Watch a summary of statements by authors of Holcim Awards prize-winning projects in North America: What contribution does my project make to sustainable construction?
Poreform, a water absorptive surface and subterranean basin that captures rain runoff and adds over 75,000 megaliters (20 billion gallons) to the water supply capacity of Las Vegas won the top prize. Designers Amy Mielke and Caitlin Taylor of Water Pore Partnership (USA) reposition water infrastructure as a civic project. Capable of rapid saturation and slow release, the flood-control pores of this “urban skin” are inlets to a new infrastructure that reframes water as a valuable resource rather than a liability.
The jury praised the Holcim Awards Gold winning project for developing infrastructure as an architectural undertaking that is reclaimed as a truly public matter of concern, balancing social and design imperatives. “While designed for a specific site, the project offers a welcome answer to the general problem of water scarcity – a straightforward, but nonetheless beautiful proposition for a global challenge.”
The BIG U project that addresses New York City’s vulnerability to coastal flooding by using a raised berm and sequence of public spaces along the water’s edge won the Holcim Awards Silver. The 13km (8 mi) long infrastructural barrier to mitigate the impact of future storms with the devastating force of Hurricane Sandy was designed by a consortium led by architects Bjarke Ingels and Kai-Uwe Bergmann of BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group (Denmark/USA). The jury acknowledged the project’s sensitive blend of hard infrastructure and local community needs.
A cluster of circular towers formed using reflective bricks, designed for and commissioned by the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program for construction in New York City received the Holcim Awards Bronze. The structure by David Benjamin of The Living (USA) uses recent advances in biotechnology combined with cutting-edge computation and engineering to create new building materials that are almost fully organically-grown and compostable. The jury applauded the investigatory nature of the project, both in terms of its objective to research innovative construction materials and their architectural potential using organic bricks, made of a combination of corn stalks and fungal organisms.