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Winners of the Zumtobel Group Award 2014 announced

6 October 2014 16.30 BST

(UK / Austria) - Arup, Studio Tamassociati and Elemental named as winners at press conference in London.

The results were announced by the chairman of the jury Winy Maas and jury member Kunlé Adeyemi at a press conference at the Serpentine Gallery in London. To promote innovations for sustainability and humanity in the built environment, the Austrian lighting group had invited submissions for the award in three categories: Applied Innovations, Buildings and Urban Developments & Initiatives.

The jury had initially selected fifteen projects as nominees from among the 356 submissions for the fourth Zumtobel Group Award, which was again curated by Aedes Architecture Forum in Berlin.

The winning projects are marked by their innovative and ground-breaking character: “The voting to find the number one project was very close in all three categories, because in each case we were able to choose from among a large number of heterogeneous projects of high quality,” said the chairman of the jury, Winy Maas. “One key criterion for the jury this year was the innovation factor, both in a technical sense and with a view to planning and participation processes as well as ecological and social challenges.”

Winner of the Applied Innovations category: SolarLeaf with Arup Deutschland GmbH

The jury awarded first prize to the SolarLeaf façade co-developed by Arup Deutschland GmbH. The SolarLeaf façade is a building-integrated system that absorbs CO2 emissions and produces biomass and heat. The generation of these renewable energy resources is based on the biochemical process of photosynthesis and the cultivation of microalgae in flat-panel photo bioreactors which require no additional space and are largely immune to the weather conditions. The façade system was developed by Arup Deutschland in collaboration with SSC Strategic Science Consult GmbH and Colt International GmbH, with subsidies from the federal research initiative ZukunftBau. The system was first installed in a four-storey residential building that was designed by SPLITTERWERK architects for the 2013 International Building Exhibition (IBA) in Hamburg. The SolarLeaf façade can play an important part in establishing zero-carbon building clusters that generate surplus energy.

Explaining the reasons for their choice, the jury said: “In the future we need to develop buildings which don’t just offer shelter and minimise energy consumption but also try to deliver answers to how we provide the urban environment with energy, water and better air quality. The SolarLeaf façade is an outstanding example here in that it generates energy without taking up additional space. This project is especially valuable because for the first time we have an application that actually works in an existing building.”

Winner of the Buildings category: Port Sudan Paediatric Centre by Studio Tamassociati, Italy

Studio Tamassociati was commissioned by the Italian NGO “Emer- gency”, which provides free medical treatment to civilian victims of war, landmines and poverty, to build a children’s hospital in Sudan. Located in the strategically important city of Port Sudan, the clinic is one of the few facilities to provide free care for children in the region.

In the prevailing extreme conditions – the hot desert climate and the political instability of the country – simplicity was the overriding design principle. Relying on the use of new and old technologies, the architects developed a system for cooling, air treatment, recycling, reallocation of local materials, landscape design and energy saving. The need to purify waste water from the centre presented an opportunity to build public gardens, which are the only public spaces around. These gardens represent an important part of the healing process for patients.

Explaining their choice of the Port Sudan Paediatric Centre, the jury said: “In this project you can see right away that it responds to a social agenda. It makes a valuable contribution to the medical and social care of the local people and its holistic design process is very much in the spirit of the Zumtobel Group Award. The outcome is an ambitious design that is focused primarily on its practical purpose, without neglecting architectural, sustainability and aesthetic considerations.”

Winner of the Urban Developments & Initiatives category: PRES Constitución by Elemental, Chile

First prize went to Elemental for its master plan for the sustainable reconstruction of the city of Constitución in Chile. In 2010, Chile was hit by an earthquake followed by a tsunami. Constitución was destroyed by waves up to 12 metres high. Elemental was given just 100 days to come up with a master plan for the reconstruction of the city, which would also provide protection against future natural disasters – not only tsunamis but also seasonal flooding. In their concept, Elemental delivered a natural solution: planting a forest that would protect the city from future floods. In addition to the empirical evidence from the most recent tsunami, the architects relied on mathematical models and laboratory trials. Implementing their master plan proved very challenging both politically and socially, because it required the city to expropriate pri- vate land along the riverbank. Elemental’s successful approach was to rely on participatory design to define the citizens’ needs and engage them in the planning process. Today, four years after the earthquake, the individual projects from the master plan are being implemented.

“In Constitución the population has managed to apply the necessary innovation to ensure its protection against future flooding. By adopting a bottom-up approach, in a very constructive way a joint decision has been reached regarding what the city should look like in the future. This exemplary concept is not restricted to Constitución, but could also apply in many geographies around the world that have been destroyed by natural disasters,” said the jury.

The selection process for the Zumtobel Group Award 2014 comprised several stages. Early this year, from among all 356 submissions a pre-jury selected 15 projects from each category which were then presented to the main jury in May. The jury then nominated five projects per category. One winner was selected from the five nominated projects in each category. Each first prize carries a purse of €50,000.


The Zumtobel Group Award 2014 winners.
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