The 12 winning projects of the Holcim Awards 2014 for Latin America focus mainly on adaptability and social performance, and show how sustainable construction is developing multi-disciplinary responses to the challenges facing design and building. A public park above a series of reservoirs in Medellín, a low-impact timber rainforest center in Costa Rica and a pedagogically-aligned school in Mexico were awarded gold, silver and bronze.
A jury of international experts led by Bruno Stagno (Costa Rica) selected the winners using the “target issues” for sustainable construction that emphasize the need for architectural excellence and a high degree of transferability – while also including the “triple bottom line” of environmental, social and economic performance. In Latin America, the Holcim Awards recognized 12 projects with a total of USD 330,000 prize money.
Improving life quality: Gold for remediation of an urban park
A landscape and urban design project for a public park in Medellín, Colombia, that merges social imperatives with technical requirements won the top prize. Architects Mario Camargo and Luis Tombé from Colectivo 720 in Colombia designed a park that encompasses landscape and urban design, as well as architecture and urban planning. The public space and pre-existing elements are transformed to create an outdoor auditorium and venues for a range of community activities.
At the prize giving ceremony in Medellín, Bruno Stagno applauded the Holcim Awards Gold project for exploring uncharted and interdisciplinary terrain. “Within the project, aesthetic, social, economic and environmental concerns are combined to form a sophisticated ensemble of public spaces and create a ‘socio-technical’ landscape of magnificent beauty”, he said.
Sustainability as common-sense: Silver for a low-impact timber rainforest center
The headquarters of Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Cordillera Volcánica Central in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, Costa Rica, received the silver award. Román Cordero from PLUG architecture in Mexico designed an elevated wooden structure that is sensitive to its context and uses low-cost passive and active systems to minimize its environmental footprint. The wooden structure is covered by a roof constructed with panels made of recycled aluminium milk packages.
Changing the paradigm of education: Bronze for a pedagogically-aligned school
A school building in San Andrés Payuca in Mexico founded on an alternative educational model that integrates agriculture, farming and building construction into the curriculum received the bronze award. The self-built school design led by architects Julio Amezuca and Francisco Pardo of AT103 in Mexico proposes the use of cement-reinforced compacted earth blocks with tapered corners that permit assembly in a series of curves based on organic principles.
Five Acknowledgement prizes for outstanding public infrastructure
Architects Daniel Bermúdez (Colombia) and Juan Herreros (Spain) received an Acknowledgement prize for their vertically-stacked Ágora Bogotá (International Convention Center) with a minimized building footprint and maximized outdoor public space in the heart of Colombia’s capital.
Damian Fernandez and Joaquin Trillo of Red Comunidades Rurales in Argentina were acknowledged for their center for water harvesting and agricultural production for indigenous and Criollo communities of the Chaco forest in Argentina. Further Acknowledgement prizes went to a site-responsive school in Jacmel, Haiti, designed by a Polish group of architects led by Maciej Suida with indoor and outdoor classrooms that form “neighborhood clusters”; a rural campus for the Universidad del Medio Ambiente in Acatitlán that is dedicated to sustainable development and community regeneration and was designed by a team led by Oscar Hagerman from Mexico; as well as an urban restoration project for Quito by Al Borde Arquitectos from Ecuador that proposes a “social economy” to refurbish the historic center of the city.
Four “Next Generation” prizes for inspiring visions of tomorrow
The Holcim Awards competition also seeks bold ideas in the “Next Generation” category for young professionals and students. The “Next Generation” 1st prize went to a team of students from the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba in Argentina for a riverside infrastructure redeployment plan for Manaus in Brazil. The proposal transfers activities currently on the fragmented waterfront onto a floating platform that connects the river and the city.
Two students from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México received the 2nd prize in the “Next Generation” category for a recycled timber church and community center in Zoh Laguna in Mexico. 3rd prize went to students from Universidad Nacional de Córdoba for an urban regeneration through densification plan for Córdoba, and the 4th prize was presented to a group of students from Universidad Latina (Heredia) and Universidad Hispanoamericana for a library and media center social development project in San José, Costa Rica.
Holcim Awards submissions for projects in Latin America were evaluated by an independent jury hosted by the Institute for Tropical Architecture (Costa Rica) and included Bruno Stagno (head of jury, Costa Rica), Marc Angélil (Switzerland), Tatiana Bilbao (Mexico), Alfredo Brillembourg (Venezuela), Angelo Bucci (Brazil), Fernando Diez (Argentina), Harry Gugger (Switzerland), Vanderley John (Brazil) and Andreas Leu (Switzerland).
