Photo courtesy Holcim Foundation

Lateral Office / InfraNet Lab won the $100,000 gold prize.


Gold Prize
Arctic Food Network
By Lateral Office / InfraNet Lab

Silver Prize
NZE K-12 High Performance School Prototype
By Swift Lee Office

Bronze Prize
Border control station in Van Buren, Maine
By Julie Snow Architects

Studio 804 (Dan Rockhill)
Anderson Anderson Architecture
US Army Corps of Engineers
Studio Gang Architects (Jeanne Gang)

“Next Generation” Prizes
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Team
Rhode Island School of Design Team
University of Toronto Team

On October 20 the Holcim Foundation announced the North American winners of its third international awards competition for sustainable design at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. A total of $300,000 went to ten regional winners, which include projects ranging from a network of Inuit food gathering nodes, to an energy-efficient military installation, to a storm-management system that integrates mangrove forests with engineered structures.

The gold, silver, and bronze winners will advance as candidates for Holcim’s global awards, which come with a total of $500,000 in prize money and which will be announced in the second quarter of 2012. Projects from five regions are considered: North America, Europe, Latin America, Africa/Middle East, and Asia Pacific.

Sponsored by Holcim Ltd, a multinational supplier of cement and aggregates, the Swiss-based Holcim Foundation was created in 2003 with the mission of promoting sustainable construction across the globe and raising awareness of the role of architecture, engineering, and urban planning in this aim. Award-winning projects (which are unbuilt at the time of submission) have a promising future. The foundation says that of the more than 100 prize recipients over the three cycles of the competition, half of the projects have been realized or are currently under construction.

The North American jury, which convened in mid July at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (a partner university), selected winners from 229 entries. Mohsen Mostafavi, dean of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, headed the jury, which included Sheila Kennedy (Kennedy & Violich), Nader Tehrani (Nadaa), Harry Gugger (Harry Gugger Studio), Hans-Rudolf Schalcher (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Bernard Terver (Holcim), Mark West (University of Manitoba Winnipeg), Ray Cole (University of British Columbia), and Keller Easterling (Yale University). “The emphasis on using the award to instigate the next phase of development of the project to help and support the concept of sustainable design, more broadly, is an important point,” said Mostafavi during last week’s festivities.

The winning schemes represent a spectrum of approaches to sustainable design.

•The gold prize was awarded to the Arctic Food Network by Lateral Office / InfraNet Lab, based in Toronto and Princeton, New Jersey. The project comprises a network of small structures for obtaining and storing food, which are situated along existing snowmobile trails in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. The architects’ aim was to address the Inuit’s myriad problems related to the shift in diet due to an influx of manufactured food products into the culture, which has traditionally survived from hunting and gathering.

• Silver was awarded to Los Angeles-based Swift Lee Office for its NZE K-12 High Performance School Prototype—a prefabricated net-zero energy building made of off-the-shelf components, to be deployed on multiple campuses throughout Los Angeles.

• Bronze went to Julie Snow Architects in Minneapolis for its border control station in Van Buren, Maine. Despite the vast and stringent requirements for the building (which has to serve as a “jail, tollbooth, and a ‘Welcome to America’ sign,” says principal Matthew Kreilich), the team was able to create a sustainable building with a strong design sense.

• Acknowledgement prizes went to Studio 804 (Dan Rockhill), Anderson Anderson Architecture, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and Studio Gang Architects (Jeanne Gang). Three “Next Generation” prizes were also handed out to teams from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rhode Island School of Design, and the University of Toronto.

The October event in D.C., along with companion ceremonies in Casablanca (September 8-9), Milan (September 15-16), Buenos Aires (October 6-7), and Singapore (November 24-25), mark the midpoint of the three-year-long international competition. All in all, independent regional juries, in conjunction with partner universities, have assessed 2,251 entries. The global winners will be selected by jury in March 2012.

For more information, including a list of winners in other regions, visit