Local solutions to enhance the quality of life

Winners of the Holcim Awards 2017 for Middle East Africa

  • 1 / 27

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

    Winners of the LafargeHolcim Awards Acknowledgement prizes (l-r): JongSeo Lee representing Steven Holl Architects (USA for project in Malawi); Massimo Lepore and Raul Pantaleo (Italy for project in Uganda); Philip Murungi and Andrew Amara (Uganda); and Gahee Van, Wonjoon Han and Sookhee Yuk (South Korea for project in Ghana).

  • 2 / 27

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

    Main prize winners (l-r): Fatima-azzahra Bendahmane, Morocco (Silver); Yasaman Esmaili, Iran/USA and Mariam Kamara, Niger/USA (Gold); and Joana Dabaj, Riccardo Conti, Luca Astorri and Joana Dabaj, Lebanon/United Kingdom/Italy (Bronze).

  • 3 / 27

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

    LafargeHolcim Awards Gold 2017 Middle East Africa winners for Religious and secular complex, Dandaji, Niger (l-r): Iranian architect Yasaman Esmaili and Nigerien architect Mariam Kamara.

  • 4 / 27

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

    LafargeHolcim Awards Silver 2017 winner Fatima-azzahra Bendahmane, Ecoactiva, Casablanca, Morocco for Elementary school and craft training center, Aït Benhaddou, Morocco.

  • 5 / 27

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

    LafargeHolcim Awards Bronze 2017 winners (l-r): Ronan Glynn, Joana Dabaj, and Riccardo Conti of CatalyticAction, Lebanon & United Kingdom; Luca Astorri of AOUMM, Italy.

  • 6 / 27

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

    Acknowledgement prize winner Steven Holl Architects, New York, USA represented by Senior Associate JongSeo Lee for Ascending Array: Miracle for Africa Foundation central library, Lilongwe, Malawi.

  • 7 / 27

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

    Acknowledgement prize winner TAMassociati of Trieste and Venice, Italy represented by (l-r): Massimo Lepore and Raul Pantaleo for Reel to Real: Maisha Film Lab headquarters, Kampala, Uganda.

  • 8 / 27

    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.

  • 9 / 27

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

    Acknowledgement prize winners (l-r): Philip Murungi and Andrew Amara of Studio Flame, Kampala, Uganda for Through the Looking-Glass: Odek Center for Nodding Disease, Odek, Uganda.

  • 10 / 27

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

    Winner of the LafargeHolcim Awards Next Generation 1st prize 2017 Middle East Africa Heidi van Eeden, University of Pretoria, Cape Town, South Africa for Brick-Works: Brick kiln and incremental development project, Soshanguve, South Africa.

  • 11 / 27

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

    Winners of the LafargeHolcim Awards Next Generation 2nd prize 2017 Middle East Africa (l-r): Ghaith Abi Ghanem, Beirut, Lebanon and Nour Madi and Jad Melki of Ghaith&Jad, Beirut, Lebanon for Recovering Aleppo: Rubble recycling units, Aleppo, Syria.

  • 12 / 27

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

    Winner of the LafargeHolcim Awards Next Generation 3rd prize 2017 Middle East Africa Nada Nafeh, The American University in Cairo, Egypt for (In)formal Pattern Language: Designing processes for informal settlements, Cairo, Egypt.

  • 13 / 27

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

    Winner of the LafargeHolcim Awards Next Generation 4th prize 2017 Middle East Africa Noor Marji, German Jordanian University, Amman, Jordan for Steps of Amman: Urban stair and library, Amman, Jordan.

  • 14 / 27

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

    Keynote speaker and winner of the Building Better Recognition Middle East Africa 2017 Francis Kéré, Principal of Kéré Architecture, Burkina Faso/Germany for his school building in Burkina Faso, which won the Global LafargeHolcim Award Gold in 2012.

  • 15 / 27

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

    Presenting the Building Better Recognition Middle East Africa 2017 (l-r): José Cantillana, Area Manager LafargeHolcim for East and South Africa congratulating Francis Kéré, Principal of Kéré Architecture, Burkina Faso/Germany for his school building in Burkina Faso, which won the Global LafargeHolcim Award Gold in 2012.

  • 16 / 27

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

    Welcoming guests on behalf of LafargeHolcim, sponsor of the LafargeHolcim Foundation was Saâd Sebbar, Member of the Executive Committee of LafargeHolcim responsible for Middle East Africa: “Sustainability is more than CO2 and ecology, it requires working together, giving opportunities to as many people as possible: Sustainability and sustainable construction are about social equity and fair chances for everybody. That is at the core of the LafargeHolcim Awards competition.”

