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Prizes for sustainable construction projects in Europe

The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction sought out the best sustainable construction projects in Europe – and awarded the winners about a quarter millions Swiss Francs at the Awards ceremony in Geneva. In his address, Swiss Federal Councillor Joseph Deiss said that sustainability, which has a long tradition in Switzerland, is necessary in all aspects of life, and that economic and ecological priorities are no contradiction.

The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, established in fall 2003 and backed by the construction materials group Holcim Ltd, launched last fall a global competition with the theme sustainable construction. The foundation aims to thereby further the discussion of sustainable construction among architects, urban planners, engineers, and building owners, and to recognize exemplary building projects.

Contribution to sustainable development

The prizes for the region Europe were conferred at the awards ceremony held in the Bâtiment des Forces Motrices in Geneva. Present at the awards ceremony in Geneva were over 300 politicians, diplomats, architects, and businesspeople from 20 European countries.

Swiss politician, Federal Coucillor Joseph Deiss called the Holcim Awards a private initiative that lends substance to the term sustainability: “Awards such as this show that industry is capable of setting its own standards and establishing them beyond its own borders.”

In his welcome address Markus Akermann, Chairman of the Management Board of the Holcim Foundation and CEO of Holcim Ltd, stressed that progress and sustainable development are closely linked to the name Holcim: “Through the Holcim Foundation we are significantly promoting public understanding of sustainable construction.”

Gold for a development and renewal project

The first prize of USD 100,000 went to Professor Luigi Centola from Rome for a revitalization project in a side valley near Amalfi, Italy. In the words of the jury president Professor Mohsen Mostafavi, the expansive restoration and renewal project “perfectly combines historic and modern architecture.” The project could give a significant boost to the economically impoverished area, says the dean of the College of Architecture, Art & Planning at Cornell University (USA). This outstanding project is not the work of one individual, but of several teams from industry to universities to public institutions. This sort of teamwork is typical for projects in the field of sustainable construction – because sustainability always involves a whole range of aspects.

Silver for a rail terminal

The second prize of USD 50,000 went to Christoph Ingenhoven from Düsseldorf. The German architect’s design for a new ICE terminal in Stuttgart convincingly integrates architecture, landscape design, engineering, and other building disciplines. The rail terminal is underground, freeing the surface above for a new urban center. Refined environmental systems permit daylight into the station, the construction of which consumes relatively little material. Says jury president Mohsen Mostafavi: “This project establishes in an aesthetic way a dialog between the natural and the man-made environment.”

Bronze for a market place

Third prize of USD 25,000 went onto Jürgen Mayer H., architect from Berlin, and Carlos Merino, engineer from Madrid. Their project “Metropol Parasol” is an architecturally convincing redesign of a central but virtually abandoned market square in Seville. “This building is a genuine monument that stresses the importance of the marketplace in the city. It is an aesthetically pleasing response to the frequently criticized loss of public space,” reasons the jury. The giant parasols in mushroom form that shade the square respond in a sustainable way to the climate of southern Spain. The site becomes an attractive center that offers space for all forms of social activity – it could even develop into a tourist attraction with global pull.

Three Encouragement prizes and three Acknowledgment prizes

Besides the three Holcim Awards, three Acknowledgment and three Encouragement prizes were awarded in Geneva. The Acknowledgment prizes went to projects that may well prove to be pioneers in sustainable construction. The Encouragement prizes recognize the achievements of young professionals whose projects are particularly fascinating and stimulating. “The main thing is that we more fully include the young generation in the competition. That is especially important because sustainability always involves the future,” says Hans-Rudolf Schalcher, ETH professor and Member of the Management Board of the Holcim Foundation, who presented the Encouragement prizes. One Encouragement prize went to a young Swiss designer from Zurich. Others went to professionals from Italy and Spain, one for a project to be carried out into Portugal.

Independent, first-class jury

The projects submitted in the competition were judged by an independent jury comprising leading architects, engineers, and university professors. The 12-person jury used as a measure the five criteria for sustainable construction that the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction has adopted. These criteria were defined in collaboration with renowned universities including the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (Switzerland) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA). The criteria range from environmental and aesthetic quality to high ethical and economic standards.

A quarter of the global entries from Europe
The competition drew great interest in Europe, with nearly 400 entries from over 20 countries. Globally, over 1,500 projects from 118 countries were submitted. The spectrum of entries was enormous. It ranged from innovative materials and construction elements to sustainable concepts for large buildings and urban development plans.

The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction is recognizing this year the regional winners in the five regions Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa/Middle East, and Asia/Oceania. The three best projects from each region will participate automatically in the global Awards competition to be celebrated in April 2006 in Bangkok. 

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Winners of the Holcim Awards competition 2005 in Europe

First prize (Holcim Award Gold) 
Project: Waterpower – Revitalization strategy for Mulini Valley near Amalfi, Italy
Winner: Luigi Centola, professor of design at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” and Mariagiovanna Riitano, Full Professor of Economic-Political Geography, University of Salerno, Fisciano, Italy

Second prize (Holcim Award Silver)
Project: New main rail terminal for Stuttgart, Germany
Winner: Christoph Ingenhoven, architect from Düsseldorf

Third prize (Holcim Award Bronze)
Project: “Metropol Parasol” in Seville, Spain
Winners: Jürgen Mayer H., architect from Berlin and Carlos Merino, engineer from Madrid


Acknowledgement prizes
Ecological boulevard in a new urban quarter, Madrid, Spain: Belinda Tato Serrano, Jose Luis Vallejo Mateo, and Diego Garcia-Setien Terol, architects from Madrid

Alternative Economy City in the Ex-Slaughterhouse, Rome, Italy: Luciano Cupelloni, architect and professor at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”

The mysterius story of the garden that makes water, Cehegín, Spain: Monica Garcia Fernandez and Javier Rubio Montero, architects from Madrid


Encouragement prizes


Instituto Europeo de Investigaciones Artísticas, Lisbon, Portugal: Ignacio Peydro and Isabel Collado de Alarcon, architects from Madrid.

Environmental Education Center in the Woods, Venice, Italy: Vincenzo De Luce and Marina Orlando, architects from Naples.

Center of Sustainable Development, Zurich, Switzerland: Designer Michael Gehret from Zurich.

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The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction promotes innovative approaches to sustainable construction mainly through international Awards competitions. Architectural excellence and enhanced quality of life are integral parts of the Holcim Foundation’s vision of sustainable construction.

The Holcim Foundation is supported by, but independent of the commercial interests of Holcim, one of the world’s leading suppliers of cement, aggregates (crushed stone, gravel and sand), concrete and construction-related services. The Group holds majority and minority interests in more than 70 countries on all continents.

Last Updated: September 16, 2005
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Geneva, Switzerland
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