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2010 Zumtobel Group Awards go to Brazil and the USA

10 March 2010 17.00 GMT

(USA) - An international jury has selected this year's winners of the Zumtobel Group Award for Sustainability and Humanity in the Built Environment.

The Austrian lighting group's award, which carries a purse of EUR 140,000, honours sustainable solutions in architecture and engineering that make pioneering contributions to the future quality of life. In the "Built Environment" category, the jury chose to commend the Brazilian architectural practice Triptyque for its ecologically and architecturally pioneering office building and gallery "HARMONIA 57". The award in the "Research & Initiative" category went to the non-profit design studio Terreform ONE, founded by Mitchell Joachim and Maria Aiolova, for the research project "New York City Resource & Mobility", a visionary master plan that maps out a sustainable future for New York City.

"It is both extremely important and a great pleasure for us to be able to present our award for sustainability and humanity once again this year. Ensuring the efficient use of resources and arriving at pioneering solutions in the fields of architecture and urban planning are challenges that will accompany us for many years to come. I am delighted that, in their selection this year, the jury have sent out a clear signal that smaller projects which adopt innovative approaches can also prove an important source of inspiration. We need to look beyond our current needs and see the challenges of the future in their full context, as is reflected in the winning project in the "Research & Innovation" category," explained Zumtobel Group CEO and jury member Andreas Ludwig.

2010 Winner in the category “Built Environment”:
HARMONIA 57 by Triptyque
An intelligent, green façade based on organic concrete and irrigated by a spray mist system installed on the outside of the building – the system both collects rainwater and enhances the indoor climate – is the key design feature of "HARMONIA 57". Designed in line with a pioneering sustainable approach, this multifaceted office building was created by the French-Brazilian architecture practice Triptyque. Thanks to its terraced design, the building located in a bohemian suburb in the west of São Paulo can also function as an open-air gallery. "The architects of this building have implemented a whole raft of innovative approaches. It represents a very intelligent idea that gets by on simple means and a low budget. It also illustrates how ecological design can be fun, while at the same time taking contemporary architectural design standards on board. And for its densely built setting, this building is a breath of fresh air, because when the façades are completely greened over with vegetation it will be virtually invisible," said the jury in its statement.

2010 Winner in the category “Research & Initiative”:
New York Resource & Mobility by Terreform ONE
A visionary research project that plans a sustainable future for New York City, drawn up under the auspices of the non-profit design group Terreform ONE founded by Mitchell Joachim and Maria Aiolova, was selected by the jury as the winner of the “Research & Initiative” category. Terreform ONE is an interdisciplinary research group comprising scientists, artists, architects and students. Basing their work on a scenario of rapid population growth, massive climate change and steadily rising sea levels, Terreform ONE has created a visionary model of a fully autonomous and self-sufficient city of the future. Key areas of investigation included infrastructure, resources, energy, waste recycling, remaking existing neighbourhoods and rethinking every aspect of urban planning. For the jury it was the integrated approach that was decisive: "This project is a rich source of interesting ideas of real substance. The research team is not afraid to think in whole new directions and presents a range of visionary potential approaches that are already acting as catalysts in the urban development debate."

The two award-winning projects were selected from a worldwide total of 40, proposed by a global network of experts. Determining the laureates in the two categories was the task of an independent, interdisciplinary and international 7-person jury comprising four leading architects from different parts of the world, an engineer, a representative of the UN, and the CEO of the Zumtobel Group. As they assessed the nominations, the jury paid particular attention to the interplay of sustainable strategies, combined with the aesthetics and quality of the architectural design, and the ethical, social and economic added value represented by the projects.

As well as selecting the two prizewinners, the jury also awarded honourable mentions to four projects in each of the two categories. In the category "Built Environment" these include a New York High Line design and redevelopment project (James Corner Field Operations); a Centre for Women in Burkina Faso (FARE Studio); the newly developed Elm Park suburb of Dublin (Buchholz McEvoy Architects); and the new California Academy of Science building in San Francisco (Renzo Piano Building Workshop). In the category "Research & Initiative", honourable mentions went to a rural student project at the University of Talca in Chile; a cross-border exchange programme and symposium "Political Equator II" (Estudio Teddy Cruz) involving the USA and Mexico; a highly poetical idea for an office and studio building in Columbia (Husos Architects); and a master plan for a wind park in the North Sea (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) that aims to meet the entire electricity needs of the Netherlands.

"We think the jury has made excellent choices," said Kristin Feireiss and Hans-Jürgen Commerell of Aedes Architecture Forum Berlin, who were again commissioned by the Zumtobel Group to act as the award's curators. "The very diversity of the projects that received commendations shows just how many pioneering avenues of approach the fields of architecture, landscape planning and research can generate when it comes to contributing to a liveable, sustainable future. We need to address all aspects of energy supplies and resources; social structures; user habits; and urban planning contexts, with the main challenge being to come up with convincing architectural answers. And in this respect, the 2010 Zumtobel Group Award signposts some outstanding and thought-provoking ideas."

The 2010 Zumtobel Group Awards will be presented to the winners at a gala evening in Bregenz, Austria, on Thursday, September 9, 2010. Invitations to the accompanying press conference in the morning of September 9 will be sent out in due course.


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