Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction sought out the best sustainable construction projects in Europe within the Awards ceremony in Geneva.
The competition envisages promoting future-proof solutions that meet the differing requirements of economic growth, environmental quality and social responsibility. Holcim Awards will recognize any contributions to sustainable constructions, in architecture, landscape and urban design, civil engineering and other related disciplines.
The prizes for Europe were conferred at the awards ceremony held in the Bâtiment des Forces Motrices in Geneva. More than 300 politicians, diplomats, architects, and businesspeople from 20 European countries attended the awarding ceremony in Geneva.
In his address, Swiss Federal Councilor Joseph Deiss said that sustainability, which has a long tradition in Switzerland, is necessary in all aspects of life, and that economic and ecological priorities are no contradiction. He also called the Holcim Awards a private initiative that lends substance to the term sustainability: "Awards such as this show that industry is capable of setting its own standards and establishing them beyond its own borders."
In his welcome address Markus Akermann, Chairman of the Management Board of the Holcim Foundation and CEO of Holcim Ltd, stressed that progress and sustainable development are closely linked to the name Holcim: "Through the Holcim Foundation we are significantly promoting public understanding of sustainable construction."
Referring to the Romanian participation in the competition, Markus Wirth, Country Manager Holcim (Romania) stated: "Romanian architects and construction engineers were very well prepared, and they proved it by submitting a significant number of projects in the competition. 22 teams from Romania assisted to Holcim Awards with their projects this year. Through this contest, Romanians won international recognition and we hope that for the next year's edition one of the prizes will go to the Romanian specialists."
The pre-selection of the projects was made by teams of specialists from Holcim Foundation's partner-universities in each region of the world. The projects were assessed by regional independent juries, also using the Internet. The Romanian professor, Radu Teaca from "Ion Mincu" Architecture University in Bucharest, was member of the Europe region jury.
The 12-person jury used the five criteria for sustainable construction adopted by Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction: quantum change and transferability, ecological quality and energy conservation, Economic performance and compatibility, contextual response and aesthetic impact. The first prize, awarded for development and innovation, in total amount of USD 100,000 went to Professor Luigi Centola from Rome for a revitalization project in a side valley near Amalfi, Italy. In the words of the jury president Professor Mohsen Mostafavi, the expansive restoration and renewal project "perfectly combines historic and modern architecture".
The second prize, of USD 50,000, awarded for a rail station terminal, went to Christoph Ingenhoven from Düsseldorf. The jury president Mohsen Mostafavi said: "This project establishes in an aesthetic way a dialog between the natural and the man-made environment."
The third prize, of USD 25,000, awarded for a market place, went onto Jürgen Mayer H., architect from Berlin, and Carlos Merino, engineer from Madrid. "This building is a genuine monument that stresses the importance of the marketplace in the city. It is an aesthetically pleasing response to the frequently criticized loss of public space", reasons the jury.
Besides the three Holcim Awards, three Acknowledgment and three Encouragement prizes were awarded in Geneva.
Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction drew great interest in Europe, with nearly 400 entries from over 20 countries. Globally, over 1,500 projects from 118 countries were submitted. The spectrum of entries was enormous. It ranged from innovative materials and construction elements to sustainable concepts for large buildings and urban development plans.
Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction is recognizing this year the regional winners in the five regions Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa/Middle East, and Asia/Oceania. The three best projects from each region will participate automatically in the global Awards competition to be celebrated in April 2006 in Bangkok. The independent Foundation is an initiative of Holcim Ltd, one of the world's leading suppliers of cement, aggregates, concrete and construction-related services with Group companies and affiliates in more than 70 countries.
Holcim (Romania) S.A. is the Romanian subsidiary of Holcim Group Ltd, one of the world's leading suppliers of cement, as well as aggregates (gravel and sand), concrete and construction-related services. One of the top players in the world construction materials industry, the Group is based in Switzerland and has majority and minority interests in more than 70 countries on all continents. Holcim employs more than 60,000 people operating 130 cement plants and grinding stations and over 750 ready-mixed concrete plants throughout the world. Holcim is also one of the first international players in the construction industry to have invested in Eastern Europe after 1989. Holcim (Romania) S.A. currently operates 3 cement plants, in Turda, Campulung and Alesd, 12 ready-mixed concrete plants (9 of which have been built based on the concept of environment friendliness) and 4 aggregates plants. Holcim (Romania) S.A. currently has approximately 1,300 employees. The website of the company is www.holcim.ro.