LafargeHolcim Foundation Knowledge Turntable for Sustainable Construction


Identity can be understood only on site

Local resources – Leveraging regional skills and metabolism

How is sustainability regionally characterized? With which local strategies can barriers to sustainable designs and construction be overcome? A working group at the 4th International Holcim Forum in Mumbai concluded that the “Triple Zero Manifesto” (asserting that the construction of buildings should consume no fossil fuels, produce no emissions, and leave behind no waste) does not go far enough – because it does not cover the behavior of people, which still remains completely unsustainable.

The workshop was led by Hansjürg Leibundgut, member of the Academic Committee of the Holcim Foundation. Case studies illustrating the importance of local resources for a more sustainable world were convincingly presented by experts including planning advisor Lucy Musgrave (United Kingdom) and architect Francis Kéré (Germany), winner of the Global Holcim Awards Gold 2012. 

At the 3rd Holcim Forum 2010 held in Mexico City, the workshop led by Hansjürg Leibundgut presented the “Triple Zero Manifesto”: The construction of buildings should consume no fossil fuels, produce no emissions, and leave behind no waste. This time, after heated discussions, the workshop came to the conclusion that the Triple Zero Manifesto does not go far enough – because it does not cover the behavior of people, which still remains completely unsustainable.

Read more: Reduce CO2 - With technology to zero emissions »


“We hope that you don’t expect a new manifesto,” said Niklaus Haller when presenting the workshop results. “We took the old one and added a new zero: zero corruption.” Furthermore, the presentations and follow-up discussions revealed several common denominators: that a reality check is necessary to make sure that solutions really work, that the identity of a place can be understood only through physical presence on site, that our cities are ultimately composed of neighborhoods and that urban growth has been increasingly ignoring this aspect, and that we need critical facilitation to help bring ideas from other places and share knowledge to bear on the local condition.

All in all, the goal must always be to achieve a good and sustainable life for everyone. That is why return on investment is not necessarily always only a financial issue. It must also take into consideration the social and community values upon which each system is based. A concrete project idea evolved from these theoretical considerations in the Yellow Workshop: the Research Action Project in Paspoli Village, a low-income community located next to luxurious hotels, middle-class housing, and international corporate buildings. Through this project Paspoli Village is to be seen not as an “island” but as a part of the whole and with the help of local residents upgraded in a sustainable manner.


Mobile workshop

Led by Aneerudha Paul, Director of the Kamla Rajeha Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies (KRVIA, Mumbai, India) and Ainsley Lewis, Head of the Bachelor of Architecture program at KRVIA, the participants of the Yellow Mobile Workshop first visited Fatima School and Hanuman Temple in the densely developed neighborhood of Vikhroli. The girls’ school and the temple share certain rooms in a completely natural way, thereby demonstrating how communities can exist next to and with one another, sharing limited resources and making use of synergies.

The second stop of the workshop was Bhavan’s College in Andheri – a giant campus that includes not only the college buildings but also sports facilities, gardens, and a temple. The campus also serves as a place for youth festivals and many other events. Finally, the participants visited the KRVIA Center in Juhu, one of the most important knowledge centers for architecture and urbanism in Mumbai. 

Last Updated: March 11, 2014
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Mumbai, India
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