The Holcim Foundation website now features a diverse range of approaches to sustainable construction from internationally renowned engineers, business leaders and architects. The discussion papers and interviews were part of a meeting of 120 experts from around the world at the first Holcim Forum. The diversity of contributions highlights that sustainable construction is not just a technical issue – but also a sociopolitical and philosophical one. Holcim Forum, held at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), examined how to best meet the basic needs of society and support sustainability.

Last updated: July 15, 2005 Zurich, Switzerland

Portuguese star architect Eduardo Souto de Moura explains how sustainability played a part its part in the spectacular design of the Braga sports stadium. A report on Muhammad Yunus, inventor of microcredit, tells how he sustainable changed the life prospects of many individuals – both within his homeland of Bangladesh and beyond.

Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Klaus Töpfer, places sustainable construction in the broader context of sustainability. Internationally-active politician Simon Upton provides facts and figures that force us to revisit our perspectives, preconceptions, and values. Dutch architect Winy Maas shares some astounding urban planning visions.

Statements by over 100 prominent engineers, business leaders, and architects who attended the first Holcim Forum show that today the concept of sustainable construction must be interpreted broadly.

Position papers created for a series of workshops also provide energetic and diverse approaches to:

  • sustainability in temporary buildings – such as those for expos or large sporting events
  • gated communities – the social and urban impact
  • urban renewal in shrinking cities
  • sustainable commercial architecture – beyond the shopping mall
  • education and urban design – integrating sustainability in schools and other structures

Case studies from South Africa, Australia, India, Germany, Brazil and China emphasized the need for local solutions, continuous change and a focus on the development of processes. A panel discussion representing the experience of local authorities, investors, environmental organizations, and intergovernmental agencies discussed a number of issues and possible strategies. 

Demonstrating the future-focus of sustainability, a poster gallery illustrating sustainable construction projects by 25 students from some of the world’s most renowned technical universities provides inspiring approaches to complex issues.

As a leading global supplier of building materials, the Swiss-based Holcim Group deals with such issues every day. To participate in the discussion even more actively and to tangibly support sustainable building, Holcim Ltd established the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction in December 2003. In late 2004, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), the Foundation held its first large event: the Holcim Forum for Sustainable Construction. Over 120 experts from around the world met to exchange information and experience relating to sustainable construction and thus contribute to sustainable development. The numerous contributions, discussions, lectures, and findings have now been documented in a book published in English: First Forum.

First Forum is published by the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, Hagenholzstrasse 85, 8050 Zurich, Switzerland. Copies may be downloaded as PDF from or ordered through your regular bookstore under ISBN 3 7266 0069 8.

The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction promotes innovative approaches to sustainable construction mainly through international Awards competitions. Architectural excellence and enhanced quality of life are integral parts of the Holcim Foundation’s vision of sustainable construction. The Holcim Foundation is supported by, but independent of the commercial interests of Holcim, one of the world’s leading suppliers of cement, aggregates (crushed stone, gravel and sand), concrete and construction-related services. The Group holds majority and minority interests in more than 70 countries on all continents.