LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction

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LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction
LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction Logo.jpg
FounderHolcim Ltd
TypeEducational, Promotional
  • LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, Hagenholzstrasse 83, CH-8050 Zurich, Switzerland
Coordinates47°24′52″N 8°33′35″E / 47.414571°N 8.559809°E / 47.414571; 8.559809
Area served
OwnerHolcim Ltd (2003-2015), LafargeHolcim (2015- )

The LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction is a non-profit organization. Its goal is to raise awareness of the role that architecture, engineering, urban planning and construction have in achieving a sustainable built future. The organization encourages and rewards sustainable responses to the technological, environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural issues affecting building and construction. The two main initiatives of the Foundation are the LafargeHolcim Forums (a series of academic symposia) and the LafargeHolcim Awards (a USD 2 million competition for sustainable construction projects and visionary concepts).[1]


The organization was established in 2003 in Zurich, Switzerland with Holcim Ltd as its sole sponsor. Holcim Ltd and Lafarge S.A. completed their global merger and launched LafargeHolcim Ltd in July 2015.[2] The name of the Foundation was changed to LafargeHolcim Foundation.[3] The initiatives of the Foundation operate in a three-year cycle.[4]

LafargeHolcim Awards for Sustainable Construction[edit]

The LafargeHolcim Awards for Sustainable Construction is an international competition that seeks projects and visionary concepts in sustainable construction. It offers USD 2 million dollars in prize money[5] in each three-year cycle. Eligible for entry are projects in: buildings and civil engineering works; landscape, urban design and infrastructure; and materials, products and construction technologies.[6] There are two categories: The main category of the competition is open to architects, planners, engineers, and project owners that showcase sustainable responses to technological, environmental, socioeconomic and cultural issues affective contemporary building and construction. The fifteen projects that receive LafargeHolcim Awards Gold, Silver or Bronze in the five regions then qualify for the competition for the Global LafargeHolcim Awards.[7] The Next Generation category is open for students and young professionals not older than 30. The category seeks visionary design concepts and bold ideas including design studio and research work.

The first Holcim Awards took place from 2004 until 2006; the second Holcim Awards from 2007 until 2009; the third Holcim Awards from 2008 until 2012; the fourth Holcim Awards from 2013 until 2015; and, the fifth LafargeHolcim Awards from 2017 until 2018. The 6th LafargeHolcim Awards is open for entries June 4, 2019 to February 25, 2020.

The competition was known as the Holcim Awards from 2003 until 2015. Holcim Ltd and Lafarge S.A. completed their global merger and launched LafargeHolcim in July 2015. The name of the Foundation was changed to LafargeHolcim Foundation, and the competition became the LafargeHolcim Awards.[8]

LafargeHolcim Forum for Sustainable Construction[edit]

The LafargeHolcim Forum is a series of symposia on sustainable construction. The event is an academic platform for architects, engineers, construction professionals and specialists. It supports sustainable construction in the scientific field, among experts in the construction sector, business and society, and promotes interdisciplinary dialog, bring forward new ideas, and examine potential solutions.[9]

Past Forums[edit]

Upcoming Forum[edit]

The next LafargeHolcim Forum will be held in 2022.

Target issues for sustainable construction[edit]

The LafargeHolcim Foundation measures and evaluates sustainable construction using five "target issues". Three of these align with the triple bottom line concept of balanced social, environmental and economic performance. The two further target issues cover the contextual and aesthetic impact, and innovation and transferability.[11]

Innovation and transferability – “Progress”[edit]

Projects must demonstrate innovative approaches to sustainable development, pushing the envelope of practice and exploring new disciplinary frontiers. Breakthroughs and trend-setting discoveries must be transferable to a range of other applications.

  • Innovative concepts regarding design, integration of materials and methods, structure, enclosure and mechanical systems.
  • Outstanding contributions to construction technologies and building processes, operation and maintenance.
  • Advancements in the disciplines of architecture, urban and landscape design, civil, urban and environmental engineering, and other fields involved in the production of the built environment.
  • Long-term monitoring methods to evaluate whether expectations and goals have been met.
  • Dissemination of knowledge, including project documentation, communication, education and training.[12]

Ethical standards and social inclusion – “People”[edit]

Projects must adhere to the highest ethical standards and promote social inclusion at all stages of construction, from planning and building to use and servicing; to ensure an enduring positive impact on communities. Proposals must demonstrate how they enhance the collective realm.

