Evaluating projects in a virtual meeting across up to five time zones and continents is a new experience for many members of the regional LafargeHolcim Awards juries. The panels that are usually physical meetings hosted by associated universities of the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction are being replaced by multi-day online sessions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nevertheless, there is a tangible component to the panels: The Head of the Academic Committee (AC) of the Foundation, the Awards jury secretary and representatives of Berlin-based [phase eins], a company specialized in architectural competitions, coordinate the meetings together, moderating parallel discussion sessions between the members of the virtual juries.
In order to best respect social distancing precautions, these gatherings take place in the spacious meeting facilities of LafargeHolcim in Switzerland in Eclépens. It is not a coincidence that this cement plant near Lausanne was chosen to host the meetings: it sets international benchmarks with regard to sustainability by using alternative fuels and raw materials, reducing emissions and turning its surplus heat into energy.
Prize handovers postponed
Marilyne Andersen, Professor of Sustainable Construction Technologies at the EPFL Lausanne, Head of the AC and member of the Board, represents the Foundation in all five jury meetings. The regional juries are chaired by Loreta Castro, Taller Capital, Mexico for Latin America; Mariam Kamara, atelier masōmī, Niger for Middle East Africa (pictured left); Jeannette Kuo, Karamuk Kuo Architecture, Switzerland for Europe; Nirmal Kishnani, National University of Singapore for Asia Pacific; and Reed Kroloff, IIT Chicago, USA for North America. Each regional jury panel consists of independent, renowned representatives from science, business and society as well as an expert from the LafargeHolcim Innovation Centre in France.
Following a comprehensive verification process, the LafargeHolcim Awards winning projects and their authors will be celebrated in 2021 since the five regional prize handover events had to be postponed due to the pandemic. In each region, an Awards Gold, Silver and Bronze will be presented, as well as Acknowledgement and Next Generation prizes.
Half of the entered projects make it to the juries
The 6th International LafargeHolcim Awards for projects and visions in sustainable construction attracted almost 5,000 entries by authors in more than 120 countries. Over 40% of the projects were submitted in the Next Generation category for students and professionals up to 30 years of age. [phase eins] led the multi-stage process to check that submissions adhere to the conditions of the competition. Roughly half of all entered projects meet these requirements and are submitted to the jurors for appraisal.
Five “target issues” for sustainable construction serve as the criteria for evaluating and comparing projects from diverse locations and a wide range of programs. For the first time, Main Category entrants were required to provide a qualitative response on CO2 Lifecycle Assessment, taking into account embodied carbon in design, construction, operation and deconstruction.
The LafargeHolcim Awards is the world’s most significant competition in sustainable design and offers prize money of USD 2 million per cycle of regional and global Awards. The Swiss-based LafargeHolcim Foundation is an initiative of LafargeHolcim, the global leader in building materials and solutions with the ambition to lead the industry in reducing carbon emissions and shifting towards low-carbon construction.