LafargeHolcim Foundation Knowledge Turntable for Sustainable Construction
Media

Article

From weapons to books

Boosting our confidence as a young practice

Architect Milinda Pathiraja explains that the greatest benefit of winning the Global LafargeHolcim Award was the international exposure it gave Robust Architecture Workshop as a young architectural practice from Sri Lanka. “We were less than three years into the practice when we won the Awards – the regional and the global one – and the library project was only the third building we had completed”, he explains.

Since then, Robus Architecture Workshop has been invited to speak at many architecture forums, their work has been published widely and recognised by other award schemes, and in 2016 they were invited to present their work at the main section of the Venice Architecture Biennale!

Milinda Pathiraja believes that the LafargeHolcim Foundation’s initiative to hold the Global Award ceremony in Sri Lanka also contributed significantly to building up Robust Architecture Workshop’s reputation locally. “But more than anything else, winning these awards boosted our confidence as a young practice and convinced us about the appropriateness of the professional and intellectual path we have defined for ourselves,” he says.

The project developed by architect Milinda Pathiraja and his team from Robust Architecture Workshop in the rural town of Ambepussa, near Colombo, was aimed at enabling the reinsertion of former soldiers into civilian life. This subtle way of dealing with the post-civil war period in Sri Lanka led the jury of the LafargeHolcim Awards, which had honoured him in 2014 with a Bronze Award for the Asia Pacific region, to reward him once again in 2015 with a Global Award Silver.

He shares his experience in the special edition of international design magazine L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui (AA) dedicated to architecture competitions. Read the full interview and jury member comments by Matthias Schuler, Professor of Environmental Technology, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA and Yolanda Kakabadse, former president of WWF-International.

From weapons to books: Interview with Milinda Pathiraja (English flip book)

Des armes aux livres: Entretien with Milinda Pathiraja (French flip book)

De las armas a los libros: Entrevista con Milinda Pathiraja (Spanish flip book)

Schuler_1503.jpgF13_attendee_KakabadseNavarroYolanda_Ecuador.jpgJury comments

“There is significant value in the basic message of the project’s scheme and its translation into a tangible physical structure – the construction of a library and public facility for building the physical and social fabric of a community.” – Matthias Schuler, Professor of Environmental Technology, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA and Member of the Global LafargeHolcim Awards jury in 2015.

“This project contributes to strengthening society: it deals with conflict management, healing the wounds of a past war and acknowledging that a traumatic event can be turned into an opportunity to look towards the future.” – Yolanda Kakabadse, former president of WWF-International, Member of the Global LafargeHolcim Awards jury in 2012 and 2015, and Member of the Board of the LafargeHolcim Foundation from 2004 until 2013.

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.

More information

Enter the competition

Last Updated: August 13, 2019
Article Details
Location
Ambepussa, Sri Lanka
Related Information
Related Project
Post-War Collective in Sri Lanka
Post-War Collective in Sri Lanka

Following over 25 years of civil war, the reintegration of young soldiers is one of the great challenges Sri Lanka faces. This Community...

LafargeHolcim Foundation
 
     

Search Help

Our website search engine covers the web pages including project descriptions and expert profiles, PDFs, images and videos on the LafargeHolcim Foundation website. To improve your search results, here are some tips:

Basic search

Our search defaults to term-pairing AND. If you search sustainable construction - then the search engine will look for any items containing sustainable AND construction

Union

photovoltaic OR solar

Looks for either word

Nesting

(clay OR mud) AND (school OR university)

Combine alternative terms for more specific searching

Subtraction

geothermal -heating

Excludes a term from results, automatically ANDs other terms listed

Phrases

"zero carbon"

Use quotation marks to search for a specific phrase or combination

Wildcards (one or more characters)

archit*

Asterisk (*) matches any word or phrase - so archit* will find architect, architecture, architectural as well as architrave