Further information on the competition and each winning project including high resolution images for download is available at:
The Holcim Awards ceremony in Medellín for the competition region Latin America was the third in a series of five events following Moscow for Europe and Toronto for North America. Further events will be held in Beirut for Africa Middle East and Jakarta for Asia Pacific. The projects that receive Holcim Awards Gold, Silver and Bronze in each region automatically qualify for the Global Holcim Awards 2015.
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 competition has been run by the Swiss-based Holcim Foundation since 2004 and offers USD 2 million in prize money per three-year cycle.
The Holcim Foundation is supported by Holcim Ltd and its Group companies in around 70 countries and is independent of its 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.
Holcim Awards 2014 prize-winning projects in Latin America
Holcim Awards Gold 2014 – USD 100,000
Articulated Site: Water reservoirs as public park, Medellín, Colombia
Authors: Mario Camargo and Luis Tombé, Colectivo 720, Cali, Colombia
Holcim Awards Silver 2014 – USD 50,000
Arboreal Platform: Low-impact timber rainforest center, Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, Costa Rica
Authors: Román Cordero, PLUG architecture, Mérida, Mexico
Further author: Izbeth Mendoza, PLUG architecture, Mérida, Mexico
Holcim Awards Bronze 2014 – USD 30,000
Children’s House: Pedagogically-aligned school, San Andrés Payuca, Mexico
Main authors: Julio Amezcua and Francisco Pardo, AT103, Mexico City, Mexico
Further authors: Ariel Rojo Design Studio, Esrawe Studio, Entorno Taller de Raisaje, all Mexico City, Mexico and ROW Studio, Cadena + Associates Concept Design ®, Monterrey, Mexico
Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prizes 2014 – each USD 18,500
Breathing Envelope: Vertically-stacked convention center and public spaces, Bogotá, Colombia
Authors: Daniel Bermúdez, Daniel Bermúdez y Cía, Bogotá, Colombia and Juan Herreros, Estudio Herreros, Madrid, Spain
Harvesting Agriculture: Community center for water harvesting and agriculture, Matacos, Formosa, Argentina
Main authors: Damian Fernandez and Joaquin Trillo, Fundacion Red Comunidades Rurales, Tilcara, Jujuy, Argentina
Further author: Vicky Gonzalez, Manos de Hermanos, Lote 8, Formosa, Argentina
Indoor-Outdoor: Site-responsive school, Jacmel, Haiti
Authors: Kamil Rusinek and Maciej Siuda, architects, Warsaw, Poland; Katarzyna Dąbkowska, Jerzy Mazurkiewicz, Marta Niedbalec and Łukasz Piasta, architects, Wrocław, Poland
Rural Campus: University campus for community regeneration, Acatitlán, Mexico
Main author: Oscar Hagerman, architect, Universidad del Medio Ambiente, Mexico City, Mexico
Further authors: Arturo Farías, scientist, Universidad del Medio Ambiente, Mexico City, Mexico; Juan Carlos Cano and Paloma Vera, Cano Vera Arquitectura, Mexico City, Mexico; Federico Llamas and Francisco Bonilla, Universidad del Medio Ambiente, Valle de Bravo, Mexico; Miguel Campero, Centro Viva, Valle de Bravo, Mexico
Under Construction: Restoring an urban historical center, Quito, Ecuador
Authors: David Barragán, Pascual Gangotena and Esteban Benavides, Al Borde Arquitectos, Quito, Ecuador
“Next Generation” prizes
Holcim Awards “Next Generation” 1st prize 2014 – USD 25,000
Fruit Salad: Riverside urban infrastructure redeployment, Manaus, Brazil
Authors: Alejandro Alaniz, Ivan Baez, Christian Barrera and Patricio Francisco Cuello, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina
Holcim Awards “Next Generation” 2nd prize 2014 – USD 15,000
Laguna Chapel: Recycled timber church and community center, Zoh Laguna, Mexico
Authors: Lazbent Escobedo and Andres Soliz, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico
Holcim Awards “Next Generation” 3rd prize 2014 – USD 10,000
Den-City: Urban regeneration through densification, Córdoba, Argentina
Authors: Maya Wilberger and Lucía Zunino, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina
Holcim Awards “Next Generation” 4th prize 2014 – USD 7,500
Plaza Mediateca: Library and media center, San José, Costa Rica
Authors: Fabricio Mora and María Emilia Sanchez, Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, Heredia, Costa Rica; Adrián Castro, Universidad Hispanoamericana, San José, Costa Rica