Holcim Foundation


Impetus for boldness

Benefits of global design competitions featured in special issue of L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui

Impetus for boldness

The LafargeHolcim Awards boost designs which might be radical, new, difficult, original or untried says architecture critic Edwin Heathcote in a special issue of L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui (AA).

There are design competitions which call for solutions to a brief and then there are competitions which pit already completed projects against each other. But, arguably, the most useful competitions, the ones which can have the most impact globally with relatively minimal means, are those which recognise the originality and interest in a project which is already in the ether and which give it the impetus to become reality.

by Edwin Heathcote

Architecture is always a process pitted against the forces of conservatism and finance and the most innovative ideas often struggle to be seen and heard amidst the clamour. Where an international panel of judges and the backing of a globally recognised sponsor can identify something special, something that looks interesting and different and is attempting something ambitious, it is often precisely that recommendation which leads local figures to recognise the achievement and the potential.

There is, of course, an irony in the idea that what is often most directly under the noses of those involved is invisible until others from half a world away identify it as something of interest, but it is the way the world works. That validation is often precisely the trigger that young architects need to be able to persuade and convince others that their plans have value.

The role of this kind of competition is the value it adds, the boost it gives to a design which might be radical, new, difficult, original or untried. Without them, so many new ideas may never get realised, so many transferable technologies and innovations may remain unbuilt.

Read more about the benefits of global design competitions in the special issue of AA which brings together almost 50 experts affiliated with the LafargeHolcim Awards. 

Impetus for boldness / Appel à projets audacieux – ‘A’A’ presents Global design competitions (English/French) (flip book)

Impetus for boldness / Impulso a la audacia – ‘A’A’ presents Global design competitions (English/Spanish) (flip book)

International LafargeHolcim Awards for Sustainable Construction open for entries

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 offers a total of USD 2 million in prize money and foregrounds projects and concepts from architecture, engineering, urban planning, materials and construction technology, and related fields.

LafargeHolcim Awards – Open for entries

Last Updated: July 12, 2019
Article Details
Paris, France
Related Information
Related News
Competitions boost projects, careers and networking opportunities
Competitions boost projects, careers and networking opportunities

A special issue of L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui (AA) brings together almost 50 experts affiliated with the LafargeHolcim Awards. The…

Related People
Edwin Heathcote
Edwin Heathcote

Edwin Heathcote is architecture and design critic of Financial Times, and is the author of books on architecture and design.

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