Holcim (Romania) organizes this year a series of activities intended to introduce an innovative concept in the field of Romanian architecture and construction - the concept of sustainable constructions, which represents the path to be followed for everything that will be built in the future. The way people will build houses, schools, office buildings and any other construction will influence our planet's sustainability, if we take in account that the constructions industry consumes a quarter of resources and energy used all over the world these days.
During 24-26 august, at Dealu Frumos, near Sibiu, Holcim (Romania) organized an international seminar on sustainable constructions. This event aimed to help the Romanian competitors obtain a place on the podium of the international competition Holcim Awards, organized by Holcim Foundation.
The contest is addressed to all those involved in the field of architecture and constructions - architects, constructors, designers and urban engineers, and is also opened to students studying these fields. The contest, which is organized on regional and global level, offers to the winners USD 2 million prizes. The reward for each of the five regions in competition (Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa - Middle East, Asia?- Pacific) amounts to 270,000 USD, and the prize money for global level totals USD 650,000.
The theme for the Dealu Frumos seminar was more interesting also from the perspective that, in the 21st century, the number of urban population increases globally each week by 1.25 million people.
Sustainable constructions represent at first sight a complex concept, but to make it more easily to understand, evaluate and apply, Holcim Foundation set a few criteria on which a building can be framed into this pattern?- whether or not it respects ecological criteria and energy conservation, has high economic performances and compatibility, applies ethical and social equity standards, has high contextual and aesthetic impact, and has a high degree of transformation and transferability.
Sustainable constructions mean urbanization projects, cities and buildings, which answer to emotional and psychological need of the people by offering them a stimulating environment, helping them acknowledge the important values, which can inspire them, and to create connections between neighborhoods, communities and societies. Many of the sustainable constructions projects enrolled during the first edition of the Holcim Awards (2005-2006) were presented by teams that utilized a collective approach and involved the final users in the design and implementation of the projects, from the beginning and to the last detail.
During the three days of the seminar, the competitors had the opportunity to take part in discussion sessions on sustainable constructions and to receive answers to all their questions about this field, which is undergoing through a development process in Romania.
"I have always believed in the talent of Romanian professionals in the field of architecture and constructions and, I must admit, I have often wondered why they don't have more chances within international contests. What we intend to do is to help them come closer to the winners' podium, and to offer so much information and knowledge that they would be among the winners. We know that they have their chance and we believe in their talent," said Markus Wirth, Country Manager of Holcim (Romania).
One of the guests of the seminar was Claudia De Vargas Macciucca, member of the gold winning team at Holcim Awards 2005 - Europe and of the silver winning team at Global Holcim Award 2006, with the project "Waterpower - Renewal strategy for the Mullini Valley near Amalfi". The guest made general recommendations regarding the contest and presented thoroughly the winning project.
Another important contribution within the Dealu Frumos seminar was the presence of Kaarin Taipale, former member of the Holcim Awards 2006 jury. She made a detailed presentation of the evaluation criteria for the contest and she drew the "portrait" of a winning project.
Moreover, another important guest at the seminar was architect Alina Radu, the only Romanian representative at "Holcim Forum for Sustainable Construction", reunion which took place this September in Shanghai. Alina Radu presented important aspects of the concept of sustainable constructions, which, in fact, marks the architecture of the future.
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The international contest Holcim Awards is organized by Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Development, with the support of five most prestigious technical universities in the world, respective Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) from Switzerland; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from Cambridge, USA; Tongji University (TJU) from Shanghai, China; Iberoamerican University (UIA) from Mexico City, Mexic and Witwatersrand University (Wits) from Johannesburg, South Africa.
The prizes for the five regional competitions and for the global competition total the amount of USD 2 million. The second edition of this competition, which is intended to promote on a global scale the projects of sustainable constructions, was opened on 1st of June 2007, and the projects can be enrolled in the contest until 29th of February 2008, on the website www.holcimawards.org.
The contest Holcim Awards from 2005/2006 attracted over 3,000 projects from 120 countries; 22 being registered by Romanian professionals in the field of constructions and architecture, and also students.