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“Stretching conventional notions of sustainable building”

Edward Schwarz recently shared his thoughts on the purpose of the Holcim Awards competition, how it has evolved, and the role of the “Next Generation” category in promoting sustainable solutions for building and construction – in an interview for professional media in South East Asia. 

He has been General Manager of the Holcim Foundation since its creation in 2003, and is responsible for all activities including the USD 2 million Holcim Awards competition which is currently open for entries.

Q: As General Manager of the Holcim Foundation who conducts the Holcim Awards, can you explain the purpose of the competition?

A: The Holcim Awards is an international competition that recognizes innovative projects and future-oriented concepts on regional and global levels as well as ideas and visions of young professionals. A total of USD 2 million in prize money is awarded in each three-year cycle for projects that demonstrate an ability to stretch conventional notions about sustainable building and balance environmental, social and economic performance – while also exemplifying architectural excellence and a high degree of transferability.

Q: What developments do you anticipate might be reflected between the 3rd and 4th Holcim Awards cycles?

A: The broad scope of entries in the competition make it difficult to anticipate much beyond an exciting array of projects responding to the challenges of sustainability in various local contexts.

Perhaps one could anticipate that the impact of the Global Financial Crisis will result in more projects focused upon economic performance criteria – however this might vary from region to region, and indeed will also depend on the context of individual entries. Another trend that might continue would be the growing number of teams that include members from multiple academic or professional disciplines as a means of addressing the growing complexity of many projects that encourage sustainable responses to the technological, environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural issues affecting building and construction.

Q: Why does the Holcim Awards competition include a special category for young professionals and students aged between 18 and 30 years?

A: The Holcim Awards seeks the visions and bold ideas for the “Next Generation” category by young professionals and university students. The aim of the “Next Generation” category is to provide a platform for innovative ideas at a preliminary design phase or at the conceptual level to be shared amongst peers and the broader community.

By engaging with the “Next Generation”, not only does the Holcim Awards competition seek to capture the concerns of young professionals about the critical issue of sustainability – but more importantly, we have the opportunity to recognize and promote remarkable innovation, and challenge established professionals to raise the bar higher.

4th International Holcim Awards

The Holcim Awards is one of the most significant competitions in its field in terms of reputation and international scope. The fourth cycle of the competition offering a total of USD 2 million in prize money is now open for entries. The competition seeks leading projects from industry professionals and bold ideas from the “Next Generation” that contribute to sustainability within architecture, building, civil engineering, landscape and urban design, as well as construction materials and technologies. Entries must be submitted online at www.holcimawards.org by March 24, 2014.

Want to know more?

Further information on the Holcim Awards competition is available at www.holcimawards.org – or send your question to helpdesk@holcimawards.org.

Last Updated: September 05, 2013
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Location
Zurich, Switzerland
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Edward Schwarz is General Manager of the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction since its creation in 2003.

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