Projects related to building communities, fostering education and addressing freshwater and wastewater issues stood out as winners of the 5th International LafargeHolcim Awards competition 2017 in Asia Pacific. At the media briefing on the day after the prize hand-over ceremony, four project authors presented their winning entries in detail: demonstrating innovation and enthusiasm at the cutting edge of sustainable design.
“In the first cycle of the LafargeHolcim Awards everything looked different everywhere in this region,” said Donald Bates, Head of the LafargeHolcim Awards jury 2017 for Asia Pacific and Chair of Architectural Design at the Faculty of Architecture, Building & Planning of the University of Melbourne, Australia. A practicing architect and renowned academic, Bates had already chaired the 1st Awards jury in 2005. “The approach to sustainable construction has changed rapidly, the quality of the submissions has vastly improved,” he noted – and mentioned that the jury was aware of its huge responsibility not only towards the authors of the nearly 500 projects that made it through all verification steps to be assessed, but also towards the process of transformation in Asia Pacific: “This region is the most diverse in the Awards competitions as it includes the largest cities and the smallest villages of the world.”
An example of this evolution was illustrated by the Next Generation 1st prizewinner that is researching a participatory village transformation in China over a period of 20 years. Fei Yu and Mengyuan Zhu, students at Southeast University in Nanjing, China, suggest comprehensive interventions to modernize a rural village and to provide opportunities for residents in industry and tourism so they do not have to seek their livelihoods in the cities, or even enable former inhabitants to return.
The Bronze Award winning project was explained by Richard Hassell from WOHA in Singapore. The BRAC University campus in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which is currently under construction turns a swamp into a lake, provides public space for the community and social space for more than 10,000 students. Thanks to smart and sustainable building technologies, energy consumption will be reduced by 60% compared with similar structures.
Public space is also at the core of the Silver Award winning project of a learning center in Bandung, Indonesia. Florian Heinzelmann and Daliana Suryawinata from SHAU have already built two micro-libraries in the city out of a series of about 100, which are each to be designed individually to meet local requirements. The prize winning example is situated in a park and is designed to create an urban living room, encouraging people to step in and increase their knowledge and literacy.
The authors who received the Gold Award 2017 presented another small yet powerful intervention: a home for marginalized children in Thane, India. Neha Rane and Avneesh Tiwari from atArchitecture in Mumbai are creating a safe haven for children and their care-givers in a compact, quirky building that is adapted to the needs of its users, and, hence, particularly appealing to the young.
“We are proud to have awarded prizes to an array of projects that improve the lives of people through architectural and urban interventions of diverse scales,” summarized Edward Schwarz, General Manager of the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction. He thanked all members of the jury for their great efforts to single out the best of the best submissions received in Asia Pacific.
Winners of the Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards from Asia Pacific will now vie for the Global LafargeHolcim Awards. The results of the global competition will be announced in March, 2018.