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It’s important to consider the environmental, social and economic impact of any building. Material performance and resource efficiency must be taken into consideration to determine the optimum blend for efficient building construction, use and recycling.
Reclaiming materials is economically and environmentally sensible. Resource extraction from decommissioned structures in cities can provide large quantities of mineral resources and metals. Urban mining reduces the rate of raw material extraction and the volume of landfill.
To reduce the amount of raw material extracted from the earth each year, we need to move from a wasteful take-make-throw model to a circular take-make-repeat economy. Increasing material efficiency, using byproducts and reusing resources can transform the materials supply chain.
Materials with only one function have short lifecycles and are discarded as waste after use. This is dangerous in a world with finite resources. A circular cradle-to-cradle approach redesigns building materials so they can be reused in loops that recover, reimagine and reconfigure indefinitely.
Using local materials and know-how has social and economic benefits. Local materials can reduce emissions from production and transportation, and capitalize on local resources, know-how and labor. Investing in local production makes a long-term positive change to material flows.
Most buildings have value in the future beyond their originally planned use. Designing structures for adaptation and cleverly converting buildings rather than replacing them entirely can extend building lifespans and preserve historic fabric, as well as make projects more interesting and sustainable.
The LafargeHolcim Foundation for SustainableConstruction looks forward to doing its part in 2021 to promote Carbon Neutral Construction that reduces CO2 in materials and processes; Circular Construction that recycles materials such as building and demolition waste; and Design Innovation & Digital Design to build more with less.
The LafargeHolcim Foundation has been promoting Sustinable Design since it was established in 2003 and wishes you, your family and friends all the best for a safe, happy and prosperous New Year.
The building sector represents a large share of worldwide carbon emissions (c. 40%) and thus reducing the carbon footprint of the built environment will be essential to reach the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. This will require a deep transformation of how we envision, plan, design, build and manage our built environment.
Sacred and Profane in India by Vedhant Maharaj, Rebel Base Collective, South Africa located on the edge of the Ganga (Ganges) River in Varanasi imagines a new typology of water purification infrastructure that transcends mere utility. Technical requirements are combined with places for social gathering and cultural rituals, in a set of carefully designed architectural interventions at the threshold between river and land.
Cooling Roof in California, USA by Georgina Baronian, Princeton University explores a prototype for an evaporative roof that uses radiant cooling. The research investigates how to cool large-scale (big box) structures using water on the roof as a thermal insulator and solar reflector.
The project opened in 2015 and foregrounds the value of water as an important resource of urban life.
Territorial Figure in Argentina by Stefano Romagnoli, Juan Cruz Serafini & Tomás Pont, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba proposes an infrastructure for the use of tidal energy in Río Gallegos estuary at Punta Loyola in Argentina. It merges infrastructure, landscape, and architecture in a magnificent natural setting.
Machinarium in South Africa by Heidi Boulanger, University of Pretoria redefines understandings of industry, proposing a new system of resource exchange between specific production processes. The design explores synergies between a textile manufacturing facility, agricultural fields, and a sewage treatment plant to create a “Machinarium” of mutually interrelated and sustainable systems.
De-Salination in Ireland by András Dankházi, University College Dublin focusses on symbiotic water supply and landscape regeneration. The project reuses the warmed saltwater output from power plants in a mixed-use infrastructure for low-cost desalination to supply water to Dublin’s growing population.
The reverse credit program has been rolled out in the six largest recycling neighborhoods in Cairo – which recycle 20,000 tons of municipal waste per day, managed by small family-owned businesses with a history of more than 70 years in the city. Laila Iskandar is chairperson of CID, an Egyptian consulting firm pursuing holistic growth solutions by bridging corporate and developmental objectives.
Explaining how LafargeHolcim is leading the way in low carbon and circular construction and is already recovering a hundred times more waste than it produces – Magali Anderson, Chief Sustainability Officer of LafargeHolcim and member of the Board of the LafargeHolcim Foundation.
“We must focus on more inclusive development – and look at the quality of urban spaces, health centers and the way we design these facilities for our society,” says Fasil Giorghis, Chair of Conservation of Urban & Architectural Heritage at the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture Building Construction & City Development, and Ambassador of the LafargeHolcim Awards.
“This crisis will force architecture to focus on resilience and adaptability. We need to re-examine how public space is created, and also ensure residential space can accommodate different uses such as working from home,” says Fernando González Piris, Madrid-based architect, at Ensamble Studio & LafargeHolcim Forum 2019 attendee.
“I look forward to a ‘new normal’ where financialization and tourism are no longer the strongest drivers of urban development” – Kaarin Taipale, Finish urban researcher and politician, and a member of the LafargeHolcim Foundation network from the beginning.
“Our profession will go through a revolution in terms of designing antimicrobial building materials,” says Nada Nafeh, from Egypt. The young architect and urban designer is recipient of a Research in Practice Grant of the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction.