Holcim Foundation


Active envelope

Highlighting credibility and boosting confidence

Fairs, exhibitions and other types of conventions spotlight a city as well as its facilities. Yet, Ágora Bogotá, which won a LafargeHolcim Acknowledgement Prize in 2014, is a rather “discreet and silent” building. Where many were expecting a formal demonstration, the Colombian studio Bermúdez Arquitectos and the Spanish architecture office Estudio Herreros preferred to design a simple volume. The challenge here was not to design a strange, convoluted shape for this location, but rather to conceive a highly functional and compact place.

Through the incorporation of intelligence in the mechanisms of the façade, Bogotá’s climate is leveraged to achieve comfort in the interior spaces. With a daily fluctuation from 0° to 23°C, the design challenge of the breathing façade can only be resolved with a highly technical approach, such as the one implemented in the project.

For Daniel Bermudez, winning the LafargeHolcim Awards for Ágora Bogotá highlighted the sustainable and environmental credibility of their proposal and boosted the client’s confidence. Read the full interview and jury member comments by Bruno Stagno (Costa Rica) and Harry Gugger (Switzerland).

Active envelope (English flip book)

Enveloppe active (French flip book)

Fachada active (Spanish flip book)

F13_attendee_StagnoBruno_CostaRica.jpgF13_attendee_GuggerHarry_Switzerland.jpgJury comments

“The jury appreciated the active breathing envelope and the challenge that the designed solution presented. With the incorporation of certain intelligence in the mechanisms of the façade, Bogotá’s climate was used to achieve comfort in the internal spaces.” – Bruno Stagno, Architect & Principal, Bruno Stagno Arquitecto y Asociados, San José, Costa Rica; and Head of the LafargeHolcim Awards jury for Latin America in 2014.

“The authors sincerely aimed – but also truly managed – to overcome the alleged gap between architecture and engineering. The project offers proof that spatial considerations inherent to the discipline of architecture – light, movement, materiality, atmosphere, color, space, structure – can indeed be brought to bear on the technical exigencies required for a building’s environmental performance.” – Harry Gugger, Architect & Founder, Harry Gugger Studio, Basel, Switzerland; Professor of Architectural & Urban Design, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL Lausanne), Switzerland; and Member of the Board of the LafargeHolcim Foundation since 2010.

LafargeHolcim Awards open for entries

Design competitions boost projects, careers, and networking opportunities. The LafargeHolcim Awards seeks leading projects of professionals as well as bold ideas from the Next Generation that combine sustainable construction solutions with architectural excellence.

The 6th cycle of the international competition is open for entries until February 25, 2020. The Awards offer a total of USD 2 million in prize money and foreground projects and concepts from architecture, engineering, urban planning, materials and construction technology, and related fields. Enter your contribution to sustainable construction in the LafargeHolcim Awards – the world’s most significant competition for sustainable design.

More information

Enter the competition

Last Updated: July 26, 2019
Article Details
Bogotá, Colombia
Related Information
Related Project
Breathing Envelope
Breathing Envelope

Ágora Bogotá will be unique. The city’s new convention center is stacked vertically to minimize the building’s footprint and to...

Holcim Foundation

Search Help

Our website search engine covers the web pages including project descriptions and expert profiles, PDFs, images and videos on the Holcim Foundation website. To improve your search results, here are some tips:

Basic search

Our search defaults to term-pairing AND. If you search sustainable construction - then the search engine will look for any items containing sustainable AND construction


photovoltaic OR solar

Looks for either word


(clay OR mud) AND (school OR university)

Combine alternative terms for more specific searching


geothermal -heating

Excludes a term from results, automatically ANDs other terms listed


"zero carbon"

Use quotation marks to search for a specific phrase or combination

Wildcards (one or more characters)


Asterisk (*) matches any word or phrase - so archit* will find architect, architecture, architectural as well as architrave