The winners of the 3rd International Holcim Awards competition for sustainable construction projects and visions from across Latin America have just been announced. A total of USD 300,000 was presented to eleven outstanding projects at a ceremony in Buenos Aires. The winning projects mainly address the challenges of intensified urbanization – and range in scale from innovative community buildings through to broad master plans and infrastructure projects.
The Swiss-based Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction conducts the competition in parallel in five regions across the world. More than 6,000 submissions for projects located in 146 countries entered the Holcim Awards which aims to promote sustainable responses from the building and construction industry to technological, environmental, socioeconomic and cultural issues.
A multifunctional public building in the Paraisópolis favela of São Paulo, Brazil won the top prize of USD 100,000. The Grotão – Fábrica de Música prevents further erosion and dangerous mudslides on the steep slopes and provides social and cultural infrastructure to a community which is effectively separated from the formal city. The project led by Alfredo Brillembourg of Urban Think Tank includes a terraced public space featuring areas for urban agriculture, a water management system, a public amphitheater, a music school, a small concert hall, sports facilities, public spaces and transport infrastructure.
Head of the jury and Dean of Architecture at the Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA) in Mexico City, Carolyn Aguilar, praised the project for its unifying concept, premium cultural facilities, architectural quality, and integrated involvement of the local community in a socially-inclusive planning and management approach. “The project has the potential to contribute to an enrichment of social awareness and cohesion in the area, and applies technical features in an exemplary and educative character,” she said.
The Holcim Awards Silver was presented to a strategic response to the earthquake and tsunami risk in the coastal city of Constitución, Chile. Instead of considering a construction ban or a massive barrier along the risk zones, the project led by Alejandro Aravena of ELEMENTAL S.A. recommends planting forests along the flood-prone areas to dissipate the energy of waves through friction and implementing specific restrictions on the use and layout of ground floor spaces in the risk zone. The project advocates a long-term strategy to upgrade the built environment rather than implementing an ad hoc action plan to reconstruct the part of the city that was destroyed by the tsunami and earthquake. The approach was also applauded by the jury for integrating citizen participation to enhance the contextual and social sensitivity of the master plan.
The Holcim Awards Bronze was awarded to a master plan designed by Jose Castillo of arquitectura 911sc for the northwest sector of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, which suffers from increasing violence due to its strategic position for drugs and arms trafficking. The project is based on the consolidation of existing water retention basins to mitigate future flooding, and their conversion into public spaces including agricultural terraces, community workshops, commercial lots, playgrounds, sporting facilities, a skate park and progressive housing units. The project was recognized for providing space for economic, educational and recreational activities with the overall intention to strengthen community networks.
Acknowledgement prizes were allocated to three submissions from Mexico: a project led by Jorge Ambrosi of Ambrosi Arquitectos for an ecological awareness and recreation reserve in Banderilla; the recovery of the rail transport network in the Oaxaca Valley by Gustavo Madrid Vazquez of espacio entre tiempo Architects; and, an urban transit corridor and river remediation master plan for Mexico City led by Elias Cattan of Taller13 Arquitectura Regenerativa. A library in Rosario, Argentina with an integrated community outreach program led by Alfredo Tapia of AFT Arquitectos and the proposal by Mathias Klotz of klotz y asociados ltda for a green university library in Santiago, Chile also received Acknowledgement prizes.
The Holcim Awards competition recognizes the importance of engaging tomorrow’s professionals on the theme of sustainable construction, and sharing their visions and ideas. The “Next Generation” category was open to student projects. The first prize was awarded to a team of students led by Mauro Ivan Barrio, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (UNC) in Argentina for their vision of an energy self-sufficient water desalination facility. A proposal to reinvigorate waterways for transportation and sustainable development in Puerto Suárez, Bolivia, by Martin Fernández de Lema of the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), Argentina received the second prize. A team led by Gabriel Kozlowski Maia of Pontifícia Universidade Católica (PUC-Rio), Brazil was awarded the third prize for a proposal to densify and upgrade the PUC-Rio campus.
Holcim Awards submissions for projects in Latin America were evaluated by an independent jury hosted by the UIA in Mexico City: Carolyn Aguilar (Head, Mexico), Marc M Angélil (Switzerland), Daniel Bermúdez (Colombia), Angelo Bucci (Brazil), Vanderley M John (Brazil), Andreas Leu (Switzerland), Michel Rojkind (Mexico), Hans-Rudolf Schalcher (Switzerland) and Bruno Stagno (Costa Rica) used the five “target issues” for sustainable construction developed by the Holcim Foundation to evaluate submissions. The “target issues” address the triple bottom line of economic, environmental, and social factors together with architectural quality and the potential to apply the innovation in other locations.
See also the projects that won the five Acknowledgement Prizes and three "Next Generation" Prizes in the image gallery below. All images courtesy of the Holcim Foundation.
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