LafargeHolcim Awards 2017 – Middle East Africa

John Hill
8. September 2017
Gold Medal: Legacy Restored (All images courtesy of the the LafargeHolcim Foundation)

At a recent ceremony in Nairobi the LafargeHolcim Foundation announced the winners of the LafargeHolcim Awards 2017 for Africa and the Middle East, sustainable projects "that go beyond standards and deliver new or visionary solutions."

Every three years the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction gives out USD 2 million in awards in what they consider "the world's most significant competition in sustainable design." The fifth iteration of the international competition drew 5,085 entries by authors in 121 countries. With so many entries, the competition is carried out in five regions, as in previous years; the first regional awards were given out for Middle East Africa. Subsequent awards will be made for Europe, North America, Latin America, and Asia Pacific. Winners qualify for the Global Holcim Award 2018 to be decided in March 2018.

Below we highlight the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners selected by the nine-member jury in May. They were asked to select winners based on five "target issues" that "aim to clarify principles for sustaining the human habitat for future generations."

LafargeHolcim Awards Gold 2017 - USD 100,000

Legacy Restored: Religious and secular complex, Dandaji, Niger
Authors: Mariam Kamara and Yasaman Esmaili, USA

Gold Medal: Legacy Restored

Jury report: "The jury greatly appreciated the project’s reuse of an existing structure and close engagement with the social and built fabric of the village; and ultimately felt that the project was both an intelligent reinterpretation of tradition and very much at home in the context. The believable depictions of life in the project were a further strength. The combination of traditional and new forms as well as techniques allows the possibility of maintaining knowledge through construction, integrates the passive climate control of traditional massive, cross ventilated structures, and engages in a discourse on the history of the site and on the project’s role in bringing a community together."

Gold Medal: Legacy Restored

LafargeHolcim Awards Silver 2017 – USD 50,000

Weaving and Stamping: Elementary school and craft training center, Aït Benhaddou, Morocco
​Author: Fatima-azzahra Bendahmane, Morocco

Silver Medal: Weaving and Stamping

Jury report: "The jury commended the intricate relationship between the project’s program and its design. By explicitly incorporating the craft traditions that the project aims to advance, the building’s construction actively cultivates its own program. The elegant architecture was seen as an intelligent way of reestablishing traditional techniques of artisanship that are no longer in common use. At the same time, the thick walls and modulated shading present a careful response to climatic conditions that are simultaneously used to give the design aesthetic complexity. The project still requires refinements that adjust to the realities of working with rammed earth construction. Despite this critique, the comprehensive, research-driven approach of the design convinced the jury of the project’s merits and its strong statement of craft as a living and modern tradition."

Silver Medal: Weaving and Stamping

LafargeHolcim Awards Bronze 2017 – USD 30,000

Pavilion Re-claimed: Adaptive reuse for refugee education, Syria
Authors: Joana Dabaj, Riccardo Conti and Matteo Zerbi, Libya

Bronze Medal: Pavilion Re-claimed

Jury report: "The jury was greatly moved by the project’s contribution to the ongoing humanitarian crisis of Syrian refugees and the ingenious reinvention of the pavilion as a school. Within a context lacking basic infrastructure the project provides not only space for education, but also a dignified environment that is a source of pride for the community who helped to build it. Through the use of what would otherwise be material waste (i.e., both the pavilion and the wool insulation), the school is the impressive result of limited means and resources. The project is an implicit critique of the high-design, short lifecycle model of grand exhibition events and offers a potent template for future application."

Bronze Medal: Pavilion Re-claimed

Visit the Holcim Awards website for more information on the winning projects and to see the four winners of the Acknowledgement Prizes and the four recipients of the "Next Generation" prizes for young architects and students.

LafargeHolcim Awards jury for Middle East Africa, left to right: Marc Angélil (Switzerland), Joe Osae-Addo, (Ghana), Meisa Batayneh Maani (Jordan), Nagwa Sherif (Egypt, Head of Jury), Mohsen Ech (Lebanon/France), Howayda Al-Harithy (Lebanon), Fasil Giorghis (Ethiopia), Kunlé Adeyemi (Nigeria) and Chrisna du Plessis (South Africa).

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