For each region of the world, nine jurors spent two to three days reviewing submissions and selecting the best projects and visions in sustainable construction. The expertly managed process nominates the potential winners and runners-up in the 6th International LafargeHolcim Awards competition. A multi-step verification process must confirm the winners now which will be communicated in 2021. Physical jury meetings and prize hand-over events had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The five regional jury sessions had to be conducted virtually for the first time and were centrally coordinated in meeting facilities of LafargeHolcim in Eclépens, Switzerland. Marilyne Andersen, Professor of Sustainable Construction Technologies at EPFL Lausanne, and Head of the Academic Committee (AC) of the LafargeHolcim Foundation, was the only member of all five juries. Each panel consisted of nine independent, renowned representatives from science, business and society including an expert from the LafargeHolcim Group Innovation Centre in France.
From virtual collaboration across time zones…
Keeping up with the time differences between the current locations of jury members was a challenge, but the fact that two jurors remained in the USA due to the pandemic extended the range of time zones even further to include all members in the deliberation process. In the case of Asia Pacific, a total difference of 12 hours needed to be accommodated in the online appraisal process leading to very early/very late days for some jurors. The criteria applied to compare projects from diverse locations and a wide range of programs are based on the five “target issues” for sustainable construction of the LafargeHolcim Foundation. For the first time, Main Category entrants were required to provide a qualitative response on CO2 Lifecycle Assessment, taking into account embodied carbon in design, construction, operation and deconstruction.
The 6th International LafargeHolcim Awards attracted almost 5,000 entries by authors in more than 120 countries. Almost half of all submitted projects were appraised by the juries following a comprehensive process to check that submissions adhere to the conditions and the expected level of quality of the Awards. [phase eins], a company specialized in architectural competitions based in Berlin, let this preliminary step, coordinated the virtual jury meetings, and also moderated the parallel evaluation sessions. The AC of the Foundation is now responsible for the multi-stage verification process to confirm the winners. The prestigious LafargeHolcim Awards Gold, Silver and Bronze as well as Acknowledgement and Next Generation prizes with value of USD 1.65 million across all regions will be presented next year to celebrate the best projects and their authors.
…to a tangible visit of a sustainable cement plant
It was not a coincidence that the Eclépens cement manufacturing plant near Lausanne was chosen to host the jury meetings and set the frame for evaluating the level of sustainability the potential prize-winning projects live up to. Eclépens is one of the LafargeHolcim Group’s 264 cement and grinding plants located all continents. It sets international benchmarks with regard to sustainability by using alternative fuels and raw materials, reducing emissions and turning its surplus heat into energy.
Marilyne Andersen and Philippe Block, Professor of Architecture and Structure at the ETH Zurich, and newly elected member of the Board of Directors of LafargeHolcim Ltd, took advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the most important cement production facility in Western Switzerland. Plant manager François Girod and members of his team enabled the two representatives of the AC of the Foundation who were part of the jury for Asia Pacific to switch from a virtual jury environment to a tangible site tour including a visit to the laboratories.
The LafargeHolcim Awards is the world’s most significant competition in sustainable design and offers prize money of USD 2 million per cycle of regional and global Awards. The Swiss-based LafargeHolcim Foundation is an initiative of LafargeHolcim, the global leader in building materials and solutions with the ambition to lead the industry in reducing carbon emissions and shifting towards low-carbon construction.