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Zumtobel Group Award 2012: winners chosen
  • MASS Design Group (USA) wins the Built Environment category with the Butaro Hospital project in Rwanda
  • Atelier d’architecture autogérée (France) wins the Research & Initiative category with the R-URBAN project in Paris
  • Jury selects eight other projects as nominees
  • Awards ceremony to be staged in Berlin in November

Dornbirn: This year’s Zumtobel Group Award has been won by a pioneering hospital project in Rwanda and an integrated research project in a socially deprived suburb of Paris. In each case the international jury of this architectural award, which was created in 2007 to promote humanity and sustainability in the built environment, commended the immediate relevance of the robust concepts, the systematic involvement of the local people and the replicable nature of the projects.

“Through their decision this year, the jury have underlined the fact that it takes a holistic approach to make truly sustainable improvements in the built environment,” said Zumtobel Group CEO Harald Sommerer, who was also a member of the 8-strong jury. “We are particularly pleased to see that, this year, young and dedicated architectural practices have won the award with approaches to resolving social and ecological issues, both in the industrialised world and in developing countries.”

Butaro Hospital: an innovative, cost-effective technology- and design strategy
In the Built Environment category, the US-based not-for-profit architectural practice MASS Design Group won the Zumtobel Group Award for its Butaro Hospital project. In response to a commission from the Ministry of Health in Rwanda, MASS Design Group chose a multidisciplinary approach that enabled them to address core health issues – and hospital-acquired infections in particular – at the design stage. Within an integrated architectural strategy, the architects considered the layout of the buildings, the movement patterns of the patients and staff and above all the maximum use of natural ventilation. The local population were involved in the building process and given suitable training.

“This project is highly relevant, because as a template and approach it can be replicated in other, similar regions where there are limited resources and a high risk of infection. The architects have succeeded in building a bridge to innovative technologies and good healthcare for a poor, rural region. What is particularly remarkable is that this sophisticated building was realised in this environment by local labour,” stated the Jury. In this category the award carries a purse of € 80,000.

Also in the Built Environment category, the jury selected four other projects as nominees: Shanghai Houtan Park (China), an urban waterfront recovery project on the banks of Huangpu River (Turenscape Architecture); Treehouses Bebelallee (Germany), an urban renovation and density project on a residential estate built in the 1950s (blauraum Architekten); Media-ICT Building (Spain), an office building featuring pioneering architecture and innovative use of technology (Enric Ruiz Geli / Cloud 9); and the Maria Grazia Cutuli primary school in Afghanistan (2A+P/A, IaN+, ma0, Mario Cutuli).

R-URBAN: a small-scale approach to big urban themes
The award in the Research & Innovation category went to the French architectural practice atelier d’architecture autogérée (AAA) for their integrated research project R-URBAN in Colombes, a socially deprived suburb in the Greater Paris area. The project deals not only with ecological topics such as waste recycling and reducing the carbon footprint but also with social issues such as vocational training and job creation schemes. With the involvement of local residents, three pilot projects were developed, themed around recycling and eco-construction, cooperative housing and urban farming.

“R-URBAN is a small but pioneering intervention in existing urban structures. In this project, the architects from AAA have developed different micro-tools with which to tackle the big social and ecological themes in an urban setting. For us, the three R-URBAN pilot projects have a pioneering character because they have proven robust, because they empower local people, and because they help revitalise a neglected urban context,” commented the Jury.

In the Research & Initiative category, the jury decided to divide up the prize money of € 60,000. A sum of € 30,000 goes to the winning entry, with € 7,500 going to help sustain progress in each of the following nominated research projects and initiatives: Camenzind East Africa: a training project for the establishment of an architectural magazine for East Africa (Tanzania; Camenzind, BHSF); a research project to support the survival of traditional building methods in Himachal Pradesh (India); Oyster-tecture (USA; SCAPE landscape architecture): an initiative using oysters to revive the harbour basin in Brooklyn; and Sunny Water Lilies (Netherlands, The Why Factory / Ulf Hackauf and Pirjo Haikola with Gonzalo Rivas): a visionary design concept for floating solar power stations.

“This year’s selection of winners and nominees sends out a strong message that will encourage young architecture practices in particular to further commit themselves to a participatory and trans-disciplinary process of socio-ecological engagement in the built environment that integrates people and nature, technology and design," said the Award’s curators, Kristin Feireiss and Hans-Jürgen Commerell from Aedes Architekturforum, Berlin.

The presentation ceremony for the 2012 Zumtobel Group Award will be held in Berlin on 16 November 2012.

Members of the 2012 jury
Kunlé Adeyemi, Architect & Urbanist / Founder NLÉ, Amsterdam (NL)
Ute Meta Bauer, Associate Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, USA)
Stefan Behnisch, architect, Behnisch Architekten, Stuttgart, Munich (D), Boston (USA)
Yung Ho Chang, architect, Atelier FCJZ, Peking (CN)
Brian Cody, Chair of the Institute of Buildings and Energy, Graz University of Technology (AT)
Kazuyo Sejima, architect, SANAA, Tokyo (JP)
Winy Maas, architect, MVRDV, Rotterdam (NL)
Harald Sommerer, CEO Zumtobel Group, Dornbirn (AT)

About the Zumtobel Group Award
The Zumtobel Group Award is held under the curatorship of Architecture Forum Aedes, Berlin, acting on behalf of the Zumtobel Group. This is the third time that this award for sustainability and humanity in the built environment is being presented. In an innovative step, a public tender for submissions was issued in the autumn of 2011. Over 230 submissions were received and in the spring of this year a front-line jury selected 20 projects per category, before the final jury selected the winners in June.

2007 and 2010 award winners
In 2007, the award went to Thom Mayne / Morphosis for the San Francisco Federal Building and to civil engineering company Schlaich Bergermann Solar for the design of a solar updraft tower. In 2010 the award went to the Franco-Brazilian architecture practice Triptyque for the Harmonia 57 project in São Paulo and to the not-for-profit design bureau Terreform ONE for a visionary research project concerning a sustainable future for New York City.

Media contacts
Zumtobel Group 
Astrid Kühn-Ulrich
Head of Corp. Communications
T +43 (0)5572 509-1570

AEDES Architekturforum Berlin
Kristin Feireiss / Hans-Jürgen Commerell
T +49 (30) 282-70 15  

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