Projects in Mexico, Niger, and the USA win the 5th Global Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction. As diverse as the three top projects are in terms of geography, program and scale – they are all the result of true teamwork across generations, genders and ethnicities. Alejandro Aravena (Chile) headed the independent jury of renowned experts who evaluated the 15 finalist projects from all continents that had qualified for the global phase of the Awards. The USD 2 million competition is run by the Holcim Foundation, an initiative of Holcim, the leading global building materials and solutions company.
Global Holcim Awards Gold 2018 goes to “Hydropuncture”, a publicly accessible water retention and treatment complex in Mexico. The project team is led by design director Loreta Castro Reguera at Taller Capital, and researcher Manuel Perló Cohen from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. The infrastructure project in an underprivileged area of Mexico City intermingles flood basins and public amenities with spaces that follow the gravitational logic of flowing water. The jury stated that the sophisticated design addresses an urgent issue at a scale with real impact.
“Legacy Restored”, the Awards Silver winner, is a religious and secular complex in Niger that reinterprets traditional local construction for a new mosque and a community center. The project was designed by architects Mariam Kamara, atelier masomi, Niger; and Yasaman Esmaili, studio chahar, Iran. It creates a civic space open to all in the village of Dandaji, supporting the education of women and strengthening their presence within the community. The design strategy champions local artisanship, traditional building techniques and materials produced on site.
The community-driven neighborhood planning project “Grassroots Microgrid” wins Awards Bronze for re-imagining empty lots as collective infrastructure for energy and food production as well as for civic engagement in Detroit, USA. The large team of authors is led by Constance C. Bodurow, founding Director of studio[Ci], a transdisciplinary design collaborative in Detroit. The project enables neighborhoods to reach energy autonomy through micro-infrastructure, leverages vacancy as an asset, and creates a new economic paradigm for community renewal.
The strength of sustainable design
Jury head Alejandro Aravena commented that the global Gold and Silver winning projects act as role models: “They are masterful pieces that demonstrate what sustainable design and construction can achieve. As a community-driven initiative, the Bronze winner opens a path, innovating an approach that will need to be developed further,” said Aravena. The global Awards winning teams are diverse in every sense of the word. “Although not something considered during the evaluation process, the jury was delighted by the strong representation and success of women in the Holcim Awards,” said Aravena. Traditionally, the Awards competition enjoys a strong level of both participation and success in the competition by female professionals and students.
Aravena explained that the jury selected the water treatment project in Mexico for Gold because it builds large urban infrastructures that serve multiple purposes and become civic spaces. “Using architecture to give dignity to fragile rural communities losing population to urban migration, was a main reason for awarding Silver to the project in Niger," said Aravena. The Bronze winning project in the USA, finally, uses light and local infrastructure as a means of community building. “The context of the three global Awards winning projects is complementary, providing models for megacities, urban communities, and remote rural villages,” added Aravena: “They indicate two tendencies within the discourse on sustainability: a focus on infrastructure and new explorations of traditional ways of building.”
Prizes for exciting ideas in Argentina, Ghana and the USA
For the first time, the global Awards jury selected three of the 40 Acknowledgement and Next Generation prize-winning projects from the regional phase of the competition to receive Holcim Awards Ideas prizes. “We felt that they offer exciting and novel ideas, even within proposals that are not yet fully developed,” said jury head Alejandro Aravena. The prizes go ex aequo to “Refrigerating Jar” in Ghana, “Cooling Roof” in California, USA, and “Territorial Figure” in Argentina.
Architects Wonjoon Han and Gahee Van of VHAN together with Sookhee Yuk from Make Africa Better led a South Korean team designing shea butter storage towers in Nyingali, Ghana; they enable passive cooling that enhances the economic viability of agriculture and an aesthetic that alludes to traditional local architecture. Georgina Baronian, student at Princeton University in the USA, developed a prototype of a large-scale structure using water on the roof as a thermal insulator and solar reflector in one. The infrastructure-landscape project for the generation of electric power based on tidal currents at Punta Loyola in Argentina was developed by three students from the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba in Argentina: Stefano Romagnoli, Juan Cruz Serafini, and Tomás Pont Apóstolo.
