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Towards waste-free concrete fabrication without conventional molds

A research project, from students at the Architectural Association (AA) School of Architecture, to fabricate complex concrete elements without conventional molds was presented with an inaugural 2012 Global Holcim Innovation prize at an event held at Kent House Knightsbridge in London. The prize-winning project considers simultaneously the design of free and ambitious shapes, as well as the material efficiency and economic performance of the construction process.

A team of students from the AA School of Architecture in London: Povilas Cepaitis (Lithuania/UK), LLuis Enrique (Spain/Switzerland), Diego Ordoñez (Ecuador/UK) and Carlos Piles (Spain/UK), received one of three Global Holcim Innovation prizes to be awarded in 2012.

Their project, Cast-on-cast: Efficient fabrication system for geometrically complex building elements, aims to create a smart but simple methodology to design and prefabricate building elements with complex geometries that is both resource-efficient and considerably reduces construction waste. The prize winners presented their project to around 150 guests. “We looked to solve the question of how to fabricate complex geometries taking all elements of sustainability into consideration,” said LLuis Enrique.

Cast-on-cast was selected from more than 6,000 competition entries from 146 countries

Lucy Musgrave, Co-director, Publica and member of the Holcim Awards jury Europe 2008 and 2011, explained the inherent benefit of the project. “The Cast-on-cast project deserves commendation for opening up new approaches to production of complex geometric shapes to overcome the dilemma of high materials use to achieve a sculptural dialog,” she said.

Holcim Chairman Rolf Soiron congratulated the prize winners for their innovative thinking, and contributing to the exchange of knowledge and development of breakthroughs on sustainability in the built environment. “The Holcim Awards are an enormous opportunity for professionals and students to gain visibility and to compare their projects and ideas with those of their peers,” he said.

The prize hand-over was hosted by the Holcim Group company in the United Kingdom, Aggregate Industries, which has been involved in many major projects, including the new Wembley Stadium, Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport, and London Olympic Park. The event was combined with a PechaKucha style workshop, chaired by Paul King, CEO of the UK Green Building Council. Presenters included Andy Von Bradsky (Chairman, PRP Architects), Rory Bergin (Head of Sustainability, HTA), Patrick Bellew (Director, Atelier Ten), Paul Hinkin (Managing Director, Black Architects), Peter Fisher (Associate Director, Bennetts Associates Architects) and Ryan Dillon (Design Research Lab Programme Coordinator, AA School of Architecture, London).

The presentation of the first Innovation prizes is a highlight of the 3rd Holcim Awards competition. The global competition seeks innovative, future-oriented and tangible construction projects to promote sustainable responses to the technological, environmental, socioeconomic and cultural issues affecting building and construction on a local, regional and global level.

The competition takes place first across five global regions, with prize-winners progressing to a global phase. All 53 projects that were awarded a prize in the regional phase of the competition in 2011 were eligible to compete for global Holcim Innovation prizes. Further Holcim Innovation prizes went to the project High-efficiency concrete formwork technology by Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler, professors of architecture and digital fabrication at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and to Low-cost apartments incorporating smart materials by a German team led by architect, Frank Barkow, and acclaimed engineer, Mike Schlaich.

The competition, run by the Swiss-based Holcim Foundation, offers USD 2 million in prize money per three-year cycle, and is sponsored by Holcim Ltd – one of the world’s leading suppliers of cement and aggregates – and its Group companies in 70 countries. In the UK, Channel Islands and northern Europe, Holcim Group company Aggregate Industries, quarries, manufactures and supplies a wide range of materials to the construction industry.

Last Updated: September 10, 2012
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London, United Kingdom
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Efficient fabrication system for geometrically complex building elements
Efficient fabrication system for geometrically complex building elements

This entry is focused on the development of a smart but simple methodology to design and prefabricate building elements with complex...

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Carlos Piles
Carlos Piles

Carlos Piles is Head of Ductal Europe, an entity of LafargeHolcim based in Paris, France and multiple LafargeHolcim Awards prize-winner for...

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