  • 17 / 27

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

    “In creating the LafargeHolcim Awards, we didn’t want to just pat people on the back for designs that had been completed – we wanted to encourage bold new steps that moved building and construction forward.” - Saâd Sebbar, Member of the Executive Committee of LafargeHolcim responsible for Middle East Africa

  • 18 / 27

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

    Welcoming guests on behalf of the host Country of the LafargeHolcim Awards ceremony for Middle East Africa was Dr. John Simba, Chairman of the Board of Bamburi Cement, the member of LafargeHolcim in Kenya.

  • 19 / 27

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

    Introducing the Holcim Awards competition: Joe Addo, Member of the Awards jury Middle East Africa 2017 and Principal of Constructs, Ghana/USA.

  • 20 / 27

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

    Co-presenter of the LafargeHolcim Awards Next Generation prizes: Kunlé Adeyemi, Member of the Awards jury Middle East Africa 2017 and Principal of NLÉ, Nigeria/The Netherlands.

  • 21 / 27

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

    Presenting the winners of the LafargeHolcim Awards Acknowledgement prizes: Chrisna du Plessis, Member of the Awards jury Middle East Africa 2017 and Head of the Department of Architecture University of Pretoria, South Africa.

  • 22 / 27

    LafargeHolcim Awards 2017 for Middle East Africa media briefing, Nairobi

    LafargeHolcim Awards Gold winners Iranian architect Yasaman Esmaili (speaking), and Nigerien architect Mariam Kamara, present their project Religious and secular complex, Dandaji, Niger at the media briefing.

  • 23 / 27

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

    LafargeHolcim Awards Silver winner Fatima-azzahra Bendahmane, Ecoactiva, Casablanca, Morocco presents her project Weaving and Stamping: Elementary school and craft training center, Aït Benhaddou, Morocco at the media briefing.

  • 24 / 27

    LafargeHolcim Awards 2017 for Middle East Africa media briefing, Nairobi

    LafargeHolcim Awards Bronze 2017 winners Joana Dabaj (speaking), CatalyticAction, El Mina Tripoli, Lebanon and Riccardo Conti, CatalyticAction, London, present their project Pavilion Re-claimed: Adaptive reuse for refugee education, the El Marj, Lebanon at the media briefing.

  • 25 / 27

    LafargeHolcim Awards 2017 for Middle East Africa media briefing, Nairobi

    LafargeHolcim Awards Next Generation 1st prize winner Heidi van Eeden, University of Pretoria, Cape Town, South Africa presents her project Brick kiln and incremental development project, Soshanguve, South Africa at the media briefing.

  • 26 / 27

    LafargeHolcim Awards 2017 for Middle East Africa media briefing, Nairobi

    Dr. Daniel O. Manduku, Director of the National Construction Authority of Kenya, explained the national context and the importance of pursuing sustainable construction.

  • 27 / 27

    LafargeHolcim Awards 2017 for Middle East Africa media briefing, Nairobi

    Edward Schwarz, General Manager of the LafargeHolcim Foundation, introduced the Foundation and its activities and put the Awards in a global context.

Sustainability in building is rapidly gaining significance in the Middle East Africa region – particularly among female professionals and young graduates in architecture and engineering. This was clearly seen at the prize-handover ceremony for the regional Holcim Awards in Nairobi, Kenya. The majority of the 11 prize-winning projects dealt with education and the contemporary promotion of traditional manual skills.

Last updated: September 07, 2017 Nairobi, Kenya

The Holcim Awards is about more than just beautiful buildings and stands out as the world’s most significant competition in sustainable design. The criteria of the USD 2 million competition are as challenging as sustainability is itself. In addition, the competition acknowledges only projects, not finished work. That’s because the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, which is responsible for the Awards, seeks designs that go beyond current standards and deliver new, surprising, or truly visionary solutions to the way we build.

Prizes help make common sense become commonplace

This idea has caught on – and the momentum of interest among architects, engineers, urban planners, and developers proves that sustainability has become embedded as “common sense” in the construction industry. The fifth cycle of the competition attracted 5,085 entries from authors in 121 countries. 3,606 entries were deemed valid and more than half of these passed the pre-screening phase. They advanced to the qualitative assessment by five independent expert juries in the competition regions Europe, North America, Latin America, Middle East Africa, and Asia Pacific. The juries evaluated the projects based on the five “target issues” for sustainable construction set forth by the Holcim Foundation – principles which define sustainability in a holistic way.

