Holcim Awards 2023


Next Holcim Awards competition

The next Holcim Awards competition will open for entries in late-2024. To stay updated about the Awards and other initiatives of the Holcim Foundation, please subscribe to our email newsletter, or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram.

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Holcim Awards 2023 - Q&A

Questions & Answers

  • What are the Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction?

    The Holcim Awards are the world’s most significant competition for sustainable design.

    The competition offers total prize money of USD 1 million across five regions: Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East Africa, and North America. USD 200,000 in prize money per region is allocated to winners of Holcim Awards Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Acknowledgement prizes in every region.

    Independent expert juries for each region will evaluate entries using the Holcim Foundation’s goals for sustainable construction that serve as a road map to drive system change: uplifting places, a healthy planet, viable economics, and thriving communities.

    Why does the Holcim Foundation conduct an Awards competition?

    The Holcim Foundation conducts the global competition to shed light and reward leading-edge thinking and real-world case studies that accelerate the global movement for sustainable construction.

    The Holcim Foundation is a pioneer of the sustainable design and construction movement. It has served as a beacon of thought leadership for the building industry since 2003. With six international Awards cycles, over 100 events and 50 publications under our belt, we are more committed than ever to help accelerate systems change in the built environment.

    Is there a Next Generation category in the current Holcim Awards competition cycle?

    There is no longer a separate Next Generation category. Young professionals are welcome to enter the Holcim Awards with any projects that are client-supported and have reached at least the detailed design phase.

    The Holcim Foundation will be launching a new grants program for research in practice by the next generation in 2024. Subscribe to our newsletter or follow the Foundation on social media to keep updated on this evolving program.

  • When must entries in the Holcim Awards competition be completed?

    All participants must be registered before March 30, 2023 at 14:00 hrs UTC. Registered participants are able to edit and complete their submission until April 6, 2023 at 14:00 hrs UTC.

    A high volume of users accessing the online entry form in the final days of the registration/finalization period is anticipated. This may slow down the response time of the online entry form as well as the turn-around time for enquiries submitted to the Helpdesk. It is recommended to complete submissions well ahead of the final deadline.

    When will the results of the competition be announced?

    Holcim Awards Gold, Silver, Bronze and Acknowledgement prize winners from all regions will be invited to the Awards Ceremony to be held on November 18, 2023 at the 18th International Venice Biennale of Architecture: The Laboratory of the Future.

    The presentation of winners will be available on livestream, and be accompanied by media releases and media engagement, website updates and social media posts.

    When and how are the winners informed of the results of the competition?

    The Project Contact of all nominated prize winners will be informed when the verification process is successfully completed. The ranking of winning projects will not be disclosed until the prizes are handed over at the Awards Ceremony on November 18, 2023.

  • What is the adjudication process?

    Five regional juries select the competition winners, using the Foundation’s goals for sustainable construction. The juries consist of independent, regionally-renowned representatives from d which are announced on the Awards website.

    The adjudication process is completely independent of the Holcim Foundation and its sponsor, Holcim.

    How are the goals for sustainable construction weighted in importance?

    All goals for sustainable construction are equal in their importance.

  • Who are the members of the Holcim Awards juries?

    After a technical pre-assessment, individual juries in each of the five regions will evaluate and rank the entries. The independent, renowned experts from architecture, urban planning and engineering will meet online to evaluate submissions and select projects to be nominated for Holcim Awards prizes.

    Will I receive feedback from the jury on my entry?

    Prize-winning projects receive a jury citation that is published on the Holcim Foundation website on the project page of each winning submission. Due to the large number of projects submitted in the competition it is not possible for the jury to prepare comments on entries that do not receive a prize.

  • What is the prize money offered for the Holcim Awards?

    The competition offers total prize money of USD 1 million across five regions: Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East Africa, and North America. USD 200,000 per region will be shared between winners of Holcim Awards Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Acknowledgement prizes in every region.

    Who will receive the prize in case of design teams or legal entities?

    All authors of the project receive the prize. Members of the team must agree to the distribution of the prize money before the entry is submitted in the competition.

    Must prize money be used for the construction of the awarded project?

    No. The author(s) is/are free to decide how the funds will be used.

  • What countries are in each region?

    The Holcim Awards are arranged in five geographic regions: Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East Africa, and North America. Entries are allocated to the region based where the project is located.

    Region Asia Pacific includes: Afghanistan, American Samoa, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Fiji Islands, French Polynesia, Guam, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, North Korea, Northern Mariana Islands, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pitcairn, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam.

    Region Europe includes: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vatican City.

