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Holcim Awards honor sustainable construction in Latin America

The winning projects of the second Holcim Awards competition for Sustainable Construction in Latin America were announced at a ceremony in Mexico City. Total prize money of USD 270,000 was presented to twelve projects from across the region that deliver innovative solutions to social housing, energy efficiency, and the revitalization of communities and water resources.

The Swiss-based Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction conducts the competition in parallel across five regions of the world. Almost 5,000 projects from 90 countries entered the competition which aims to promote sustainable responses from the building and construction industry to technological, environmental, socioeconomic and cultural issues.

Gold Award to an urban integration project in Colombia

An urban planning project for a commune in Medellín, Colombia developed by Empresa de Desarrollo Urbano received the top prize of USD 100,000 and the Holcim Awards Gold 2008 trophy for delivering a ground-breaking and comprehensive approach to address slum formation in cities. The overall scope of the project led by Gustavo Adolfo Restrepo includes the refurbishment and extension of the road network and public utilities, construction of numerous health, education, and sports facilities and implementation of social development programs.

Head of Jury and Dean of Architecture at the Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA) in Mexico City, José Luis Cortés, commented that the pre-existing MetroCable connecting the informal settlement with the formal city was the catalyst for the approach. “This project complements the effort of available social investment by developing along the MetroCable a range of programs for the regeneration of the area through self-responsibility, community participation and inter-institutional coordination. It is, in short, exemplary in its contribution to reaching the Millennium Development Goals,” he said.

Energy-efficient media library in Brazil wins Silver Award

The Holcim Awards Silver 2008 was presented to the PUC Rio Mediatheque in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil created by Angelo Bucci of SPBR architects. The building is an attractive landmark that achieves a substantial reduction in energy consumption despite the climate control required for book and media preservation through passive design elements including appropriate orientation, heat insulation, shaded windows, natural ventilation and natural lighting.

Bronze Award for solar water heating and rainwater tower in Brazil

The design by Maria Andrea Triana, Roberto Lamberts and Marcio Antonio Andrade of LabEEE-UFSC, Florianópolis, Brazil, for a solar water heating and rainwater tower was applauded for developing an innovative and economical solution to the widespread lack of public infrastructure in poor urban areas. The “sustainable tower” provides rainwater harvesting, potable water storage and solar water heating in an integrated unit that can be installed within new or existing dwellings, and thus delivers a substantial improvement in the daily living conditions of residents.

Acknowledgement prizes for projects in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico

Six submissions received equal Acknowledgement prizes for their leading-edge approaches to sustainable construction. An energy-efficient medical and social center in São Paulo and a multi-modal transport hub upgrade in Rio de Janeiro were both prize-winners from Brazil. Two projects to revitalize water systems from Mexico: an ecological river remediation park in Morelia and a sanitation and river remediation project in Tuxtla Gutiérrez were also recognized. A post-earthquake reconstruction at San Lorenzo of Tarapacá, Chile, and a mountain trail for land preservation and urban demarcation in Bogotá, Colombia completed the series of Acknowledgement prize winners.

“Next Generation” prizes for project visions

For the first time, the Holcim Awards competition included a category for the visions of young architects and designers. First prize was presented to architect Alberto Ferandez Gonzalez who was applauded for his coastal fog-harvesting tower concept for Huasco, Chile, which proposes to extract water for agriculture from the “Camanchaca” coastal fog. The Eutropia integrated approach to low cost housing in urban areas by Mexican architects Ricardo Julian Vásquez Ochoa and Emilio José García Bidegorry was awarded the 2nd prize and a project to utilize urban voids in Campinas, Brazil for agricultural production by architect Thiago Cintra Pilegi was recipient of the 3rd prize in the “Next Generation” category.

Independent jury of international experts in architecture and sustainability

Competition submissions for projects in region Latin America were evaluated by an independent jury hosted by UIA: José Luis Cortés (Head of Jury, Mexico), Marc Angélil (USA), Daniel Bermúdez, (Colombia), Fernando Diez (Argentina), Vanderley M. John (Brazil), Yolanda Kakabadse (Ecuador), Hans-Rudolf Schalcher (Switzerland), Bruno Stagno (Costa Rica) and Sara Topelson (Mexico) used the “target issues” for sustainable construction developed by the Holcim Foundation to evaluate submissions. The “target issues” address the triple bottom line of economic, environmental, and social factors together with architectural quality and the potential to apply the innovation in other locations.

International series of five ceremonies

The prizes for region Latin America were conferred at the awards ceremony held at the Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso in Mexico City, attended by more than 360 representatives of government, business, architecture and related disciplines from 14 countries. Internationally-renowned Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, and Holcim CEO and Chairman of the Board of the Holcim Foundation Markus Akermann welcomed guests. Secretary of the Economy of the Republic of Mexico, Gerardo Ruiz Mateos, delivered a keynote address that emphasized the broad potential for sustainable construction to generate tangible change in both social and environmental issues.

The Mexico City event was the third of five ceremonies. The results for Europe and North America have also been announced, and the results for Africa Middle East and Asia Pacific will be celebrated in the forthcoming weeks. Gold, silver and bronze prize winners from each region automatically qualify for the global Holcim Awards competition. The projects will be further evaluated by a global jury and the winners proclaimed on May 8, 2009.

The Holcim Awards is an international competition of the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction. The competition seeks innovative, future-oriented and tangible sustainable construction projects; offers prize money of USD 2 million per three-year competition cycle, and is run in cooperation with renowned partner universities: Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico; Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil; Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), Switzerland; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA; Tongji University, China; and the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

The Holcim Foundation is supported by Holcim Ltd and its Group companies in more than 70 countries, but is independent of its commercial interests. Holcim is one of the world’s leading producers of cement and aggregates, and was recently named “Leader of the Industry” in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the fourth year in succession.

Holcim Awards 2008 Latin America- Prize winners

Holcim Awards Gold 2008
Urban integration of an informal area, Medellín, Colombia

Holcim Awards Silver 2008
Low-energy university mediatheque, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Holcim Awards Bronze 2008
Solar water heating and rainwater tower, Florianópolis, Brazil

Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prizes 2008
Ecological river remediation park, Morelia, Mexico
Energy-efficient medical and social center, São Paulo, Brazil
Mountain trail for land preservation and urban demarcation, Bogotá, Colombia
Multi-modal transport hub upgrade, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Post-earthquake reconstruction, San Lorenzo of Tarapacá, Chile
Sanitation and river remediation, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico

Holcim Awards “Next Generation” 1st prize 2008
Coastal fog-harvesting tower, Huasco, Chile

Holcim Awards “Next Generation” 2nd prize 2008
Eutropia low-cost and space-efficient social housing, Mexico City, Mexico

Holcim Awards “Next Generation” 3rd prize 2008
Agriculture facility for inner-city voids, Campinas, Brazil

Details about the Holcim Awards 2008 Latin America including all prize-winning projects and high-resolution images are available at www.holcimawards.org/latam

Last Updated: October 23, 2008
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Mexico City, Mexico
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