The third LafargeHolcim Roundtable brought together a panel of international experts to discuss content, choreography, and the potential outcomes from next year’s LafargeHolcim Forum. The meeting aligned workshop leaders in preparing for the international symposium, and built on previous meetings at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Endicott House in Dedham-Boston (2014) and ETH Zurich, Werner Oechslin Library in Einsiedeln, Switzerland (2015). The next LafargeHolcim Forum will be held at the American University in Cairo (AUC), Egypt on April 4-6, 2019 – and will focus on “Re-materializing Construction”.
The material intensity of mainstream building practices is unsustainable. The construction sector not only uses an extensive amount of material resources, but it is also responsible for the use of material compounds that are harmful to both humans and the environment. The aim of the Forum is to examine and develop tangible ideas for moving the building and construction industry forward.
The Roundtable was hosted by internationally renowned structural engineer Werner Sobek at the Institute for Lightweight Structures & Conceptual Design (ILEK), University of Stuttgart, Germany. He provided tangible inspiration for the Roundtable participants, including a tour of the iconic ILEK building, which was built by Frei Otto as the model for the German pavilion at the Montréal Expo 1967. The tour included surrounding buildings on the campus of the University of Stuttgart where a number of applications of lightweight construction are to be seen based on research and experiments conducted by ILEK over the past decades.
“Re-materializing construction” suggests a shift in material production and use toward a regenerative pathway. Insofar as the effects of the building industry on the environment are significant, construction is the place where opportunities for change reside. Construction, in other words, is both the problem and the solution.
Further information and registration for the LafargeHolcim Forum 2019 will be available in mid-2018.