Infrastructure includes roads, pipe systems, cable networks, bridges, public places as well as less tangible forms including systems for traffic management or capital flow, public security, or information technology. The way this infrastructure is designed fundamentally affects our lives and the space in which we conduct our activities.
Since infrastructure often spans longer timeframes, it also affects future generations and the way society develops – and due to the massive scale of infrastructure, it is a critical component in shaping the built environment in a sustainable way.
We are running out of time for finding good solutions, which is why the LafargeHolcim Foundation is forging partnerships that promote sustainable construction along the value chain from design through to building implementation. The Foundation’s approach to learning from outstanding examples is embedded in its activities, including the USD 2 million Awards competition for sustainable construction projects and visions.
Turning water infrastructure into public space.
The UVA de la Imaginación in Medellín (Colombia) centers on creating public spaces at a reservoir where two giant water tanks have been replaced by new water infrastructure. Winner of the Global Gold Award in 2015, designed by Colectivo720, integrates water infrastructure and community spaces to better serve the people.
In addition to providing 8,600 square meters of outstanding green areas, walking trails, lookout terraces, water gardens and open spaces that regenerate an area once off-limits to the community and solely dedicated to water storage, the site features 2,200 square meters of built space.
The project foregrounds the value of water as an important resource of urban life, celebrating a piece of infrastructure as a civic work of collective pride and beauty – another step in the transformation of Medellín from a troubled city a decade ago into a city with a high quality of life, from a place of neglect to a place of hope.
Taking logistics infrastructure off the ground.
There are many places in the developing world that lack appropriate infrastructure, and it may take a while to put it in place. The proposal for a Droneport using the air to move things on a small scale allows communities to leapfrog the need to wait for heavy, conventional infrastructure. The advances made by the Droneport project at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale were initiated by The Norman Foster Foundation, which brought together professors and students from five universities across Europe and the US along with the LafargeHolcim Foundation and the LafargeHolcim Research Center in Lyon.
Based on the requirements of the design by Lord Norman Foster and the engineers of Ochsendorf DeJong & Block (ODB), the Lyon Research Centre optimized the mix of earth-based Durabric for the project. Durabric is made of stabilized earth – a reliable, affordable and environmentally friendly building material, particularly suitable in emerging countries.
Adding multiple functions to flood infrastructure
The Dryline (BIG U) project led by BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group addresses New York City’s vulnerability to coastal flooding with a protective ribbon in Southern Manhattan. Winner of the Global Bronze 2015, the project’s 12 km-long infrastructural barrier incorporates public space with the high-water barrier doubling as parks, seating, bicycle shelters or skateboard ramps.
The intervention offers more than flood protection by embedding civic infrastructure into the design. Local neighborhoods actively engaged in defining specific programs, functions, and public amenities along a line that acts as a civic infrastructure belonging to the public at large.
The competition for sustainable design
The LafargeHolcim Awards conducted by the Foundation is the most significant global competition in sustainable design. It seeks leading projects of professionals as well as bold ideas from the Next Generation that combine sustainable construction solutions with architectural excellence.
Projects and concepts from the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, planning, technology, and civil and materials engineering are eligible to be entered online until March 21, 2017.
See here for more information on how to participate.