Late last year in Zurich, Switzerland, the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction invited architects, engineers and other specialists in the construction industry to join the first ever Holcim Awards, a competition for innovative construction projects that meet the standards of sustainable construction. Within five months, 1500 projects from 118 countries were submitted to the foundation via a dedicated website. By the third quarter, the foundation will award the main prizes, namely, three recognition awards, and encouragement prizes in each of five geographic regions worldwide.
Reviewed by technical universities and assessed by independent juries, more than 90 per cent of the submitted projects passed the formal check, leaving the expert juries a total of 1360 projects to evaluate. The competition is carried out in four languages. Half the entries are in English, a third in Spanish, and the remaining entries in Portuguese or French.
The entries will be evaluated by independent jurors in close collaboration with the five partner universities of the Holcim Foundation: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, USA; Tongji University, Shanghai, China; University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, South Africa.
When submitted, projects must be in an advanced design stage though prior to construction. In cooperation with its partner universities, the Holcim Foundation has defined five challenging target issues for sustainable construction.
The prize money totals $220,000 per region. The three top projects from each region will automatically qualify for the global Holcim Awards competition in the second quarter of 2006 in Bangkok, in which prizes totalling $900,000 will be awarded. In this phase the award winners will be selected by a jury of independent specialists representing all continents.
The independent Foundation is an initiative of Holcim Ltd., a worldwide suppliers of cement, aggregates, concrete, and construction- related services. The Holcim Group has companies and affiliates in more than 70 countries.