Global Holcim Awards 2018: Gold, Silver, Bronze for design teams led by women

Models for megacities, urban communities, and rural villages win top prizes in the world’s most significant competition for sustainable design

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    Global finalist entry 2018 – Hydropuncture

    Through a set of hard, vegetated squares and gardens, the park provides spaces for all age groups and genders.

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    LafargeHolcim Awards 2017 for Latin America prize handover ceremony, San José

    Winners of the LafargeHolcim Awards Gold 2017 (l-r): Loreta Castro Reguera and Manuel Perló Cohen, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City for Publicly-accessible water retention and treatment complex in Mexico.

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    Global finalist entry 2018 – Legacy Restored

    New mosque under construction.

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    Global finalist entry 2018 – Grassroots Microgrid

    The strategic neighbour hood design framework addresses infrastructure (energy, water, food, water, and mobility) and renewable systems (workforce development, empowerment, education, culture, and economic development).

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    LafargeHolcim Awards 2017 for North America prize handover ceremony, Chicago

    Winners of the LafargeHolcim Awards Gold celebrate (l-r): Constance Bodurow from studio[Ci], Detroit, USA with Eric Mahoney, Will Bright, Haibin Tan and Jinru Shen.

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    Holcim Awards 2017 for Middle East Africa prize handover ceremony, Nairobi

    Winners of the Holcim Awards Gold 2017 Middle East Africa (l-r): Iranian architect Yasaman Esmaili and Nigerien architect Mariam Kamara for Legacy Restored: Religious and secular complex, Dandaji, Niger.

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    Global LafargeHolcim Awards 2018 – Jury meeting, March 9 2018 – Zurich

    Members of the global jury in the exhibition of finalist submissions (l-r): Rolf Soiron, Roland Köhler (observer), Marc Angélil, Alejandro Aravena, Brinda Somaya, Xuemei Bai, Diébédo Francis Kéré, and Stuart Smith.

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    Global LafargeHolcim Awards 2018 – Jury meeting, March 9 2018 – Zurich

    Members of the global jury (l-r): Rolf Soiron, Werner Sobek, Alejandro Aravena and Xuemei Bai.

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    Global LafargeHolcim Awards 2018 – Jury meeting, March 9 2018 – Zurich

    1Members of the global jury (l-r): Rolf Soiron, Alejandro Aravena, and Xuemei Bai.

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    Global LafargeHolcim Awards 2018 – Jury meeting, March 9 2018 – Zurich

    Members of the global jury (l-r): Marc Angélil, Stuart Smith, Brinda Somaya and Diébédo Francis Kéré.

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    Global LafargeHolcim Awards 2018 – Jury meeting, March 9 2018 – Zurich

    The global jury review the finalist submissions for the Global LafargeHolcim Awards 2018.

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    Shea butter storage for Nyingali community, Karaga District, Ghana

    Operating principles: Thermodynamic cooler storage. Shea butter store gets preserved by the cooling effect of evaporating water using no electricity. Basic technology mainly used in emerging countries.

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    LafargeHolcim Awards 2017 for Middle East Africa prize handover ceremony, Nairobi

    Acknowledgement prize winners (l-r): Gahee Van and Wonjoon Han of VHAN and Sookhee Yuk, Make Africa Better, all Seoul, South Korea for Refrigerating Jar: Shea butter storage for Nyingali community, Karaga District, Ghana.

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    Prototype for an evaporative roof for radiant cooling, Cherry Valley, CA, USA

    Atmospheres of climate: Harnessing the absorption and transmission properties of water, which mirror that of low-E glass, the proposal allows light in the visible spectrum to provide natural daylighting while blocking ultraviolet and infrared radiation. A unique quality of light would be achieved, the gentle movement of the water above transmitting the atmosphere of the day outside within and allowing the expression of the temporal nature of climate.

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    LafargeHolcim Awards 2017 for North America prize handover ceremony, Chicago

    Georgina Baronian from Princeton University won the Next Generation 1st prize for a Prototype for a cooling roof.

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    Tidal energy landscape, Punta Loyola, Argentina

    Based on a local, regional and international study of Patagonia, we recognized ecological, topographic, migratory and natural orders. Hence, an isolated tidal lagoon is designed based on four categories: environment, water production, energy and tourism. From them, the user appropriates this water infrastructure, generating multiple tensions in permanent relationship with the landscape. The proposal responds to the need of a person, the development of a country and the health of the planet.

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    LafargeHolcim Awards 2017 for Latin America prize handover ceremony, San José

    Winners of the Next Generation 1st prize for Territorial Figure in Argentina, Punta Loyola, Argentina (l-r): Tomás Pont Apóstolo, Stefano Romagnoli and Juan Cruz Serafini, all Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina.

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.

Last updated: March 28, 2018 Zurich, Switzerland

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.