Holcim Foundation



Sustainable construction as a key to better urban life

The winners of the 3rd International Holcim Awards competition for sustainable construction projects and visions from across Latin America have been announced. A total of USD 300,000 was presented to eleven outstanding projects at a ceremony in Buenos Aires. The winning projects mainly address the challenges of intensified urbanization – and range in scale from innovative community buildings through to broad master plans and infrastructure projects. 

The Swiss-based Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction conducts the competition in parallel in five regions across the world. More than 6,000 submissions for projects located in 146 countries entered the Holcim Awards which aims to promote sustainable responses from the building and construction industry to technological, environmental, socioeconomic and cultural issues. 

Holcim Awards Gold to a civic infrastructure hub in Brazil

A multifunctional public building in the Paraisópolis favela of São Paulo, Brazil won the top prize of USD 100,000. TheGrotão – Fábrica de Música prevents further erosion and dangerous mudslides on the steep slopes and provides social and cultural infrastructure to a community which is effectively separated from the formal city. The project led by Alfredo Brillembourg of Urban Think Tank includes a terraced public space featuring areas for urban agriculture, a water management system, a public amphitheater, a music school, a small concert hall, sports facilities, public spaces and transport infrastructure. 

Head of the jury and Dean of Architecture at the Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA) in Mexico City, Carolyn Aguilar, praised the project for its unifying concept, premium cultural facilities, architectural quality, and integrated involvement of the local community in a socially-inclusive planning and management approach. “The project has the potential to contribute to an enrichment of social awareness and cohesion in the area, and applies technical features in an exemplary and educative character,” she said.

Silver Award to a post-tsunami reconstruction master plan in Chile

The Holcim Awards Silver was presented to a strategic response to the earthquake and tsunami risk in the coastal city of Constitución, Chile. Instead of considering a construction ban or a massive barrier along the risk zones, the project led by Alejandro Aravena of ELEMENTAL S.A. recommends planting forests along the flood-prone areas to dissipate the energy of waves through friction and implementing specific restrictions on the use and layout of ground floor spaces in the risk zone. The project advocates a long-term strategy to upgrade the built environment rather than implementing an ad hoc action plan to reconstruct the part of the city that was destroyed by the tsunami and earthquake. The approach was also applauded by the jury for integrating citizen participation to enhance the contextual and social sensitivity of the master plan.

Urban regeneration master plan in Mexico wins Bronze Award

The Holcim Awards Bronze was awarded to a master plan designed by Jose Castillo of arquitectura 911sc for the northwest sector of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, which suffers from increasing violence due to its strategic position for drugs and arms trafficking. The project is based on the consolidation of existing water retention basins to mitigate future flooding, and their conversion into public spaces including agricultural terraces, community workshops, commercial lots, playgrounds, sporting facilities, a skate park and progressive housing units. The project was recognized for providing space for economic, educational and recreational activities with the overall intention to strengthen community networks.

Projects in Mexico, Argentina and Chile receive Acknowledgements

Acknowledgement prizes were allocated to three submissions from Mexico: a project led by Jorge Ambrosi ofAmbrosi Arquitectos for an ecological awareness and recreation reserve in Banderilla; the recovery of the rail transport network in the Oaxaca Valley by Gustavo Madrid Vazquez of espacio entre tiempo Architects; and, an urban transit corridor and river remediation master plan for Mexico City led by Elias Cattan of Taller13 Arquitectura Regenerativa. A library in Rosario, Argentina with an integrated community outreach program led by Alfredo Tapia ofAFT Arquitectos and the proposal by Mathias Klotz of klotz y asociados ltda for a green university library in Santiago, Chile also received Acknowledgement prizes. 

“Next Generation” prizes for post-graduate student visions

The Holcim Awards competition recognizes the importance of engaging tomorrow’s professionals on the theme of sustainable construction, and sharing their visions and ideas. The “Next Generation” category was open to student projects. The first prize was awarded to a team of students led by Mauro Ivan Barrio, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (UNC) in Argentina for their vision of an energy self-sufficient water desalination facility. A proposal to reinvigorate waterways for transportation and sustainable development in Puerto Suárez, Bolivia, by Martin Fernández de Lema of the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), Argentina received the second prize. A team led by Gabriel Kozlowski Maia of Pontifícia Universidade Católica (PUC-Rio), Brazil was awarded the third prize for a proposal to densify and upgrade the PUC-Rio campus. 

Independent jury of international experts in architecture and sustainability

Holcim Awards submissions for projects in Latin America were evaluated by an independent jury hosted by the UIA in Mexico City: Carolyn Aguilar (Head, Mexico), Marc M Angélil (Switzerland), Daniel Bermúdez (Colombia), Angelo Bucci (Brazil), Vanderley M John (Brazil), Andreas Leu (Switzerland), Michel Rojkind (Mexico), Hans-Rudolf Schalcher (Switzerland) and Bruno Stagno (Costa Rica) used the five “target issues” for sustainable construction developed by the Holcim Foundation to evaluate submissions. The “target issues” address the triple bottom line of economic, environmental, and social factors together with architectural quality and the potential to apply the innovation in other locations.