    Region Latin America includes: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Falkland Islands, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela, Virgin Islands (British), Virgin Islands (US).

    Region Middle East Africa includes: Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo (Democratic Republic), Congo (Republic), Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Réunion, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Türkiye, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

    Region North America includes: Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, USA.

    How are external territories allocated to one of the five project regions?

    External territories are allocated to the geographical region in which they are situated, rather than the geographical region of the sovereign state.

    External territories are land areas that do not possess full political independence or sovereignty yet are geographically outside of the controlling state’s integral area. For example, Aruba (an external territory of the Netherlands) is allocated to region Latin America and not to region Europe. 

    Is there a global phase of the Holcim Awards competition?

    No. The Holcim Awards competition will now be held bi-annually starting from 2023, with results announced in the same calendar year. The revised competition supports a redefined mission of the Foundation to accelerate the global movement for sustainable construction and stimulating the transfer of knowledge across the community.

  • How does the Holcim Foundation define sustainable construction?

    The built environment shapes all our lives. It is also largely responsible for human-made alterations to our planet’s ecosystems. So, to allow all life on earth to be sustained, we must urgently transform the way we build.

    Transforming the construction sector is a huge task. We are convinced that a number of interdependent goals and guiding principles for sustainable construction must be understood, mainstreamed, and implemented to succeed in building a better world. These goals for sustainable construction are interdependent and must be pursued with equal conviction:

    • Uplifting places: Beautiful and spatially relevant structures that work in unison with the local context and culture.
    • Healthy planet: Structures that minimize resource use, avoid emissions, and embed solutions to repair ecosystems and restore biodiversity.
    • Viable economics: Financial planning that combines short term project feasibility with long term circular value creation
    • Thriving communities: Inclusive and affordable living environments that cultivate equity, health, and well-being.

    Who are the partner universities of the Holcim Foundation?

    The Holcim Foundation has a long history of collaboration with some of the world's leading universities. We count on the technical support and participation of our Partner Universities in the activities and events we organize to raise awareness of sustainable construction.

    How does the Holcim Foundation support university students to be part of the transformation of the building sector?

    The Holcim Foundation is evolving all its programs to ensure that we keep in step with the impact at scale and speed needed, but that we also collaborate more broadly with an ever-increasing ecosystem of like-minded individuals and organizations to drive real world change.

    University students are an important part of our network for transferring knowledge and ideas. We are currently developing a new program to support research with our Partner Universities and will empower our community of changemakers through virtual and on-site events, and do more to showcase real-world solutions. Subscribe to our newsletter or follow the Foundation on social media to keep updated on this evolving program.

  • Is there an entry fee for the competition?

    No. Submitting entries in the competition is free.

    Can I complete an entry form in any language other than English?

    No. The Holcim Awards entry form and Helpdesk questions may only be submitted in English.

    What is the role of the Project Contact?

    The Project Contact acts as the sole contact person between the Holcim Foundation and the legal entities and design teams. The role of Project Contact can be assigned to a Main Author, Further Author, or non-author. Only one person may be designated as Project Contact (authorized representative) at any time.

    The Project Contact can be changed using the “Transfer Contact” button on the “Team Members” tab of any open project with multiple team members. 

    Can I submit a hard copy entry rather than use the Internet form?

    No written applications (hard copy) will be accepted. Submission of entries is only possible using the online entry form. If you have any difficulties in using the online entry form, please contact the Helpdesk.

  • Do I need to enter each step of the entry form in order?

    No. You may complete the steps of the entry form in any order. Click in the navigation bar to move between sections: General project information, Project details, Sustainability Goals, Sustainability key figures, and Project images.

    The entry may only be confirmed after all mandatory information is completed and other requirements (eg: character limits in various fields) are met. Error messages will alert you throughout the application process to highlight mandatory fields and other requirements.

    What are the character-length restrictions on specific fields, and do the limits include spaces?

    The allowed number of characters includes spaces, blank lines and line breaks. It is an approximated value with a certain tolerance. The number of the counted characters depends on the type of the website browser. Therefore, spaces, blank lines and returns may be counted as two or more characters.

    How will the jury receive the material to be evaluated?

    The juries will receive all data provided in an electronic form. The jury is able to view all project data submitted and the names (but not personal information) of each author.

  • What information is required in defining the “cost of construction” for the project?

    It is mandatory to include a figure under cost of construction. This is an important element of the online entry form because it gives a sense of the scale of the project and informs regarding its economic viability.

