MIT SA+P sweeps 2017 North American LaFargeHolcim Awards


MIT School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) alumni and faculty were honored during the fifth annual LaFargeHolcim Awards for Sustainable Construction, the most significant international competition in green construction. The awards are administered by the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, based in Zurich, Switzerland. North American Award winners were announced in Chicago on October 12, 2017.

Alumna Constance C. Bodurow, (SMArchS/MCP ’91), and her transdisciplinary design collaborative studio[Ci] took Gold—the top North American prize—for “Grassroots Microgrid: the Seebaldt Pilot” in Detroit, Michigan.  The proposed community-owned and managed infrastructure includes local renewable energy and food production, water and waste management, and strengthens civic empowerment. Bodurow has been working with the Detroit/48204 community and the organization It Starts at Home since 2013. “Taking the pocket vacancies normally characterized as the biggest problem in Detroit, the design turns them into an opportunity to create a compelling sustainable neighborhood,” praised the jury. Upon accepting the Gold award on behalf of her large team, Bodurow said: “We are humbled and thrilled! While we have always believed in our design agency to address the grand challenges, to have our work recognized by this significant prize allows us to move our collective vision into reality.” DUSP Senior Lecturer Karl Seidman and five MCP students were part of Bodurow’s 26-member team.

Professor in Practice Sheila Kennedy and her firm Kennedy Violich Architecture, Ltd., received the North American Bronze prize for “Net-zero greenhouse for Wellesley College, Boston, USA.”

Alumnus Mitchell Joachim (PhD, ‘06) and his firm Terreform ONE, received a North American Acknowledgement Prize for “Modular Edible Insect Farm”, New York City, USA.

Latin America regional awards honored former SA+P Dean and Professor Adèle Naudé Santos, and the MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism, Cambridge, MA, who received an Acknowledgement prize for “Affordable housing neighborhood with integrated workspaces”.

Projects awarded a Gold, Silver, or Bronze award in each of the five regions are subsequently qualified for the Global LafargeHolcim Awards competition. As the Foundation writes, these finalists are evaluated by a panel of independent experts of international stature engaged in the sustainable development of society, building processes, and building projects. The Global LafargeHolcim Awards Jury on which SA+P Dean Hashim Sarkis will sit, meets in March 2018 in Zurich and consists of: Alejandro Aravena (head of jury), David Adjaye, Xuemei Bai, Hashim Sarkis, Stuart Smith, Werner Sobek, Rolf Soiron, Brinda Somaya, and Marc Angélil.

This fifth cycle of the LafargeHolcim Awards attracted 5,085 entries by authors in 121 countries. The LaFargeHolcim Awards are divided into a regional and a global phase. The administration opens with five regional competitions, seeking entries allocated to region based on project location: Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa Middle East, and Asia Pacific.

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