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“Inspired driver of sustainability”

A remarkable number of projects by German authors were prize-winners in the third International Holcim Awards competitions, resulting in the exhibition “MACHEN! The German winners of the Holcim Awards 2011/12” at the Aedes Architekturforum in Berlin. The six-week-long exhibition attracted some 5,000 visitors – and also included three panel discussions by the prize-winning project teams on the themes of (re)building the city to allow the coexistence of different lifestyles; using the entire spectrum of materials; as well as rediscovering and modernizing traditional architectural techniques.

Director of the internationally-recognized Aedes Forum, Hans-Jürgen Commerell, explained that the exhibition was an important and successful contribution to actively promoting sustainability and a global shift in the approaches used within architecture and urban development. “The exhibition was met with great interest and has also received substantive international recognition,” he said. 

Six reflective approaches to architectural design

The exhibition presented the Global Holcim Awards Gold (Kéré Architecture), Bronze (realities:united) and Innovation prize (Barkow Leibinger) as well as the Gold winning project from Asia Pacific (Ziegert | Roswag | Seiler Architekten Ingenieure), Bronze winning project from Africa Middle East (Heringer Rauch Nägele Weibel Naji) and the European Acknowledgement prize winning entry (Sauerbruch Hutton).

All six projects are based on a reflective approach to how architects must use their own creative and conceptual skills to create a truly sustainable building – where technology is employed not for its own sake, but as a means to a well-executive series of objectives.

Setting an example

A Global Holcim Awards finalist certificate was presented to the team of Anna Heringer, Martin Rauch and Nägele Waibel architects with Salima Naji, for their approach to updating traditional building techniques with the Training Center for Sustainability in Morocco. The design of the German-Austrian-Moroccan team for a school near Marrakesh demonstrates how well earth can be combined with modern technology and a contemporary architectural language.

Project co-author and architect Anna Heringer emphasized the approach of the team was to ensure the school promoted earthen walls for their superior performance, and also to enhance the future prospects of local youth by providing practical education and vocational qualifications. “Our approach to building ensures that human resources are used as sensibly as possible,” she said.

Modernizing tradition

A further Global Holcim Awards finalist certificate was presented to Ziegert | Roswag | Seiler Architekten Ingenieure for a multi-level school building in Pakistan by using a ground level cob construction with lightweight bamboo upper floor. The new school structure demonstrates the effective combination of traditional building methods, enhanced through practical and conscious application of technology.

Project main author Eike Roswag explained that the project is playing a part in creating a unique local architecture, with the potential to transfer the approach to many other regions, particularly in less-developed countries. “We are not here as Western do-gooders or know-it-alls, but as friends with some know-how,” he said.

Global overview of contemporary approaches to sustainable construction

Hans-Jürgen Commerell praised the Holcim Awards competition for bringing together a global overview of contemporary approaches to sustainable construction. “The competition has become an inspirational driver and truly global archive of the status quo of the current interpretation and methods regarding sustainability in architecture and urban development,” he said.

The Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction competition seeks innovative, future-oriented and tangible construction projects to promote sustainable responses to the technological, environmental, socioeconomic and cultural issues affecting building and construction on a local, regional and global level. The next Holcim Awards competition will open for entries on July 1, 2013. 

Last Updated: August 18, 2012
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Berlin, Germany
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