Announced just last week, the winners of the 2012 Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction are a secondary school project in Gando, Burkina Faso, a community center project in São Paulo, Brazil, and an urban renewal plan in Berlin, Germany, selected from more than 6,000 entries in 146 countries.

First prize went to the school in the village of Gando created by Diébédo Francis Kéré of Kéré Architecture in Berlin. Passive cooling during oppressive summer heat creates an indoor climate conducive to learning by routing air through subterranean tubes, planting vegetation, stack-effect air currents, and using double-skin roofs and façades. The project also improves social conditions by providing jobs and training, and restores the environment through reforestation.

The second prize was awarded to Urban Think Tank for a project that transforms an eroded landscape into a productive zone and dynamic public space in Paraisópolis favela in São Paulo, one of the world’s largest informal communities. The terraced public space with areas for urban agriculture, a water management system, a public amphitheater, a music school, a small concert hall, sports facilities, public spaces and transport infrastructure aims to prevent further erosion and dangerous mudslides on the steep slopes and provide social and cultural infrastructure.

Third place went to the “Flussbad” project in Germany , an urban plan by realities united for transforming an under-utilized arm of the River Spree in Berlin into a natural 745m-long “swimming pool”.

The Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction competition seeks innovative, future-oriented and tangible construction projects to promote sustainable responses to the technological, environmental, socioeconomic and cultural issues affecting building and construction on a local, regional and global level. For more information visit the website.

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