Ceremony in Buenos Aires as part of a series of Holcim Awards announcements for 2011

The Holcim Awards ceremony for Latin America in Buenos Aires follows the presentation of winners in Milan and Casablanca. The series of events will continue to Washington DC and conclude in Singapore. The projects that receive Holcim Awards Gold, Silver and Bronze in each region automatically qualify for the Global Holcim Awards next year. In addition, all prize-winning projects at the regional level – including the Acknowledgement and “Next Generation” winners – will automatically compete for Global Holcim Innovation prizes which are being introduced in 2012, coinciding with the centennial anniversary of the Holcim Group. Winners of the Global Holcim Awards will be announced in April 2012.

The Holcim Awards is an international competition of the Holcim Foundation which seeks innovative, future-oriented and tangible sustainable construction projects and offers prize money of USD 2 million per three-year competition cycle. The competition is run in cooperation with renowned partner universities: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), Switzerland; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA, USA; Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA) in Mexico City, Mexico; Ecole Supérieure d’Architecture de Casablanca (EAC), Morocco; Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Bombay) in Mumbai, India; Tongji University (TJU) in Shanghai, China; Universidade de São Paulo (USP), Brazil; and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

The Holcim Foundation is supported by Holcim Ltd and its Group companies in more than 70 countries and is independent of its commercial interests. Holcim is one of the world’s leading suppliers of cement and aggregates (crushed stone, gravel and sand) as well as further activities such as ready-mix concrete and asphalt including services. 


Holcim Awards

Holcim Awards Gold 2011 – USD 100,000
Urban remediation and civic infrastructure hub, São Paulo, Brazil
Main author: Alfredo Brillembourg, Urban Think Tank, Brazil
Further author: Hubert Klumpner, Urban Think Tank, Brazil

Holcim Awards Silver 2011 – USD 50,000
Sustainable post-tsunami reconstruction master plan, Constitución, Chile
Main author: Alejandro Aravena, ELEMENTAL S.A., Chile
Further authors: Víctor Oddó, Gonzalo Arteaga, Fernando García-Huidobro, Diego Torres, Cristián Martínez, and Juan Cerda, ELEMENTAL S.A., Chile, Alejandro Gutiérrez, Arup, United Kingdom, Eugenio Tironi, Tironi Asosciados, Chile

Holcim Awards Bronze 2011 – USD 25,000
Urban regeneration master plan, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico
Main author: Jose Castillo, arquitectura 911sc, Mexico
Further author: Saidee Springall, arquitectura 911sc, Mexico

Acknowledgement prizes

Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prizes 2011 – USD 15,000 each prize
Ecological awareness and recreation reserve, Banderilla, Mexico
Main author: Jorge Ambrosi, Ambrosi Arquitectos, Mexico
Further author: Pablo Rodolfo Pardo, Pardo Cué Arquitectos, Mexico

Green university library, Santiago, Chile
Author: Mathias Klotz, klotz y asociados ltda, Chile

Library with integrated community outreach, Rosario, Argentina
Main author: Alfredo Tapia, AFT Arquitectos, Argentina
Further authors: a team of 19 additional architects and engineers, AFT Arquitectos, Argentina

Recovery of the rail transport network, Oaxaca Valley, Mexico
Author: Gustavo Madrid Vazquez, espacio entre tiempo Architects, Mexico

Urban transit corridor and river remediation master plan, Mexico City, Mexico
Main author: Elias Cattan, Taller13 Arquitectura Regenerativa, Mexico
Further authors: Delfin Montañana, Lucie Nguyen, David Mandujano, and Miguel Mercado, Taller13 Arquitectura Regenerativa, Mexico

"Next Generation" prizes

Holcim Awards “Next Generation” 1st prize 2011 – USD 25,000
Energy self-sufficient water desalination facility, Córdoba, Argentina
Main author: Mauro Ivan Barrio, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (UNC), Argentina
Further authors: Matias Damian Martin and Juan Pablo Accotto, UNC, Argentina

Holcim Awards “Next Generation” 2nd prize 2011 – USD 15,000
Reinvigorated waterways for transportation and sustainable development, Puerto Suárez, Bolivia
Author: Martin Fernández de Lema, Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), Argentina

Holcim Awards “Next Generation” 3rd prize 2011 – USD 10,000
Densification and upgrade of university buildings, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Main author: Gabriel Kozlowski Maia, Pontifícia Universidade Católica (PUC-Rio), Brazil
Further authors: Pedro Salgado Dieguez and Maria Labarthe, PUC-Rio, Brazil

Last Updated: October 06, 2011
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Buenos Aires, Argentina
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