A17MEAng1ZA-02.jpgMore young participants than ever before

Prizes are awarded in two categories. The Next Generation category for students and professionals up to 30 years of age has become increasingly popular. The category seeks visionary projects and bold ideas, and gives young professionals public exposure and a platform to achieve recognition. For the first time in the history of the Holcim Awards, more projects were submitted in the Next Generation category than in the main category – showing just how future-oriented the competition is.

The main Awards category is open for professionals to showcase sustainable responses to technological, environmental, socioeconomic and cultural issues affecting contemporary building and construction. The Holcim Awards Gold, Silver, and Bronze as well as Acknowledgement prizes are handed over in each region. The Gold, Silver and Bronze winners from each region will compete for the Global Holcim Awards in 2018. 

Building to fight poverty

Although construction is a globalized industry with intensive exchange across continents, significant differences were seen between the projects in each region. “In Middle East Africa, poverty is one of the main issues,” says Sarah Nichols, representative of the Academic Committee of the Holcim Foundation. Jury member and civil engineer Mohsen Ech adds: “Here we have areas with almost no level of education, regions where building materials are difficult to acquire, and zones in conflict.” Many project authors responded to these challenges by developing innovative and local solutions to improve the quality of life in the immediate environment.

The importance of the competition in promoting the work of women in sustainable construction was also consolidated. Nagwa Sherif, architecture professor from the American University in Cairo and head of the independent jury for Middle East Africa, pointed out that a striking majority of the 670 valid projects in this region were designed by female professionals – not only in the Next Generation but also in the main Awards category.

A17_MEA_Gold_Esmaili_Kamara_1.jpgGold Award: Combining spiritual tradition and modern knowledge in Niger

Knowledge is power. With their project, Nigerien architect Mariam Kamara and Iranian architect Yasaman Esmaili aim to create a platform for passing on such knowledge to the inhabitants of the region around Dandaji village in Niger. They propose transforming a mosque into a library. A new mosque in the immediate vicinity is intended to weave together spiritual tradition and modern technical development. “The close engagement with the social and built fabric of the village creates an intelligent reinterpretation of tradition that is very much at home in the project’s context,” said the jury.

Silver Award: Promoting traditional trade skills in Morocco

Fatima-azzahra Bendahmane from Morocco proposes a multi-generation complex in Aït Benhaddou in Morocco for training young people and promoting local manual skills. The building, to be constructed with the simplest of traditionally rooted methods and materials, houses a school for children and an artisan training center. “By explicitly incorporating the craft traditions that the project aims to advance, the building’s construction actively cultivates its own program,” said the jury.

Bronze Award: School for refugees in Lebanon

Innumerable Syrian children currently inhabit the refugee camps of Lebanon. Joana Dabaj, Riccardo Conti and Matteo Zerbi of CatalyticAction in Lebanon aim to engage with these children and help prepare them for life after relocation. They propose to create a dignified learning environment for children at the Jarahieh Informal Tented Settlement in the El Marj by relocating a pavilion from Expo 2015 in Milan. “The project provides not only space for education but also a dignified environment as a source of pride for the community who helped to build it,” praised the jury.

Acknowledgement prizes: Improving the lives of people

Four projects in each region receive an Acknowledgement prize. Wonjoon Han, Sookhee Yuk and Gahee Van from South Korea developed new architectural structures to enhance the viability of shea butter processing in Ghana. The team of TAMassociati from Italy is giving the African continent an artistic voice that will be heard around the world through their building for Maisha Film Labs in Kampala, Uganda. At the campus of the Miracle for Africa Foundation in Lilongwe, Malawi, Steven Holl from the USA proposes a new library to be built by the local workforce. Finally, Andrew Amara from Uganda is planning a new children’s department in the Center for Nodding Disease in Odek, Uganda.

A17_MEA_NG_GROUP_Madi_Ghanem_Melki_Marji_N…Next Generation prizes: The future is in their hands

The first of four Next Generation prizes in the region went to Heidi van Eeden from South Africa. She is developing new sustainable methods of brickmaking in Soshanguve township, South Africa. The second prize went to Nour Madi, Jad Melki and Ghaith Abi Ghanem from Lebanon. They are investigating ways of rebuilding the war-ravaged city of Aleppo in Syria using the rubble of destroyed buildings. Nada Nafeh from Egypt received the third prize in this category. With her project, she aims to improve living conditions in informal settlements in Cairo. The fourth prize went to Noor Marji of Jordan. She proposes a monumental terraced learning center in Amman, Jordan.