    For construction costs in both groups please use US dollars (USD). The construction costs should include the following elements:

    • Construction works: including excavation, foundations, external walls, internal walls, floors and ceilings, roofs, structural fittings and other construction-related activities such as site equipment, scaffolding, and demolition work.
    • Services: including sewage, water and gas systems, heat supply systems, air treatment systems, power installations, telecommunications and other communications systems, transport systems, function-related equipment and fittings, building automation and other services-related work.
  • What are the size and format requirements for images?

    Images must be:

    • Minimum size: 2,400 x 1,800 pixels
    • Maximum size: 25MB
    • Format: jpg, jpeg, gif, png
    • Ratio: no restriction on image ratios, can include landscape, portrait, square, etc

    Can I submit a video or slide presentation of my project?

    No. It is not possible to submit files or include links to any additional material including video or slide presentations.

    The design of a standardized entry form aims to provide each project author/team with an equal opportunity as all other submissions to capture the attention of the independent regional jury.

    I am not able to upload my jpg image files, what should I do?

    The Internet speed may be too slow, or security settings may be preventing uploads. If you are unable to resolve the problem, please contact the Helpdesk.

  • Where do I submit a question about the Awards competition?

    A comprehensive list of responses to the most frequent questions about the Holcim Awards competition for sustainable construction projects is available on this Q&A platform. If, after consulting the Q&A platform your question is not resolved, or there are specific technical inquiries, please contact the Helpdesk.

  • How are the entries in the competition validated?

    All statements will be subject to an intensive validation process for any submission in the competition that is nominated by the juries. This validation process takes place after the jury meeting and before winners are announced and prizes conferred.

  • Can I enter a project in a country currently under sanction? If the project wins a prize, what will happen to the prize money?

    In alignment with the Foundation’s goals for sustainable construction, which include the principle of equity and inclusion, we do not restrict entry in the Awards competition.

    If (i) the project location (country/territory) and/or the project contact/team is located, organized or resident in a country or territory that is subject to a comprehensive trade embargo, currently including Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, the Crimea region, the Kherson region, the Zaporizhzhya region, the Donetsk People’s Republic region, or the Luhansk People’s Republic region (collectively, Sanctioned Countries), or (ii) if a member of the project team is a sanctioned person or deemed as a sanctions person under any sanctions laws including but not limited those enforced by the United States, the European Union, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, United Nations (collectively, Sanctioned Laws), or (iii) if a member of the project team is part of or otherwise affiliated with any government of a Sanctioned Country or of Venezuela, or any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality, or any political party, of any Sanctioned Country government or the government of Venezuela; or (iv) if a member of the project team is acting for or on behalf of any of the foregoing, it will not be possible to transfer prize money to the project contact.

    In such cases, the Foundation will donate the prize money to a non-profit organisation mutually agreed with the project contact that is based in a non-sanctioned country.

    Can I enter a prototype, installation or proof of concept in the competition?

    No - the competition focuses on client-supported projects – commissioned by a client for the purpose of real-world execution. The following are not considered acceptable interventions and are excluded from entering the competition:

    • building elements and/or technology prototypes
    • installations and/or proof of concepts

    Does the project have to include specific building materials or environmental techniques to enter the competition?

    No. All submissions will be evaluated according to the Foundation’s goals for sustainable construction.

    Can my project already be under construction?

    Yes, but construction must not have started before January 1, 2022. The start of construction is defined as when the first site preparation, excavation, and/or environmental remediation takes place.

    Can a project be entered in the competition if a member of the team is a member of a regional jury panel?

    A project may not be entered in the competition if a member of any regional jury in the Holcim Awards 2023 is a project author.

    Can participants in previous Awards competitions enter the competition again?

    Yes. Authors of projects submitted in the 1st to 6th Holcim Awards competitions are welcome to re-enter the competition.

    May I submit a project that was entered in a previous cycle of the competition?

    Yes. Provided the entry meets the criteria for participation in the Holcim Awards 2023 competition.

    If the project has been submitted in another competition, please select “yes” for “Submitted in any other competition*” in Step 3 of the online entry form and provide the relevant details.

    Can I enter a database or online directory in the competition?

    No. The Holcim Awards competition is open only to building and civil engineering works, landscape, urban design and infrastructure projects. Entries in the competition are assessed by independent regional juries using the Foundation’s goals for sustainable construction. A database or online directory would only be able to address these criteria by extrapolating to the sustainability impacts of the component products that it lists.

  • Is the competition open only to architects?

    No. The Holcim Awards recognize contributions to sustainable construction in architecture, engineering, urban planning, materials science, construction technology, and related fields.

    Can I enter more than one project in the competition?

