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Sustainable Building Projects Vie for $2 Million Purse

The Swiss-based Holcim Foundation has launched a $2 million awards program recognizing sustainable construction projects.

The Holcim Foundation is working in cooperation with five of the world’s most renowned technical universities: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, USA; the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), Switzerland; the University of São Paulo, Brazil; the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa; and Tongji University in Shanghai, China.

The universities lead independent juries which will evaluate entries in the awards competition using five “target issues” of sustainable construction -- quantum change and transferability; ethical standards and social equity; ecological quality and energy saving; economic performance and compatibility; and contextual response and aesthetic impact.

Up to nine awards will be presented in each of five geographic regions: North America, Europe, Latin America, Africa Middle East, and Asia Pacific. Regional award winners will then qualify for the global awards competition to be held in 2007.

Prof. Dr. Hans-Rudolf Schalcher, head of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at the ETH Zurich and a member of the Board of the Holcim Foundation, said that the competition provides an ideal opportunity for sustainable construction projects to be recognized and innovation shared in a wider audience.

“Through sharing innovative approaches to sustainable construction, the Holcim Awards will recognize ground-breaking methods of reaching sustainability targets – and provide potential benefits in other communities with adaptation to local climatic, economic and cultural contexts” he said.

The regional jury for North America is headed by the dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT, Adèle Naudé Santos, an internationally acclaimed architect and urban designer and highly respected educator. Other members of the jury include Gregory Keoleian, co-director of the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan, and Robert Somol, professor of the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA.

To be eligible for entry, projects must have reached an advanced design stage but construction must not have yet commenced. Entries must be submitted online. The competition deadline is March 31, 2005.

The winning entries for region North America will be announced at a gala dinner at the MIT Convention Center, Boston on September 29, 2005.

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