Earlier this month, the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction announced the winners for the 2017 LafargeHolcim Awards (North American region) in Chicago. The foundation recognizes in-progress designs—not yet built—that demonstrate sustainable solutions to technological, environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural issues affecting contemporary construction. Presented every three years, more than half of the 200 previously awarded projects have gone into development.
Constance C. Bodurow of studio[Ci] took top honours this year, winning the Gold Award for neighbourhood planning in an under-utilized district in Detroit. The design empowers the community through civic engagement by reimagining vacant lots as opportunities for economic growth. The community-owned and -managed infrastructure includes plans for local energy and food production, as well as water and waste management. The jury praised studio[Ci]’s reimagining of “pocket vacancies” in Detroit as an opportunity to develop a “compelling, sustainable neighbourhood.” (Click here to read about the Toronto firm that took this prize in 2011.)
Oliver Lang and Cynthia Wilson from Vancouver’s LWPAC + Intelligent City won the Silver Award for their innovative modular mid-rise housing design. The designers envision mixed-use housing through an adaptable modular panel system that creates a variety of unit layouts, both for single buildings and large developments, effectively merging sustainability with affordability.
The Bronze was awarded to Sheila Kennedy and Juan Frano Violich (Kennedy & Violich) based at Wellesley College in Boston for their net-zero greenhouse design. Using local materials and labour, this project reimagines the greenhouse—generally considered a high-energy structure—as an energy-efficient site, suitable for studies of plant-form adaptations.
Another Canadian—Jason Heinrich of the University of British Columbia (Vancouver)—was among those honoured with the Next Generation Prize for young designers, recognized for his protocol for the agent-based transformation of a Vancouver neighbourhood. (Click here to read about a 2014 Canadian winner of this award.)
The North American Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners will compete for the Global LafargeHolcim Awards in March 2018, along with the top winners from Europe, Latin America, Middle East Africa, and Asia Pacific. The foundation reviewed over 5000 entries from 121 different countries for the 2017 awards cycle.
The next LafargeHolcim Awards competition opens for entries in mid-2019.
Click here to read about the 2014 winners.