Mentoring and supporting emerging professionals

Research in Practice Grant recipients report on progress to the Academic Committee of the LafargeHolcim Foundation

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    Research in Practice Grant recipients reported on progress of their practice-related research in the field of sustainable construction to the Academic Committee of the LafargeHolcim Foundation.

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    Mariana Popescu, PhD researcher, Block Research Group, ETH Zurich (foreground) shows RPG recipients state-of-the-art research on sustainable construction and materials technology across Switzerland at the Arc-Tec-Lab and NEST.

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    Research in Practice Grant recipients reported on progress of their practice-related research in the field of sustainable construction to the Academic Committee of the LafargeHolcim Foundation.

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    Brick kiln and incremental development project, Soshanguve, South Africa

    Regenerating the Industrial landscape: Once the Brickworks is past its Industrial phase, wetlands and dams are nurtured within excavated quarries and the kiln towers are reprogrammed as bird- and bat roosts. This encourages a rich natural biosphere to develop along the edges of the building and supports indigenous bird life to return to Soshanguve. The wetlands also act as natural water filters and reservoirs for the region, and may be used to cultivate aquaculture for food security.

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    Tidal energy landscape, Punta Loyola, Argentina

    Aerial view of the tidal lagoon. The understanding of climate change as a global issue, in search of an infrastructural proposal that belongs and respects its context. Thinking the landscape as operative land. Isolated, almost encapsulated, to maintain the perfect ecological synchronization of nature, but meticulously thought out to show that human race is able to propose ideas that respect our home: planet Earth.

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    Designing processes for informal settlements, Cairo, Egypt

    Improvitecture optimizes existing conditions through urban acupuncture without destroying self-organized socio-cultural and economical networks and patterns. Tools and proposals use the same tactics of the (in)formal like compactness, incompleteness, hyperfunctionality, urban layering and resource centrality, to re-appropriate and blend with the built environment. Interventions are flexible, hybrid and expandable to comply with future informality and long-term adaptability.

The first LafargeHolcim Research in Practice Grant (RPG) recipients updated members of the Academic Committee (AC) of the LafargeHolcim Foundation on the progress of their research. The RPG update meeting was held at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and followed on from an initial meeting in April 2019 at the 6th Forum in Cairo. The core aim of the RPG program is to mentor and financially-support emerging professionals to conduct leading edge, practice-related research in the field of sustainable construction.

Last updated: September 11, 2019 Zurich, Switzerland

The first LafargeHolcim Research in Practice Grant (RPG) recipients updated members of the Academic Committee (AC) of the LafargeHolcim Foundation on the progress of their research. The RPG update meeting was held at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and followed on from an initial meeting in April 2019 at the 6th Forum in Cairo. The core aim of the RPG program is to mentor and financially-support emerging professionals to conduct leading edge, practice-related research in the field of sustainable construction.

The grant recipients are Heidi Boulanger, University of Pretoria, South Africa, who is furthering her research on integrating production facilities for construction material into rural communities, creating new urban nodes. Stefano Romagnoli, Juan Cruz Serafini, and Tomás Pont are using their grant to advance an infrastructure-landscape project for the generation of electric power by harnessing tidal currents they co-developed at the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina. Nada Nafeh, American University in Cairo, Egypt is developing an approach to improve living conditions in informal settlements.

RPG2020-ETH-143648.jpgState-of-the-art research

RPG recipients were also shown state-of-the-art research on sustainable construction and materials technology across Switzerland at the Arc-Tec-Lab and NEST. The excursion was hosted by Head of the AC, Marc Angélil, Architect and Professor of Architecture & Design, ETH Zurich, members of the AC Harry Gugger, Professor of Architectural & Urban Design and Head, Laboratoire Bâle (laba), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Dirk Hebel, Professor of Sustainable Construction, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie in Karlsruhe, Germany and Guillaume Habert, Professor of Sustainable Construction, Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering, ETH Zurich as well as Mariana Popescu, PhD researcher, Block Research Group, ETH Zurich.

Arch_Tech_Lab is a new building for the Institute of Technology in Architecture at ETH Zurich’s Hönggerberg Campus. The new building will be characterized by digital fabrication, the implementation of building information modelling (BIM), and the zero-emissions concept and in the process forge new paths within digitalized and process-oriented construction systems in the building industry. The Arch_Tech_Lab allows the most recent findings from research to be tested and ultimately introduced as possible new building systems in the construction industry’s innovation process.

LafargeHolcim Awards – Opportunity for the next generation

The LafargeHolcim Awards seek bold ideas from the next generation that combine sustainable construction solutions with architectural excellence. The recipients of the two-year LafargeHolcim Research in Practice Grant (RPG) of USD 75,000 based on the evaluation of their project were selected from Next Generation prize winners of the 5th LafargeHolcim Awards in 2017.