The winners of the 3rd International Holcim Awards competition for sustainable construction projects and visions from North America have been announced. A total of USD 300,000 was presented to ten diverse and innovative projects from Canada and the US at a ceremony in Washington, DC. The winning projects show how greater levels of sustainability can be reached in building and construction through people-focused designs that include simple adaptation, innovative materials, and clever architecture.

The Swiss-based Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction conducts the competition in parallel in five regions across the world. More than 6,000 submissions for projects located in 146 countries entered the Holcim Awards which aims to promote sustainable responses to contemporary technological, environmental, socioeconomic and cultural issues from the building and construction industry.

Holcim Awards Gold to an infrastructure network for Inuit communities in CanadaA socio-architectural project to create regional food-gathering nodes and a logistics network in Canada's high arctic territory won the top prize for North America of USD 100,000. The Arctic Food Network (AFN) secures mobility between the scattered Inuit communities, allows a better distribution of local foods, and serves as a series of bases for the reinforcement of traditional hunting. The infrastructure project by Lateral Office / InfraNet Lab based in Toronto, Ontario, and Princeton, New Jersey, also establishes new foundations for a sustainable, more independent economy. Mohsen Mostafavi, Head of jury and Dean of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, congratulated the project for creating a cohesive strategy that responds to the landscape, climatic and site conditions. "The project includes purposeful interventions which are integrated without any grand gestures or expensive structures - but instead bridges between the traditions of the Inuit and the expectations of the young generation. The project thereby provides an opportunity to create an improved future, in terms of both economic opportunity and a sustainable way of living," he said.

Silver Award to a zero net energy school building in Los AngelesThe Holcim Awards Silver was presented to a design for a two-level zero energy certified school building to be constructed on multiple campuses throughout Los Angeles. The project led by architects Swift Lee Office of Los Angeles uses "off-the shelf" components and modular panels to create a pre-fabricated system that features a double-layered façade for solar, acoustic, and environmental control and achieves a climate-responsive solution for each site. The project was applauded by the jury for its thoroughly developed and comprehensively presented design, which manages the integration of a coherent technical and structural concept, yet retains spatial and conceptual simplicity.

Energy and water efficient border control station in Maine wins Bronze AwardThe Holcim Awards Bronze was awarded to Julie Snow Architects of Minneapolis for a border control station on the US frontier to Canada at Van Buren, Maine. The approach meets a range of stringent regulations for safety, operation and durability and yet is a highly aesthetic structure marking the national frontier. A zero net energy goal and water saving targets, challenged by the remote location of the site and energy demand for 24-hour operation, are achieved through features such as a ground source heating and cooling, a solar wall to temper outside ventilation air, a ground-coupled heat pump, peaking bio-diesel boilers, LED lights, and lighting control systems to reduce fossil fuel consumption. The jury commended the design for successfully applying state-of-the-art features of sustainability in a government project with its regulatory implications.

Details about the 2011 Holcim Awards including all prize-winning projects are available at