The International Union of Architects (UIA) and the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction seek to cooperate to inspire better sustainability performance in planning, architecture and building.
The global Holcim Awards competition for architects, engineers and related professions will raise its profile through closer ties to the UIA network of national architects' associations. The Holcim Awards aims to progressively form a worldwide community of recognized practitioners of excellence in sustainable construction.
The competition celebrates ground-breaking and more sustainable approaches to designing and building houses, working environments and infrastructure, and also includes a "Next Generation" category for young professionals to develop "blue sky" concepts that point the way to the future.
"The Holcim Foundation is delighted to collaborate with the UIA," said Holcim Foundation Management Board Chairman Markus Akermann. "Sustainable construction is important for everyone in terms of environmental, economic and social progress. Together we will strive to find opportunities at the design and construction phases of building projects to really make a difference and multiply best practice".
"The UIA has been interested in the activities of the Holcim Foundation since it was established," said UIA immediate Past President, Gaëtan Siew. "The Holcim Awards competition has a high degree of independence and credibility that meet the competition standards set up by the UIA."
The UIA Working Program on Sustainable Architecture assists the architectural profession in making an effective contribution to the challenges of sustainability on the local and global scale - and makes available architectural expertise in addressing sustainability. The Holcim Foundation is eager to contribute to the program to provide practicing architects and related professionals with access to information and continuing education on the issues of sustainability.
The UIA is the world's leading global network dedicated to the architectural profession and has grown to encompass the key professional organizations of architects in over 120 countries, representing more than 1.4 million architects worldwide.
At the 2008 UIA World Congress of Architecture in Turin an expert on sustainable construction in tropical regions, Bruno Stagno, showed how the principles of sustainability could be applied in the design and construction of an office building. The internationally-renowned Costa Rican architect explained how an office building in San José reduces energy demand through natural lighting and ventilation, achieves this at a relatively modest cost, presents a striking and attractive appearance, and provides a stimulating work environment.
Bruno Stagno showed how the "target issues" for sustainable construction, developed by the Holcim Foundation and its partner universities, applied to his design for the head office of Holcim Costa Rica which was named by the Spanish version of GEO magazine as one of the five pioneering sustainable buildings on the planet. The "target issues" also serve as the basis of the adjudication process of the Holcim Awards and as a framework for other activities of the Holcim Foundation.
Three of the target issues for sustainable construction are the same as the three goals of sustainable development: balanced environmental, social, and economic performance. One applies specifically to building: the creation and improvement of buildings, neighborhoods, towns, and cities. And one recognizes the global urgency of sustainable construction: the need for significant advancements that can be applied on a broad scale.
"Sustainable construction will only have a broad, effective and recognized impact when the ideas of sustainable buildings are adopted by the vast majority of architects, builders, investors and clients," said Bruno Stagno. "The Holcim Awards competition brings to attention diverse strategies for addressing sustainability and enables new projects to consider different approaches to best meet economic, environmental and social performance criteria".
The Holcim Foundation will announce the winners of the regional phase of the Holcim Awards competition in late 2008. The regional Holcim Awards Gold, Silver and Bronze winners will automatically qualify for the global Awards to be announced in mid-2009.
The Holcim Foundation was established in 2003 and is supported by Holcim Ltd and its Group companies in more than 70 countries, but is independent of commercial interests. Holcim Ltd is one of the world's leading producers of cement and aggregates. The Swiss building materials Group also supplies ready-mix concrete and asphalt and a range of other services. Holcim Ltd holds majority and minority interests in more than 70 countries and employs almost 90,000 people.
Media contact: Edward Schwarz, +41 58 858 82 94, egs(at)holcimfoundation.org
Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction
Hagenholzstrasse 85, CH-8050 Zurich/Switzerland
Phone +41 58 858 82 92
Media kit including high-resolution images, MS Word (DOC) format for media release and fact sheet (in English, French and German) available for download: www.holcimfoundation.org/T706/uia.htm