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Prizes Awarded To Sustainable Construction Projects in North America

USD 220,000 in prize money was presented to the best entries from North America in the first Holcim Awards competition for sustainable construction projects.

The competition run by the Swiss-based Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction in collaboration with five of the world’s leading technical universities aims to promote sustainable approaches to the built environment.

In his address OECD Round Table on Sustainable Development Chairman and Holcim Foundation Advisory Board member, Rt. Hon. Simon Upton, (France/New Zealand), said that while sustainability was a concept with which many business people and politicians liked to be associated, it often lacked content or coherence.

“The Holcim Awards are important precisely because they challenge participants to think through sustainable solutions in all their dimensions from the bottom up,” he said. Contribution to sustainable development The Holcim Awards ceremony for sustainable construction projects to be built in Canada and the United States was held at the architectural and historic landmark of Rowes Wharf, known as the gateway to Boston. Almost 200 diplomats, architects, association heads and business representatives attended the event.

In his welcome address, Holcim Ltd Chairman and Chairman of the Holcim Foundation Advisory Board, Rolf Soiron (Switzerland) stressed that progress and sustainable development are closely linked to the name Holcim: “Through the Holcim Foundation we are significantly promoting public understanding of sustainable construction, which goes beyond technical solutions,” he said.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Architecture and Planning Dean, and head of the Holcim Awards regional jury for North America, Prof. Adèle Naudé Santos (USA), emphasized the need to look at the broader picture.

“Sustainable construction has less to do with buildings and more to do with process and behavior. It must particularly inspire city planning,” she said. Holcim Awards Gold 2005 to an urban landscape and architectural project

The first prize of USD 100,000 went to a hybrid of urban, architectural and landscape design that guides the sustainable construction and renovation of 187 housing units. "Greening the Infrastructure at Benny Farm" in Montréal, Québec, Canada, integrates socio-economic processes and low-cost sustainable measures such as water treatment, geothermal heating and cooling systems, as well as provisions for waste management. Head of the regional jury, Prof. Santos said that the entry of Daniel S. Pearl from L'OEUF/ Pearl Poddubiuk et Associés, Architects (Canada), showed an ambitious social vision aiming at integrating stakeholders and exceeding the scale of individual interventions. The project was also praised for its financial viability and aesthetically sensitive contribution to neighborhood planning. The project displays an ambitious social vision that aims to effectively integrate stakeholders and offers potential reductions in health care and utility costs.

Holcim Awards Silver 2005 to a synthesis of function, form, technology, and nature
The second prize of USD 50,000 went to the “The New Sustainable California Academy of Sciences" – a major public building project in San Francisco, California, USA. The project is led by the renowned architect Renzo Piano (Italy) in collaboration with natural scientist John Patrick Kociolek (USA) from the California Academy of Sciences and environmental engineer and sustainability consultant Jean Rogers (USA) of Ove Arup and Partners, San Francisco. The project demonstrates the successful integration of function, form, technology and nature from economic, environmental and social points of view. "This outstanding project is not the work of one individual, but of several teams from industry, universities and public institutions. This kind of teamwork is typical for projects in the field of sustainable construction – because sustainability always involves a whole range of aspects," commented Prof. Santos.

Holcim Awards Bronze 2005 for innovative materials research of concrete
Third prize of USD 25,000 went to a project that challenges the construction industry to achieve increased levels of efficiency and environmentally sensitive techniques for production. By using flexible fabrics instead of conventional rigid molds, concrete elements are able to vary according to structural requirements, promising significant savings in embodied energy, material and transport weight. Project owner, University of Manitoba Associate Professor Mark West (Canada), was congratulated on the degree to which his innovation is both highly transferable and context sensitive, providing an innovative technique for preformed concrete production.

Four Holcim Awards 2005 Acknowledgment prizes
Four Acknowledgment prizes of USD 7,500 were presented to other outstanding submissions as ranked by the independent regional jury. University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Department of Architecture and Urban Design Associate Professor, and member of the regional jury, Robert E. Somol (USA) said that sustainable construction demanded the reconsideration of the future.

“It is very valuable to think about the world we have – and the world we want to have,” he said. An urban planning project at Warren, Massachusetts, USA was recognized for an ambitious effort to resolve severe community infrastructure problems caused by flooding, erosion, sewage infiltration and groundwater pollution. An applied research and development facility at Flagstaff, Arizona, USA received acknowledgement for collaboration on an interdisciplinary level to reduce the project’s ecological footprint. A library and classroom building in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada which actively pursues a sustainable, low energy design and also offers a strong aesthetic identity, and a tectonic formed building in Kingston, Ontario, Canada which integrates the environment in an aesthetically refined contextual response and delivers a cultivated architectural expression of energy-saving technology also received Acknowledgement prizes.

Three Holcim Awards 2005 Encouragement prizes
Encouragement prizes which recognize the achievements of young professionals whose projects are particularly inspirational were presented by University of Michigan Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise and Co-Director of the Corporate Environmental Management Program (CEMP) Associate Professor, and member of the regional jury, Andrew Hoffman (USA). Prof. Hoffman said that including the next generation in approaches to sustainable construction was an important element of the Awards competition.

“Including the young in the approach is especially important because sustainability must always be forward-looking,” he said. A collaborative design process for housing in Washington (Magic Box) by 40 students of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain; a River Pool combining natural systems with technical infrastructure in Beacon, New York, USA; and, a prototypical urban recycling project in Boston, Massachusetts, USA received Encouragement prizes of USD 5,000 each.

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