From project to reality in Burkina Faso

Many of the awarded projects ultimately end up being constructed or produced – over half of the prize-winning projects from the four previous competition cycles have been or will be built in the near future. This fact is underscored by the Holcim Building Better Recognition, which is being awarded for the first time in 2017. It honors a prize-winning project from a previous competition cycle that is a particularly successful example of sustainable construction, has been built and stood the test of time. In Middle East Africa, this accolade went to Francis Kéré from Germany for his school building in Burkina Faso, which won the Global Holcim Award Gold in 2012. In his motivating and candid speech at the Awards ceremony in Nairobi, Francis Kéré affirmed that sustainable construction requires an attitude that goes well beyond design and makes a difference for future generations.

Holcim Awards winning projects Middle East Africa

Main Category prizes

Holcim Awards Gold 2017 Middle East Africa – USD 100,000
Legacy Restored: Religious and secular complex, Dandaji, Niger
A reinterpretation 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, Niger and Niamey, Niger; and Yasaman Esmaili, studio chahar, Iran

Holcim Awards Silver 2017 Middle East Africa – USD 50,000
Weaving and Stamping: Elementary school and craft training center, Aït Benhaddou, Morocco
A learning complex that uses architecture, form, and space to claim artisanship and handiwork as living and modern traditions.
By Fatima-azzahra Bendahmane, Ecoactiva, Casablanca, Morocco

Holcim Awards Bronze 2017 Middle East Africa – USD 30,000
Pavilion Re-claimed: Adaptive reuse for refugee education, the El Marj, Lebanon
Located in an informal settlement for Syrian refugees, the project creates a dignified school environment using a repurposed pavilion.
By Joana Dabaj, CatalyticAction, El Mina Tripoli, Lebanon; Riccardo Conti, Matteo Zerbi, and team, CatalyticAction, London, United Kingdom

Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prize 2017 Middle East Africa – USD 20,000
Ascending Array: Miracle for Africa Foundation central library, Lilongwe, Malawi
Gently curving roof elements and screen enclosures for a library transcending sustainable construction into one integrated design.
By Steven Holl, Steven Holl Architects, New York, USA

Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prize 2017 Middle East Africa – USD 20,000
Reel to Real: Maisha Film Lab headquarters, Kampala, Uganda
A film training center in East Africa conceived as a cinematic series of spaces wrapped in brick to empower a new generation of filmmakers.
By TAMassociati, Trieste and Venice, Italy

Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prize 2017 Middle East Africa – USD 20,000
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

Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prize 2017 Middle East Africa – USD 20,000
Through the Looking-Glass: Odek Center for Nodding Disease, Odek, Uganda
Exuberant and playful transformation of traditional type forms for a healing center for children aimed at community-building after decades of conflict.
By Andrew Amara, Studio Flame, Kampala, Uganda

Next Generation prizes

Holcim Awards Next Generation 1st prize 2017 Middle East Africa – USD 25,000
Brick-Works: Brick kiln and incremental development project, Soshanguve, South Africa
A proof that brick-making can be technically sustainable and deliver a social contribution to community-making.
By Heidi van Eeden, University of Pretoria, Cape Town, South Africa

Holcim Awards Next Generation 2nd prize 2017 Middle East Africa – USD 20,000
Recovering Aleppo: Rubble recycling units, Aleppo, Syria
Rubble recycling units combining the rebuilding of the constructed habitat with the rebuilding of devastated communities.
By Nour Madi; Jad Melki, and Ghaith Abi Ghanem, Ghaith&Jad, Beirut, Lebanon

Holcim Awards Next Generation 3rd prize 2017 Middle East Africa – USD 15,000
(In)formal Pattern Language: Designing processes for informal settlements, Cairo, Egypt
Design of an “(in)formal pattern language” to improve the conditions of poverty-stricken and fast-growing informal neighborhoods.
By Nada Nafeh, The American University in Cairo, Egypt

Holcim Awards Next Generation 4th prize 2017 Middle East Africa – USD 10,000
Steps of Amman: Urban stair and library, Amman, Jordan
An urban stair and library transcending disciplinary boundaries by simultaneously being a building, an urban infrastructure, and patch of landscape.
By Noor Marji, German Jordanian University, Amman, Jordan