  • Adherence to ethical standards in all phases of the project.
  • Contributions to the formation of socially-viable environments, strengthening of shared values and empowerment of communities.
  • Participation of stakeholders, including users, clients, neighborhood affiliations, local authorities and non-governmental organizations.
  • Quality of working conditions in the construction industry and including on site; with specific attention given to fair compensation, adequate benefits, safety and gender equality.
  • Political transparency, unbiased processes and commitment to principled interaction, just practices, all in the effort to prevent corruption at every level.[13]

Resource and environmental performance – “Planet”[edit]

Projects must exhibit a sensible use and management of natural resources throughout their entire life cycle. Long-term environmental concerns, especially pertaining to stocks and flows of material and energy, should be an integral part of the design philosophy.

  • Minimizing a project’s ecological footprint and maximizing its positive impact on the environment; reduction of harm and increase of beneficial effects.
  • Environmentally-conscious land use strategies and policies that preserve the natural landscape, while taking water and land reclamation into account.
  • Emphasis placed on the use of renewable energy in construction, use and upkeep of the built fabric to reduce CO2 emissions and avoid toxicity.
  • Innovative deployment of material resources in construction with an emphasis on cradle to cradle cycles, mining existing building stocks and reduction of waste.
  • Resilient products, robust construction details, smart interaction of building systems and environmentally sound technologies.[14]

Economic viability and compatibility – “Prosperity”[edit]

Projects must be economically feasible and able to secure financing – whether from public, commercial, or concessional sources – while having a positive impact on society and the environment. Avoiding the wasteful consumption of material resources, an economy of means in construction is to be promoted.

  • Funding sources and profits earned must be legitimate and transparent.
  • Projects should cover operating costs over their lifetime and generate an acceptable rate of return.
  • Integration of the project into the wider economic framework of local, regional, and global monetary flows.
  • Demonstrate flexibility to adapt to future changes of user needs, ownership, laws, regulations, and economic fluctuations.
  • Robust economic models are sought that take unpriced external costs into consideration from the outset.[15]

Contextual and aesthetic impact – “Place”[edit]

Projects must convey a high standard of architectural quality as a prevalent form of cultural expression. With space, form and aesthetic impact of utmost significance, the material manifestation of the design must make a positive and lasting contribution to the physical, human and cultural environment.

  • Improvement of existing contextual conditions responding to the natural and built environment.
  • Interdependencies of landscape, infrastructure, urban fabric and architecture.
  • Working with the given building stock through sensitive restoration, re-use or re-modeling of the built environment.
  • Inventive programming strategies in terms of use, multiplicity of functions, short-term flexibility and long-term adaptability.
  • Architectural quality and aesthetic impact, specifically concerning space, spatial sequences, movement, tactility of materials, light and ambiance.[16]

Organisation and Management[edit]

Board of the LafargeHolcim Foundation[edit]

The Board of the LafargeHolcim Foundation ensures that the activities of the LafargeHolcim Foundation are aligned with current interpretations of sustainable construction, and also inspires the Foundation’s approach by framing the architectural, scientific, cultural, and policy concerns that are integrated into its initiatives. The Board defines the strategies through which the LafargeHolcim Foundation encourages innovative approaches to sustainable construction. The members of the Board of the LafargeHolcim Foundation are:[17]

Academic Committee and Associated Universities[edit]

Associated universities of the Foundation host the LafargeHolcim Forums, define the evaluation criteria to be used for the LafargeHolcim Awards, and put together the panels that judge the competition entries. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne lead the Academic Committee which provides academic and technical support.[18]

Associated universities[19][edit]


  1. ^ "Introduction". Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  2. ^ "Origin". Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Origin". Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Origin". Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  5. ^ "Prizes". Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Q&A". Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  7. ^ "Awards Introduction". Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  8. ^ "Foundation for Sustainable Construction: Adaptation of name and new members of the Board". LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction. LafargeHolcim Foundation. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  9. ^ "LafargeHolcim Forum for Sustainable Construction". Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Target Issues". Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  12. ^ "Progress". Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  13. ^ "People". Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Planet". Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  15. ^ "Prosperity". Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  16. ^ "Place". Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  17. ^ "Board of the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction". Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  18. ^ "Academic Committee". Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  19. ^ "Associated Universities". Retrieved 21 December 2018.