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From project, to model, to reality

The opening of “MACHEN!” – the first public exhibition of the Holcim Foundation – was attended by all five Berlin-based winning teams. The exhibition shows the winning projects not only on posters, but documents the progress made in planning and building, as well as featuring models and material samples. The exhibition at the internationally-renowned Aedes Architekturforum in Berlin shows the Global Holcim Awards Gold (Kéré Architecture), Bronze (realities:united) and Innovation prize (Barkow Leibinger) as well as the Gold winning project from Asia Pacific (Ziegert | Roswag | Seiler), Bronze winning project from Africa Middle East (Heringer Rauch Nägele Weibel) and the European Acknowledgement prize winning entry (Sauerbruch Hutton). 

Neatly presented project descriptions in oversized binders are complimented by impressive architecture models and also tangible results of materials research and testing. A bag of clay from Burkina Faso illustrates how the material is being mixed with ten per cent of cement and made flowable and poured into forms as if it were ready-mixed concrete. Nearby, the full-scale prototype of a bamboo and earth structure which enabled a two-storey schoolhouse to be built in Pakistan using entirely local materials brings the project to life. A six-ton prototype of a light-weight concrete element to be used in combination with wood for a low-budget multi-storey housing project in Hamburg is only one third of the weight that the massive curved concrete element would be using traditional aggregates!

Over 300 guests attended the opening of the “MACHEN!” exhibition by the Founder of Aedes, Kristin Freireiss, and curators Ilka and Andrea Ruby. The evening commenced with around 120 guests filling the discussion theatre to capacity where an introduction by Edward Schwarz, General Manager of the Holcim Foundation, and presentations by two of the authors of the Holcim Awards prize winning projects in the exhibition, Tim Edler (“Flussbad Berlin” by realities:united) and Matthias Sauerbruch (Achieving carbon negative buildings through the inclusion of complimentary initiatives, materials and infrastructure to reduce carbon footprints by Sauerbruch Hutton), were followed by a moderated discussion between them.

The question in common was how to build the momentum necessary to get visionary ideas off the ground: such as enabling swimming in the river Spree in Berlin or creating a carbon neutral neighborhood for mixed use in Helsinki. Francis Kéré, whose school house project in Burkina Faso is already going into the third phase of construction, encouraged Edler and Sauerbruch not to give up and to fight for their ideas even if this takes time and courage. Piet Eckert (e2a Architects in Zurich) recommended a typical Swiss bottom-up approach to first convince the population at large and, hence beneficiaries of the projects to create a level of public engagement that would in turn be taken up by politicians and authorities.

An exhibition featuring stunningly precise models and descriptions of work by e2a is on display at Aedes Forum in parallel to “MACHEN!” of the Holcim Foundation until August 30, 2012.

Last Updated: July 16, 2012
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Berlin, Germany
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Matthias Sauerbruch
Matthias Sauerbruch

Matthias Sauerbruch is a Founding Principal of, Sauerbruch Hutton Architekten, based in Berlin, Germany and was a member of the Holcim...

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