Third Holcim Awards 2012 Award Winners

I was lucky enough to be invited to submit an entry to the Holcim Awards 2012 for our award winning Hanham Hall project. We didn’t win an award this time, but we did get a copy of the projects that did, and after living under a rock for the last couple of months (doing Green Deal training) I finally got around to reading about the award winning projects.

The overall winner was Francis Kere: Secondary school in Burkino Faso. If you ever wonder what you can do as an individual in this complex world, and feel that its just you against everyone else, and that you can never achieve anything on your own, read about this man.

The Silver award went to a music school in Paraisopolis, a favela, home to about 80,000 people in Sao Paulo. This project is conceived as part of El Sistema, an initiative to use music to bring hope, pride, education and fun to the most deprived parts of Latin America. So far there are 400 orchestras, 342 choirs, 230 music schools and 4,000 music teachers. (that’s a lot of samba!)

The Bronze award went to a flussbad, or river pool, proposed for the river Spee in Berlin by Kunst und Technik. This visionary project proposes the creation of a swimming pool from a currently underused stretch of river in the Berlin Museum district. It is reminiscent of the Highline project in New York for its obvious simplicity and appeal that has the potential to completely change the way Berliners view and use a part of their city, and the way visitors see and use Berlin.

All three projects are very different, but all of them are very inspiring, not just for their environmental sustainability, but also for the way that they engage with people to change perceptions of what is possible, that the current way of doing things is capable of being changed, and that sometimes the only way to achieve that change is to think really big and bring everyone along with you.


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