Courtesy of Zumtobel Group

“R-URBAN is a small but pioneering intervention in existing urban structures. In this project, the architects from AAA have developed different micro-tools with which to tackle the big social and ecological themes in an urban setting. For us, the three R-URBAN pilot projects have a pioneering character because they have proven robust, because they empower local people, and because they help revitalize a neglected urban context,” commented the Jury.

The Zumtobel Group Award was established in 2007 in an effort to “promote humanity and sustainability in the built environment, commended the immediate relevance of the robust concepts, the systematic involvement of the local people and the replicable nature of the projects.”

The presentation ceremony for the 2012 Zumtobel Group Award will be held in Berlin on 16 November 2012.

Members of the 2012 jury:

Kunlé Adeyemi, Architect & Urbanist / Founder NLÉ, Amsterdam (NL)
Ute Meta Bauer, Associate Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, USA)
Stefan Behnisch, architect, Behnisch Architekten, Stuttgart, Munich (D), Boston (USA)
  • Yung Ho Chang, architect, Atelier FCJZ, Peking (CH)
Brian Cody, Chair of the Institute of Buildings and Energy, Graz University of Technology (AT)
  • Sejima Kazuyo, architect, SANAA, Tokyo (JP)
Winy Maas, architect, MVRDV, Rotterdam (NL) 
Harald Sommerer, CEO Zumtobel Group, Dornbirn (AT)
  • Harald Sommerer, CEO Zumtobel Group, Dornbirn (AT)

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Cite: Karissa Rosenfield. "MASS Design Group wins the Zumtobel Group Award 2012" 08 Jul 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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