AUC First in Region to Host LafargeHolcim Sustainable Architecture Competition

Reflecting its position as a global leader in sustainable design, AUC has been chosen to host the coming regional jury cycle of the fifth International LafargeHolcim Awards for Sustainable Construction competition, the first University from the region ever to do so. Additionally, in recognition of its green campus, the top green campus in Africa, AUC has been included among a list of prestigious universities as an affiliated University to the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction.

“The LafargeHolcim Awards is the most significant global competition in sustainable design,” said Khaled Tarabieh, assistant professor in the Department of Architecture who is helping to organize this year’s awards.

Nagwa Sherif, professor in the Department of Architecture who will serve as head of the competition’s jury for the Middle East and Africa, echoed the same sentiment. “LefargeHolcim chose AUC because at AUC we are constantly promoting and following the steps of green architecture, sustainable construction and development,” she said.

The competition includes projects from leading architects, engineers, students and construction firms around the world that combine sustainable construction solutions with architectural excellence. More than 35 AUC students from the Department of Architecture are actively engaged and expected to submit their own proposals for sustainable green buildings by the competition’s deadline, March 21. In May, the jury will select the proposals with the highest potential to tackle today’s challenges in sustainability and environmental design.

“A significant part of the overall emissions in the planet are caused by the built environment, specifically buildings,” explained Tarabieh. “The growth and development of our communities have a large impact on our natural environment. Many climatic concerns can be mitigated to a larger extent by green building design and sustainable infrastructure planning. Smart cities, interactive, intelligent and eco-friendly buildings that incorporate sustainable technologies are merely one step toward a whole paradigm of new thinking that could fundamentally change the way we live and save the planet’s natural resources for future generations.”

Leading up to the award ceremony in May, there have been numerous events on campus that focus on the importance of sustainability within contemporary buildings and construction. AUC’s Architectural Association, comprised of undergraduate and graduate students, has played a large role in these events and preparations, including organizing an exhibition at AUC Tahrir Square as well as actively promoting the awards on campus, in Cairo and even across the region. The head of the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction also spoke at AUC in December, along with one of the award's first winners, which, according to Sherif, “helped encourage the younger generation, and our students, to get involved in this competition.”

In addition to the honor of hosting this year’s awards at AUC, Sherif emphasized the importance of sustainability in Egypt’s future. “For developing countries like Egypt, sustainable development is our only way out,” she said. “It’s the perfect solution for us to be able to survive, whether technically, socially or culturally. Sustainability is not only about physical measures; it’s also how you integrate with the society and how you sustain social values. The three domains of people, physical measures and economic considerations are integrated together to make a good sustainable solution.”

For more information on the LafargeHolcim Awards, click here.