The winners of the Holcim Awards 2014 winners for North America have been announced in Toronto. The thirteen winning projects share in more than USD 300,000 prize money, and illustrate how sustainable construction continues to evolve – developing more sophisticated and multi-disciplinary responses to the challenges facing the building and construction industry.
Amy Mielke - Water Pore Partnership, New York, USA; Caitlin Gucker-Kanter Taylor - Water Pore Partnership, New York, USA
Water absorptive surface and subterranean basin
This design proposal repositions water infrastructure as a civic project. Facing a significant shortage of water in an arid region, local drainage systems are incapable of handling and collecting the water that floods the Las Vegas valley when it rains.
Poreform, a porous concrete surface poured in place with fabric formwork is capable of rapid saturation and slow release, and reframes water as a valuable resource rather than a liability.
Rebuilding by Design
Bjarke Ingels - BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group
Urban flood protection infrastructure
The BIG U project addresses the vulnerability of New York City to coastal flooding and proposes a protective ribbon around lower Manhattan. The master plan uses a raised berm strategically to create a sequence of public spaces along the water’s edge along the raised bank.
The infrastructural barrier incorporates a range of neighborhood functions and as a result offers multiple design opportunities, fostering local commercial, recreational, and cultural activities.
David Benjamin - The Living, New York, USA
Zero carbon emissions compostable structure
Hy-Fi is a cluster of circular towers formed using reflective bricks, designed for and commissioned by the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program. The structure uses recent advances in biotechnology combined with cutting-edge computation and engineering to create new building materials that are almost fully organically grown and compostable.
Beyond the use of technological innovations, the tower challenges perceptual expectations through unexpected relationships of patterns, color, and light.
Sheila Kennedy - Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Boston, USA; Frano Violich - Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Boston, USA
Affordable residential urban infill development
The design offers a viable solution to the “housing question” – promoting an affordable model for residential development in a dense urban neighborhood.
The structure, a wooden construction with a layered metal screen, takes its identity from its immediate surroundings through set-back terraces, the transformation of wrought iron fire escapes into digitally fabricated shading elements, and a commercial space at street level.
Nader Tehrani - NADAAA, Boston, USA; Katherine Faulkner - NADAAA, Boston, USA
University building renovation and extension
The proposed building provides a new home for the John H Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape & Design on the site of a culturally significant nineteenth century structure.
The project’s basic objectives are to rehabilitate existing urban, landscape, and architectural elements – and, to demonstrate the university’s aim to foreground sustainability as part of its pedagogic program via state-of-the-art construction materials and energy systems.
Peter Arnold - Woodbury University, Arid Lands Institute, Burbank, USA; Hadley Arnold - Woodbury University, Arid Lands Institute, Burbank, USA
Digital tool for urban design and water-use planning
This digital tool for urban design in water stressed environments uses multi-spectral satellite imagery, digital terrain models, and geotechnical datasets. It models precipitation, soil quality, land use, and groundwater contamination in a dynamic, publicly-accessible instrument for architects, landscape designers, and planners.
It aims to maximize low-carbon localized water supply, reduce dependence on water imports, and to guide water-smart planning by supporting site assessment.
Etienne Feher - ABF-lab architects - engineers, Paris, France; Paul Azzopardi - ABF-lab architects - engineers, Paris, France; Noé Basch - ABF-lab architects - engineers, Paris, France
Public park and interactive wall for urban revival
The master plan reintroduces a forest in the heart of Seattle, USA, giving homage to the past while reminding present-day and future residents of the city’s natural habitat.
Planned for implementation over decades to come, the project aims to be adaptable to future changes, an objective that is straightforwardly supported by minimal interventions and restraint of formal means.
Next Generation 1st Prize
Trash for Use
Municipal center for harvesting utility from waste
As waste removal becomes increasingly difficult to handle and landfill space more scarce, cities must become more resourceful in how they address their refuse. The project proposes a building in the midst of the metropolis for waste collection and processing, a “machine for turning trash into treasure”.
The municipal Center for Harvesting Utility from Waste (CHUW) recognizes an opportunity to locally treat collected waste, separating the components to exploit its content.
Next Generation 2nd Prize
Kenya Endo - Atelier Dreiseitl asia, Singapore, Singapore
Coal mining sites for hydro-pump electricity storage
The project foregrounds the need to promote renewable energy production in the United States and specifically proposes to utilize abandoned underground coal mining sites for hydro-pump electricity storage in Greene County, Pennsylvania.
The water collected in the subterranean caverns comprises a form of embedded energy that can be easily harnessed by using time-honored methods of hydroelectric power generation.
Next Generation 3rd Prize
Beomki Lee - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA; Suk Lee - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA; Daeho Lee - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA
Air purification wall transforming carbon dioxide into oxygen
Developed by students at MIT, Pleura Pod is a wall system where architecture and nature coexist. The term “pleura” is used to describe a thin membrane covering the lungs with closed cavities containing a small amount of fluid that minimizes the friction of respiratory movements.
Learning from nature, the research team explored a wall assembly with small cavities filled with algae and through which air is circulated, with the algae transforming carbon dioxide into oxygen.
Next Generation 4th Prize
Jonathan Enns - Enns Design/solidoperations, Toronto, Canada
Interlocking panelized timber building system
Timber-Link uses cross laminated timber (CLT) to form a flexible system of clustered inhabitable cells. Building panels are prefabricated with insulation and cladding installed before assembly, thus expediting erection and reducing the need for skilled labor on site – especially for situations requiring speedy construction such as disaster relief.
The system can be deployed at different scales, configurations, and circumstances. Layouts can vary through stacking and/or telescoping.
Next Generation 5th Prize
Mark Turibius Jongman-Sereno - Harvard University, Cambridge, USA; Mira Irawan - New York University (NYU), New York, USA; David O’Brien - Iowa State University, Ames, USA
Adaptive reuse of a parking structure for cultural activities
This project explores the concept and potential of adaptive post-occupation of unused infrastructure. Using a parking garage the scheme proposes to convert the “found” structure – an “objet trouvé” in the city, so to speak – into a public building hosting a range of cultural activities.
The stacked floors of the garage and its circulation ramp are literally re-used to accommodate new functions.
Next Generation 6th Prize
Namjoo Kim - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA
Concrete wall panel construction method
The research project investigates a new construction method for creating thin concrete panels. The faceted formwork includes a substructure of flexible wire mesh providing basic geometry, and a lining made of a latex sheet that determines the panel’s final form.
The proposed method aims to reduce the weight of concrete molds and the amount of material used in construction.