LafargeHolcim Foundation Knowledge Turntable for Sustainable Construction


Focus on five “target issues”

Measuring sustainable construction performance in the LafargeHolcim Awards competition

“The LafargeHolcim Awards are an opportunity to celebrate new ideas and innovations, and to establish a global dialogue with our colleagues,” enthuses Enrique Norten, architect, founder of TEN Arquitectos and member of the Board of the LafargeHolcim Foundation. However, before the LafargeHolcim Awards prizes are conferred, the submissions must be meticulously analyzed and assessed. To facilitate this lengthy process, each applicant must fulfil expectations with regard to several criteria of evaluation set out by the LafargeHolcim Foundation.

Norten_portrait_1503.jpg“In fact, the concept of sustainability is very broad, and the term has been watered down through its wide-ranging uses. From the outset, it seemed obvious to us that we had to precisely define what we meant by ‘sustainable construction’. The ‘target issues’ for sustainable construction are the comprehensive and precious guidelines enabling juries to evaluate projects submitted under the framework of the LafargeHolcim Awards. Our juries use them as the criteria for comparing projects of very different programs, sizes and scopes,” explains Roland Köhler (pictured left, below), chairman of the Board of the LafargeHolcim Foundation.

The ‘target issues’ are grouped under five distinct headings that include a range of more specific elements. The themes of innovation and skills transferability are linked under the name of ‘Progress’. The best use of resources and environmental performance are placed under the term ‘Planet’. ‘Prosperity’ brings to the fore aspects of project economic viability and ‘People’ covers ethical standards and issues of social inclusion. Finally, ‘Place’ enables jurors to consider both the context and the architectural quality of a construction project, and its aesthetics as well.

This particularly effective analytical framework often draws jurors’ attention to focus on precise issues. For example, it gladly questions the way each participant integrates the project into the circular economy. In addition, ‘the highest ethical standards’ are constantly taken into account. To achieve this, the ‘target issues’ definitions require a level of granularity going as far as the examination of working conditions on construction sites but also conditions in all the industries involved for each project.

L18-RolandKoehler_7572.jpgVigilance is also required regarding political aspects, transparency as well as the prevention of corrupt practices. After all, how can a project be exemplary if it has not emerged from untainted conditions of attribution and development? Finally, a construction project is never analyzed through the filter of current events alone. The ‘target issues’ set forth by the Foundation also enable juries to evaluate the way a project may evolve over time but also be transformed or even dismantled. The combination of all these requirements guarantee both the quality of the selected projects and the integrity of the teams acknowledged by the LafargeHolcim Awards.

Text derived from an interview by Jean-Philippe Hugron in ‘A’A’ presents Hors-Série / Perspectives (English/French) – Global design competitions: shaping a sustainable future / construire un avenir durable

LafargeHolcim Awards open for entries

Design competitions boost projects, careers, and networking opportunities. The LafargeHolcim Awards seeks leading projects of professionals as well as bold ideas from the Next Generation that combine sustainable construction solutions with architectural excellence.

The 6th cycle of the international competition is open for entries until February 25, 2020. The Awards offer a total of USD 2 million in prize money and foreground projects and concepts from architecture, engineering, urban planning, materials and construction technology, and related fields. Enter your contribution to sustainable construction in the LafargeHolcim Awards – the world’s most significant competition for sustainable design.

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Last Updated: November 26, 2019
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Zurich, Switzerland
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