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Regional visions applauded by Holcim Awards

The second Regional Holcim Awards 2008 Africa Middle East competition winners were celebrated in Marrakesh yesterday with a total prize money of US$ 270,000 presented to eleven projects. The selection of winning projects included the revitalization of the Fez River in Morocco, a school and orphans home in Uganda, the 400m tall Lighthouse Tower in Dubai, an amphibious dwellings project in Nigeria and anti-desertification architecture applying biotechnology to stop desert encroachment in Sokoto.

The diversity of the projects positively demonstrates the broad scope for applying sustainable construction approaches to the built environment across public and private architecture, urban planning, and environmental long and short-term remediation.

The Marrakech event was the fourth of five regional ceremonies in 2008, with the results for Asia Pacific to be celebrated in New Delhi at the end of November. Gold, silver and bronze prize winners from each region automatically qualify for the global Holcim Awards competition. The projects will be further evaluated by a global jury and the winners proclaimed in Switzerland in May 2009.

The Holcim Awards is an international competition lead by swiss- based Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction. The core aim of the scheme is to seek innovative, future-oriented and tangible ecologically balanced construction projects, offering prize money of US $2 million per three-year competition cycle.

The competition is interestingly conducted in parallel across five regions of the world: Europe, North America, Latina America, Africa Middle East and Asia Pacific. Within each category the Awards are split in Gold (US$ 100,000), Silver (US$ 50,000), Bronze (US$ 25,000), Acknowledgement Prizes (US$ 12,000 each), Next Generation Prizes (US$ 15,0000 each).

To make sustainable construction easier to understand, evaluate and apply, the Holcim Foundation adjudicates prizes following a set of five “target issues”: quantum change and transferability, ethical standards and social equity, ecological quality and energy conservation, economic performance and compatibility and contextual and aesthetic impact. The overall objective is to progressively generate a worldwide community of recognized practitioners of excellence in sustainable construction.

Laura Salmi
Reporter

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