Organically grown bricks, urban flood control system among 2014 Holcim Award winners

The 13 Holcim Award winners for North America illustrate how sustainable construction continues to evolve.

September 29, 2014 |
Rendering of Hy-Fi, winner of the Bronze Award. Image courtesy Holcim Foundation

The Holcim Award winners for North America have been announced in Toronto. The 13 winning projects illustrate how sustainable construction continues to evolve—developing more sophisticated and multi-disciplinary responses to the challenges facing the building and construction industry.

The winning teams will share more than $300,000 in prize money. 

All images courtesy Holcim.



GOLD PRIZE: Poreform

Las Vegas

Authors: Water Pore Partnership, Yale University

This design proposal repositions water infrastructure as a civic project. Facing a significant shortage of water in an arid region, local drainage systems are incapable of handling and collecting the water that floods the Las Vegas valley when it rains.

Poreform, a porous concrete surface poured in place with fabric formwork is capable of rapid saturation and slow release, and reframes water as a valuable resource rather than a liability. The surface feeds water to subterranean basins. It is located within the public realm and claims a stake as civic infrastructure that is as important as its nearby sister, the Hoover Dam.




SILVER PRIZE: Rebuilding by Design

New York

Authors: Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners, One Architecture, James Lima Planning + Development, Buro Happold Engineering, Level Agency for Infrastructure, Green Shield Ecology, ARCADIS, AEA Consulting, Project Projects

The BIG U project, which you can read more about here, addresses the vulnerability of New York City to coastal flooding and proposes a protective ribbon around lower Manhattan. The master plan uses a raised berm strategically to create a sequence of public spaces along the water’s edge along the raised bank.

The infrastructural barrier incorporates a range of neighborhood functions and as a result offers multiple design opportunities, fostering local commercial, recreational, and cultural activities.





New York

Authors: The Living, Arup, 3M, Ecovative Design

Hy-Fi is a cluster of circular towers formed using reflective bricks, designed for and commissioned by the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program. The structure uses recent advances in biotechnology combined with cutting-edge computation and engineering to create new building materials that are almost fully organically grown and compostable.

Beyond the use of technological innovations, the tower challenges perceptual expectations through unexpected relationships of patterns, color, and light. You can see more here.


Check out the other winners at the Holcim Foundation

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