The LafargeHolcim Foundation and Awards proudly presented the opening lectures of EASA 2019, the European Architecture Students Assembly which is being held in Villars-sur-Ollon (Switzerland) and attended by more than 600 participants from 50 countries. Both speakers urged the next generation of architects to take action that radically changes the design and construction of the built environment compared to what we know today.
“The clock is past twelve,” said Dirk Hebel, Professorof Sustainable Construction at the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (Germany) and member of the Academic Committee of the LafargeHolcim Foundation. “Climate change, population growth, and the availability of raw materials are facts that need to be taken into account,” he added.
Philippe Rahm (pictured left), Principal of Philippe Rahm Architectes (France), focused on the impact of climatic conditions on future design: “Sun, wind and light dictate the outline, the shape is derived from this – and the spatial concept must finally adapt to the form,” he said and showed successful examples of parks and buildings that have been designed by inverting the common approach of deriving the design from the room concept.
Dirk Hebel (pictured below) advocated lifecycle thinking for all materials used in construction: “It’s not just about recycling, re-using and re-inventing: it’s about combining materials in a way that they can easily be separated and used over and over again.” It’s also about exploring new, for example biologically-based building materials, such as bamboo to replace steel in concrete or mushrooms to produce building blocks. He stressed the responsibility of the next generation of architects to change the game: “You must tell the industry what you demand – and they will produce it for you!”
Sharing knowledge and strengthening ideas
EASA promotes the discovery of territories and cultures by organizing workshops in which participants acquire new knowledge and skills through the practice of creative, intellectual and manual activities. EASA has been held annually since 1981, and the assembly at Villars-sur-Ollon marks the second time in the event’s history that it is being held in Switzerland. Over the next two weeks, the EASA program will focus on workshops where participants confront themselves in a new context that enables them to share their knowledge and to strengthen their experience in both teamwork and fieldwork.
The world’s most significant competition for sustainable design
The LafargeHolcim Awards competition offers the next generation an opportunity to share their ideas on the future of sustainable design. The competition is open for entries until February 25, 2020 for visionary design concepts and bold ideas including design studio and research work. The LafargeHolcim Awards is an international competition for architecture, engineering, urban planning, materials science, construction technology, and related fields. Entry is free.