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Three Canadian projects earn Holcim awards for sustainable construction

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by Journal Of Commerce

North Vancouver’s Outdoor School, designed by Vancouver firm Larry McFarland Architects Ltd., recently picked up an Acknowledgement prize at the North American Holcim Awards.
A rendering shows what the North Vancouver Outdoor School will look like when complete.
A rendering shows what the North Vancouver Outdoor School will look like when complete.

North American Holcim Awards

North Vancouver’s Outdoor School, designed by Vancouver firm Larry McFarland Architects Ltd., recently picked up an Acknowledgement prize at the North American Holcim Awards.

The awards for Sustainable Construction projects were handed out last month at a ceremony in Montreal.

Total prize money of US$270,000 was presented to nine projects, three of them from Canada, that showcase the latest approaches to housing affordability, employment, renewable energy and water efficiency.

The North Vancouver school is designed to have minimal impact on the natural environment.

It was recognized for its performance in terms of zero net energy and carbon emissions performance.

The center uses elevated buildings to avoid potential damage from flooding and take advantage of the views of the surrounding landscape.

In addition, the building components and systems will become part of the learning experience and will change the educational concept.

Another Canadian entry received an Acknowledgement prize.

An urban sustainability education center on the site of an old brickworks by Canadian charity Evergreen, led by urban planner David Stonehouse, was applauded for its thorough approach to revitalization.

The center in Toronto will promote environmental and community health, brownfield redevelopment, heritage conservation, sustainable design and public-private partnerships.

The Gold award went to New York’s first carbon neutral building.

The Solar 2 Green Energy, Arts and Education Center will be the first building in New York to produce all the energy the building needs from sustainable sources.

The project received the top prize of US$100,000 and the Holcim Awards Gold 2008 trophy for North America.

The project, led by Christopher J. Collins, will be constructed on a brownfield waterfront site in downtown Manhattan.

The Holcim Awards Silver 2008 was awarded to a project that establishes informal stations where day laborers can meet and await work.

The project is designed by Liz Obgu of San Francisco-based nonprofit organization Public Architecture.

The flexible structures offer shelter, benches, washrooms and a facility to prepare and provide food – creating a sensitive environment for people living on the periphery of society.

At the same time, the project addresses health and safety needs.

Green and recycled materials are used to minimize the environmental footprint and the economic cost of each facility.

A freshwater lake restoration and research facility in Ontario won Bronze.

The Living with Lakes Center in northeastern Ontario will be self-sufficient for electricity and heating needs.

The project, overseen by Laurentian University scientist John Gunn, will also house a research center to investigate the restoration of the city of Sudbury’s ecosystem, with an emphasis on guaranteeing drinking water quality for future generations.

The Bronze award-winning project will be built to LEED platinum standards with instrumentation fitted to monitor the effectiveness of an array of technical features and their impact on lake water quality.

For the first time, the Holcim Awards competition included a category for the visions of young architects and designers.

MIT architect Neri Oxman and University of Michigan engineer John Hart were awarded the Next Generation first place prize for their building skin research using carbon nanotubes to develop materials that can be assigned specific structural, functional and environmental properties.

The next Generation second place prize was awarded to an urban residential densification project in Toronto, designed by architects Chenlong Wang and Lingchen Liu of Beijing, China. The proposal creates a series of unusual housing designs that utilize small gaps in the urban fabric.

The third place prize was awarded to Harvard Graduate School of Design student Andrew Lantz for his proposal for an urban fitness, cultural and housing center that collects energy from kinetics, such as running on a treadmill, to power the structure.

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 competition is run in parallel in five regions of the world by the Swiss-based Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction. Almost 5,000 projects from 90 countries entered the competition, which aims to promote sustainable responses to technological, environmental, socioeconomic and cultural issues from the building and construction industries.

JOC News Service

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