Participants from three countries built the prototype for a modular house in Ethiopia, thereby exchanging knowledge – and showing how living conditions of the very poor can be improved through simple means.
The project was designed as a hands-on assignment for the students for two reasons. First, Dirk Donath believes that all young architects should get their hands dirty on a construction site at least once, to enhance their practical knowledge of the building process. And second, a fundamental requirement for the SICU was that even someone with minimal construction know-how should be able to build one. The students were to prove that even beginners can put the concept into practice.
“We have brought together students and professors from three countries and have exchanged knowledge: all of this will move construction practice in a more sustainable direction, and that really makes a difference!”
As one of the three main Holcim Awards winners for Africa Middle East in 2014, “Incremental Construction” automatically qualified as a finalist in the Global Holcim Awards 2015. All 15 finalist project teams were asked to submit an updated and more comprehensive entry that was evaluated by a global jury in March 2015.
The results of the global phase of the 4th Holcim Awards competition were announced on April 20, 2015.
The winners of the global phase of the 4th International Holcim Awards competition will be revealed on April 20, 2015. The results will be announced via the Holcim Awards website www.holcimawards.org.
The USD 2 million Holcim Awards is the most significant international competition for sustainable design. The jury composed of renowned specialists from around the world and headed by Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University (USA) will evaluate 15 projects out of more than 6,000 submissions. The finalists are the winners of the Holcim Awards Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards 2014 in each of the five competition regions of the world.
The finalist projects competing for one of the three Global Holcim Awards prizes are located in Austria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, France, Italy, Lebanon, Mexico, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, and the USA and were entered by authors from these countries as well as from Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain. They reflect a broad variety of the current interpretation of sustainable construction combined with architectural excellence and enhanced quality of life beyond technical intervention.
The submissions will be evaluated by the Global Holcim Awards 2015 jury including Marc Angélil, Senior Dean of Architecture and Urban Design at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich, Switzerland), Alejandro Aravena, Principal of Elemental (Chile), Maria Atkinson, Founding Director of the Australian Green Building Council (Australia), Meisa Batayneh Maani, Principal of maisam architects and engineers (Jordan), Yolanda Kakabadse, President of WWF International (Ecuador), Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University (USA), Matthias Schuler, Principal of Transsolar(Germany), and Rolf Soiron, Chairman of the Board of the Holcim Foundation (Switzerland).
The winners of the global prizes will share prize money of USD 350,000. Previous winners of the tri-annual Global Holcim Awards include Bureau EAST (Los Angeles, USA), Centola + Associati (Salerno, Italy), Coelacanth and Associates (Tokyo, Japan), Ingenhoven und Partner Architekten (Dusseldorf, Germany), Kéré Architecture (Berlin, Germany), L’OEUF (Montreal, Canada), Public Architecture (San Francisco, USA), Proyectos Arqui5 (Caracas, Venezuela), realities:united (Berlin, Germany), Tsinghua University (Beijing, China), and Urban-Think Tank (São Paulo, Brazil).
About the Holcim Foundation and Holcim
The Swiss-based Holcim Foundation promotes and illustrates the strength of diverse strategies of achieving greater sustainability of the built environment. As part of its approach, the Foundation publishes booklets on outstanding examples of applied sustainable construction. The initiatives of the Holcim Foundation include the USD 2 million Holcim Awards – the most significant international competition for sustainable design.
Since it was established in 2003, the Foundation has been supported by Holcim in more than 70 countries worldwide and is independent of 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.See more
Dirk Donath from Bauhaus University, Germany says the success of his Holcim Awards Bronze winning project comes from trying to act and be treated not as an architect – but to play the role of a mediator to share capacities of the community. “Incremental Construction: Low-cost modular housing scheme” in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia responds to the housing challenge of rapid urbanization, and develops a purposefully incomplete structure that is both affordable and rapid to assemble.
A project conducted in parallel by the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction & City Development (EiABC), Addis Ababa and Bauhaus University, Weimar, Germany received Bronze. The project to explore and implement construction techniques that tangibly upgrade housing stock in the city was led by Dirk Donath. Within this process-oriented project, close to 90% of the building components including prefabricated concrete elements and lightweight eucalyptus frames are produced by local micro and small-scale enterprises. The approach creates the opportunity for skilled employment and capacity building, and also allows homeowners to complete the construction themselves, installing building components and finishes according to their needs.Read more » pour en savoir plus (French) » أقرأ المزيد (Arabic) »
The project incorporates a series of features that promote the concept of sustainability beyond the common understanding of the term. The jury greatly valued the role of the university as a critical player in advancing the constructive framework of the city, engaging a series of stakeholders – city officials, local inhabitants, craftsmen, etc. – in the very formation of the urban habitat. While the project offers strategies for formalizing the informal, at the same time it learns from local construction practices and social customs to produce a new form of urban vernacular – a strategy that essentially informalizes the formal.
The research project Sustainable Incremental Construction Unit (SICU) is a response to the housing challenge in the rapidly-urbanizing capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. The project is process-oriented and aims to both explore and implement specific construction techniques to tangibly upgrade the city’s housing stock. Whereas the first phase of the process was framed by collaboration between academia, local administration, and inhabitants, the second phase is specifically focused on the development of a prototype – a purposefully incomplete structure that is both affordable and rapid to assemble.
Close to 90% of the building components including prefabricated concrete elements and lightweight eucalyptus frames are prefabricated and produced by micro and small-scale enterprises, creating the opportunity for skilled employment and capacity building. The housing unit is a “half-ready construction” where the homeowners will be able to finish the construction themselves, installing building components and finishes according to their needs.
The Sustainable Incremental Construction Unit (SICU) experiment attempts to address the climatic, economic, cultural, and social sustainability of the project context. This is achieved by using locally-available and locally-produced prefabricated building elements with standardized dimensions, an easy to construct modular system, and a culturally and socially motivated design that enables highly flexible forms of occupancy. At the same time, the approach targets mass-customization, affordability and “up-scalability” of the building prototype.
A high proportion of building parts of the house (approaching 90%) are prefabricated in a workshop by micro- and small-scale enterprises, creating the opportunity for new jobs and skills. Considering the current building system in Ethiopia – which is highly dominated by imported building materials, expensive customized processes, and inflexible cast-in-situ systems – this shift will present a cost-efficient and faster alternative for the construction sector.
Through the efficient employment of resources, energy, labor and time, Incremental Construction demonstrates that the city’s complex and seemingly insurmountable installation process of housing units could be overcome. By learning from the experiment, it would be possible to self-construct a very affordable housing unit in less than three months. It also makes it possible to activate private resources and form a private workforce to erect necessary housing units for Ethiopia, which introduces the possibility to do “more with less” and keep the value chains for production and assembly within the country.
Different building elements within the SICU system have been strategically designed and sorted for convenient development by micro, small scale and medium business enterprises. From the SICU building elements manual, pre-existing or newly-organized youth associations can identify a building system or component which is profitable for them, and pursue its production as a business initiative. The pre-prepared design that is modular allows for easy adaptability for small-scale manufacturers to adopt essential details and proportions and then further modify them, as required.
In addition, the physical structure is designed to support the incremental nature of construction in the Addis Ababa context. The approach allows homeowners of incomplete structures to further the construction themselves; installing building components such as enclosure walls, windows, internal partitions, and finishes, according to their needs.Download project entry poster (PDF, 4.33 MB) »See more
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A project conducted in parallel by the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction & City Development …
Dirk Donath from Bauhaus University, Germany says the success of his Holcim Awards Bronze winning project comes from …