    Yes. There is no limit to the number of projects that any individual or team may enter in the competition.

    Is there a limit (maximum) placed on the number of project authors?

    No. There is no limit to the number of project main authors and further authors that can be listed.

    Are winning projects required to use Holcim building materials and solutions?

    No. Project authors are at complete liberty to select their own construction partners. The Holcim Awards are conducted by the Foundation and are independent from the commercial interests of the Foundation’s sponsor.

    Can a project be submitted by the client/investor?

    Yes, clients/investors may enter the competition and must acknowledge the professionals who have developed the project. If more than one person has the right to be the author, the details of all team members should be included in the application. All members would receive the prize. Legal entities and design teams must name an authorized representative (ie: Project Contact) who will act as the sole responsible contact person.

    Every author is required to individually clarify his or her eligibility for participation. The eligibility of the authors will be rechecked after the meeting of the jury. The applicant must also advise how any prize money received would be distributed (in %) for each author.

    Can an employee / member of staff of Holcim or an employee / member of staff of a partner university enter the competition?

    Only if the team member was/is not directly involved in the preparation or running of the competition.

    According to the conditions of entry (impediments / conflict of interest), “Persons who, due to their collaboration in the preparation or running of the competition, might be in a favored position, able to influence the jury’s decision or have any other (matured or unmatured) conflict of interest are ineligible to enter the competition.

    Can I withdraw or delete an entry in the competition?

    Yes. Any entry that has not been submitted can be deleted from the entry form dashboard by clicking on “View” then “Delete Project”. To withdraw an entry that has been submitted, or after the close of the competition, please contact the Helpdesk.

  • How is the “start of construction” defined?

    The start of construction is defined as when the first site preparation (including site clearing), excavation, and/or environmental remediation for building and/or civil engineering takes place. Projects must not have started construction before January 1, 2022.

    Please note that all statements (including “estimated start of construction”) will be subject to an intensive validation process for any submission in the competition that is nominated by the Holcim Awards juries. This validation process takes place before winners are announced and prizes conferred.

    Is demolition work considered part of site preparation?

    If demolition work is conducted in direct connection to the project and is included in the framework for works on the site (for example, as part of a redevelopment plan), then it is considered part of the site preparation. The start of demolition work would then need to be included in determining the “start of construction” date of the project.

    If demolition work has been conducted independently to the submitted project and that demolition would take place irrespective of whether the submitted project goes ahead, then it is not considered part of the site preparation. Please explain briefly any demolition work that may have been conducted prior to the project within the “project description” field of the entry form.

    Please note that all statements (including “estimated start of construction”) will be subject to an intensive validation process for any submission in the competition that is nominated by the Holcim Awards juries. This validation process takes place before winners are announced and prizes conferred.

  • How will the entries in the competition be used? How is the right of ownership addressed?

    Although the right of authorship, including protection against the copying of ideas, and the right to publication of the design remains with each author, the latter explicitly grants the Holcim Foundation and Holcim the right to use the data, documents, images and files submitted in its entirety or partly, in original or edited format, internally or externally, in every form and for any purpose whatsoever in relation to the Holcim Awards competition.

    Will my project be published by the Holcim Foundation?

    All Holcim Awards prize-winning projects will be presented in various print and electronic communications by the Holcim Foundation and Holcim. Submitted projects may be compiled by the Holcim Foundation for public access in electronic and/or printed format, giving credit to the authors and their collaborators in compliance with the authorship declaration.

  • What does the Holcim Foundation require from prize winners of the Holcim Awards competition?

    The Project Contact and/including Project Authors of any project nominated for a Holcim Awards prize agree to supply the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction with any additional documentation required to substantiate their submission including evidence of client support as part of the due diligence process (Jun/Oct 2023) before prizes are confirmed (Nov 2023).

    The Project Authors agree that two (2) representatives of any project to receive a Holcim Awards prize will be physically present from November 17, 2023 until November 19, 2023 in Venice, Italy. The authors will be guests of the Holcim Foundation (including transport and accommodation). The authors agree to attend the Holcim Awards prize ceremony and participate in related events (such as a media briefing, panel discussion, etc).

    The Project Authors agree to provide substantive updates to the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction on the progress of their project every six (6) months until one (1) year after the project is completed. The format of these updates may include a written report or web-meeting as well as imagery and/or interviews. To help put leading-edge thinking and best practice solutions in the hands of everyone, the focus of the updates will be on how the project achieved the sustainability goals stated by the authors in the Holcim Awards entry submission and/or the nature of challenges that arose during the construction stage that impacted the project’s sustainability goals and how those were addressed.