LafargeHolcim Awards 2017 – North America

John Hill
13. October 2017
Gold: Comprehensive neighborhood planning in Detroit, USA (All images courtesy of the the LafargeHolcim Foundation)

At a recent ceremony in Chicago, Illinois, the LafargeHolcim Foundation announced the winners of the LafargeHolcim Awards 2017 for North America, projects that "show how the leading edge of sustainable design means reaching far beyond 'common sense'."

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 followed by Europe, Latin America, and now North America. The next and last regional award will be made for 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

Gold: Comprehensive neighborhood planning in Detroit, USA
​Main author: Constance C. Bodurow - studio[Ci], Detroit, USA

Gold: Comprehensive neighborhood planning in Detroit, USA

Jury report: "The jury commended the proposal’s fundamentally optimistic approach. Taking the pocket vacancies normally characterized as the biggest problem in Detroit, the design turns them into an opportunity to create a compelling sustainable neighborhood. The combination of solar and geothermal energy, rainwater collection, and community gardening is particularly powerful in a city that struggles to provide basic services at the municipal level. Physical investiture is complemented with education through training programs and investment through collective ownership and revenue sharing. Here, the infrastructure of energy and food production reinforces the infrastructure of community building. The strengths of the project in organization and planning are not yet matched by its architectural expression and the jury noted that the multifunctional umbrella roof being proposed will need to be refined as it moves into more detailed design phases."

Gold: Comprehensive neighborhood planning in Detroit, USA

LafargeHolcim Awards Silver 2017 – USD 50,000

Silver: Flexible sustainable housing in Vancouver, Canada
Main authors: Cynthia Wilson - LWPAC + Intelligent City, Vancouver, Canada; Oliver Lang - LWPAC + Intelligent City, Vancouver, Canada

Silver: Flexible sustainable housing in Vancouver, Canada

Jury report: "The jury was impressed by the comprehensive, construction-based approach. By focusing on streamlining the building process, the proposal is able to merge sustainability with affordability. The question it addresses is a crucial one in many cities across the region: how to provide sustainable, affordable housing in high-value urban areas. It does so through a careful examination of housing’s basics: aggregation, modularity, and scalability. This approach is further strengthened by its focus not just on components but systems and its concentrated effort to strive for net zero energy. The project’s methodology that makes high quality, affordable housing a question of both engineering and spatial quality is a powerful claim."

Silver: Flexible sustainable housing in Vancouver, Canada

LafargeHolcim Awards Bronze 2017 – USD 30,000

Bronze: Holistically designed greenhouse in Boston, USA
Main author: Sheila Kennedy - Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Boston, USA; Frano Violich - Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Boston, USA

Bronze: Holistically designed greenhouse in Boston, USA

Jury report: "From Joseph Paxton onward, the greenhouse has been a compelling architectural type for everything from plants to exhibitions to radical housing. Greenhouses stand for challenges posed to the profession of architecture to reduce the means needed for enclosure. The jury greatly valued this project for addressing this history with a reduction not just in material for enclosure; but also in the resources needed for ongoing use. Sustainability is at the very core of the design in structure, form, and system. The project meets sustainability metrics as a matter of course and then goes much further to achieve a virtuosity of integration."

Bronze: Holistically designed greenhouse in Boston, USA

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.

The LafargeHolcim Awards jury for region North America, left to right: Dominique Corvez (USA), Kevin Daly (USA), Paul Fast (Canada), Ray Cole (Canada), Harry Gugger (Switzlerland), Jeanne Gang (USA), Marc Angélil (Switzerland), Forrest Meggers (USA), and Jennifer Wolch (USA).

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