Top Sustainable Construction Projects

7 Februarie 2012

The four winning projects at Global Holcim Awards offer ingenious solutions to reduce pollution of a river, rehabilitation of historic centers, land reclamation, or lower electricity consumption.

In the second cycle of the Holcim Awards competition signed-up almost 5,000 sustainable construction projects and visions from 121 countries entered the five regional Holcim Awards competitions in 2008. Winners of the Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards in each region automatically qualified for the Global Holcim Awards competition in 2009.

To celebrate the best projects that participated at the competition Holcim foundation published the book Second Holcim Awards - Sustainable Construction 2008/2009. This presents innovative approaches and integrated solutions that meet societal needs, address environmental performance and ecological footprints, and improve economic efficiency through a combination of lower resource and energy consumption.

The global jury was headed by Charles Correa (architect, India) and included Peter Head (structural engineer, UK), Enrique Norten (architect, Mexico/USA), Saskia Sassen (sociologist, USA), Hans-Rudolf Schalcher (civil engineer, Switzerland), and Rolf Soiron (economist, Switzerland).

Gold for River remediation and urban development scheme in Fez, Morocco
A project centered upon restoration of the river through the UNESCO World Heritage listed Medina of Fez was awarded the top prize of USD 300,000 and the Global Holcim Awards Gold. A youthful and international project team led by architect Aziza Chaouni (Morocco) and urban planner Takako Tajima (USA) are remediating the heavily-polluted river Fez to revitalize the ancient heart of the city.

The approach includes a series of interventions to renovate traditional tanneries, create public spaces and pedestrian zones, and restore wetlands as well as biodiversity.

The project authors formed NGO Sauvons Oued Fez (Save the Fez River) after winning the regional Holcim Awards Gold 2008 Africa Middle East. The NGO is a network to advance the sub-projects of the remediation and encourage community involvement.

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Silver for Low-impact Greenfield university campus in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The Global Holcim Awards Silver with USD 200,000 in prize money was awarded to a new campus for the University of Architecture in Ho Chi Minh City, designed by architect Kazuhiro Kojima (Japan).

Further contributors to the project were Daisuke Sanuki (Japan) and Trong Nghia Vo (Vietnam). The project avoids massive land reclamation on an island in the Mekong Delta and aims for harmony with all elements of the surrounding ecosystem: flooding rice fields, mangroves, winds and seasonal changes.

Electricity consumption is cleverly reduced through the inclusion of solar lighting and extensive use of photo-voltaic cells to meet energy requirements. Natural ventilation and solar shading mean that most locations on campus will need no air conditioning, and rainwater is harvested for gray water use and cooling through vaporization. A time-honored local construction method - brick-filled concrete frames finished with a façade of porous bamboo or mangrove timber - is used to enhance ventilation.

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Bronze for Sustainable planning for a rural community in Beijing, China
A rural planning design for a suburban village in Beijing, China received the Global Holcim Awards Bronze and USD 100,000 for effectively combining heritage preservation, traditional knowledge, local materials, modern technology, and professional project management. The comprehensive urban planning strategy led by Yue Zhang (China) and Feng Ni (China) improves logistics, public utilities and services while meeting stringent ecological and energy-saving targets for new buildings.

The project applies a detailed approach to challenges of pollution, urban sprawl, loss of agricultural land, food security and limited resources. The planning has a high potential to become a role model for the sustainable development of rural communities and urban districts in emerging economics and was recipient of the Holcim Awards Gold Asia Pacific in 2008.

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"Innovation" prize for Self-contained day labor station in San Francisco, USA
The Global Holcim Awards "Innovation" prize including USD 50,000 went to a project that establishes informal stations where day laborers can meet and wait for casual work.

More than that the center offers shelter, benches, washrooms, a kitchen and an education/training space - creating a sensitive environment for people who find themselves on the edge of the community and at the same time addressing health and safety needs. Green and recycled materials are used to minimize the environmental footprint and economic cost of each facility.

The project was designed by Liz Ogbu (USA) and John Peterson (USA) of San Francisco-based nonprofit Public Architecture

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