From more than 5,000 submissions down to 6 global winners
The 5th International Holcim Awards competition attracted 5,085 projects and visions to be implemented in 131 countries. 1,836 projects passed the formal and quality checks and were assessed by independent juries in five competition regions: Europe, North America, Latin America, Middle East Africa and Asia Pacific. 11 prizes carrying a total of USD 330,000 per region were handed-over to winning teams in 2017. The three main winners per region automatically qualified for the global Awards; and the 40 Acknowledgement and Next Generation prize-winners were eligible for the Awards Ideas prizes 2018. The prize pool for the global phase of the Awards totals USD 350,000. The International Holcim Awards cycle spans three years, the 6th competition will open for entries in mid-2019.
Members of the Global Holcim Awards jury 2018
- Marc Angélil
Professor of Architecture & Design, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), Switzerland
- Alejandro Aravena (Head)
Partner Architect and Executive Director, Elemental, Chile
- Xuemei Bai
Professor of Urban Environment & Human Ecology, Fenner School of Environment & Society, Australian National University (ANU), Australia
- Jens Diebold
Head of Sustainable Development, Holcim, Switzerland
- Diébédo Francis Kéré
Principal of Kéré Architecture, Germany/Burkina Faso
- Hashim Sarkis
Dean of the School of Architecture & Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA
- Stuart Smith
Director at Arup, United Kingdom
- Werner Sobek
Director of the Institute for Lightweight Structures & Conceptual Design (ILEK), University of Stuttgart, Germany
- Brinda Somaya
Principal Architect & Managing Director, Somaya & Kalappa Consultants, India
- Rolf Soiron
Member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Switzerland
Winners of the Global Holcim Awards and Ideas prizes 2018
Follow web links for project presentations by authors, and appraisal and video statements by the jury
Global Holcim Awards Gold 2018
Hydropuncture – Publicly accessible water retention and treatment complex, Mexico City, Mexico.
Project intermingling flood basins and public amenities in an underprivileged area, with spaces arranged to follow the gravitational flow of water.
By Loreta Castro Reguera, Taller Capital; and Manuel Perló Cohen, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico.
Global Holcim Awards Silver 2018
Legacy Restored – Religious and secular complex, Dandaji, Niger.
A re-interpretation of traditional local construction for a new mosque and community center, creating a space in the village open to all.
By Mariam Kamara, atelier masomi, Niamey, Niger; and Yasaman Esmaili, studio chahar, Tehran, Iran.
Global Holcim Awards Bronze 2018
Grassroots Microgrid – Communtiy-driven neighborhood planning, Detroit, USA.
This neighborhood-scale project re-imagines empty lots as collective infrastructure for energy and food production as well as for civic engagement.
By Constance C. Bodurow, director and Eric Mahoney, designer, studio[Ci], Detroit, USA, and a team of further authors.
Global Holcim Awards Ideas prize 2018
Refrigerating Jar – Shea butter storage for Nyingali community, Karaga District, Ghana.
The striking towers of the storage units are designed for passive cooling and allude to traditional local architecture.
By Wonjoon Han, Gahee Van, VHAN; and Sookhee Yuk, Make Africa Better, Seoul, South Korea.
Global Holcim Awards Ideas prize 2018
Cooling Roof – Prototype for an evaporative roof for radiant cooling, Cherry Valley, CA, USA.
Research investigation on cooling large-scale structures using water on the roof as a thermal insulator and solar reflector.
By Georgina Baronian, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA.
Global Holcim Awards Ideas prize 2018
Territorial Figure – Tidal energy landscape, Punta Loyola, Argentina.
Infrastructure-landscape project for the generation of electric power based on tidal flow in the Río Gallegos estuary.
By Stefano Romagnoli, Juan Cruz Serafini, and Tomás Pont Apóstolo, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina.