The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction held a workshop with a hand-selected group of next generation experts to plot future challenges and ideas on transforming the built environment. In a first-of-its kind event for the Holcim Foundation, the workshop brought together the 11 members of its Next Generation Accelerator (NGX) group representing ten countries and five continents – to develop suggestions for the Foundation’s future strategy and activities.
The climate emergency is a global challenge, with local, national, and planetary dimensions the likes of which the world has yet to face. Since buildings and construction are responsible for 37% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions(*) the sector must play a critical role in preventing global warming beyond 1.5°C.
Empowering the next generation
The Holcim Foundation aims to support the industry transformation needed for climate adaptation and mitigation in the built environment to respond to the challenges and opportunities of our time. Empowering the next generation of professionals in the building and construction industry is key to turning this vision into reality. The two-day workshop identified a set of ideas on how the Holcim Foundation can best partner and support the industry’s rising stars on achieving transformation at scale.
“We are at a time of climate emergency, and we are keenly aware that while it does not affect all of us in the same way – we need to act now!” said Meriem Chabani (France), architect, urban planner and founding partner at New South.
The workshop brainstorming sessions focused on ways to build momentum within the building and construction industry. “This was an opportunity to share ideas, prepare a plan for action together, and also individually think about how we can echo this commitment and involve these tools in a collective, locally relevant way,” explained Meriem.
Amplifying impact to transform the construction industry
Following the brainstorming sessions, the proposals on how to amplify impact and partner together were presented to the Board of the Holcim Foundation. “We are absolutely united in our commitment to transform the construction industry to be more sustainable,” explained Maria Atkinson (Australia), Chair of the Board of the Holcim Foundation.
“The Foundation Board was so impressed with the energy, enthusiasm and creativity of this next generation of practitioners that we decided to nominate six of the NGX group to become official Next Generation advisors for the Foundation,” enthused Maria.
Site visits to inspire
The workshop also included immersive site visits to inspire the NGX with tangible examples of sustainable construction in practice. The group visited the Global Holcim Awards Gold 2021 winning project in Winterthur near Zurich, that upgraded an industrial building using circular material flows and toured NEST Dübendorf, a modular research and innovation building that explores the future of materials and construction including “HiLo”, the high performance – low emissions unit.
“It's incredible to see how much common ground there is and common interests and passions across the whole NGX group - which makes me feel good about the future of sustainable design!” said Stefan Novakovic (Canada), writer and journalist specializing in architecture and urbanism.
Next steps for the next generation
Following the Next Generation Accelerator (NGX) workshop, the Holcim Foundation will work with its Next Generation Ambassadors to select and support the implementation of ideas that can help raise the profile of sustainable construction at both local and global level.
(*) United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). 2021 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction: Towards a zero-emissions, efficient and resilient buildings, and construction sector. 2021.