Holcim Bangladesh yesterday honoured eight innovative, future-focused and sustainable green construction projects.
The awards were given in two categories under the Holcim Green Built Bangladesh contest. The awards recognise innovative solutions that encourage sustainable construction by using low energy, managing waste, and recycling wastewater and used concrete.
The projects that won the prizes were designed mainly by young architects.
In the idea projects category, the first winner was the Symbiotic Living project led by Suvro Sovon Chowdhury, an architect and graduate from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet).
The second winner was the Vocational Training Centre, a project by Md Shakhawat Hossain, a student of Buet's architecture department.
Reincarnation of Deltaic Pavilion that clinched the third prize was designed by Md Shamsuddoha, a student of the architecture department of Khulna University, and his group-mate Khan Zahidul Islam.
The honorary award went to a project, called Self-Sustaining Pod, by Tanjim Hasan Salim, an architect.
In the built projects category, the first winner was Weekend House, a project by Sheikh Ahsan Ullah Majumder, an assistant professor of the architecture department, Buet.
The Matir Bari project led by architect Nahas Ahmed Khalil ended up with the second award.
The third prize went to Grameenphone Corporate Headquarters, a project made by a group of three.
Nishorgo Visitor Interpretation Centre, a project led by Ehsan Khan, an architect and consultant, won the honorary award.
In both categories, each first-prize winner received Tk 4 lakh, second-prize winner Tk 2.5 lakh, third-prize winner Tk 1.5 lakh and honorary-prize winner Tk 1 lakh.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith handed the prizes to the winners at the Army Golf Club in Dhaka and called for thinking of a system of development responsive to environment sustainability.
"We have to think of protecting the environment. Sustainable development is the only way for Bangladesh," said Muhith.
"It means that you will have to leave as much as resources for the next generation as you enjoy now."
Muhith feared that Dhaka, a densely populated city, might turn into a jungle of concrete if "this trend of development" goes on. "We have to restrict unplanned construction. We have to save agricultural land and allow rivers to flow."
Chairman of the contest's Advisory Board Prof Jamilur Reza Choudhury, Jury Board Chairman architect Bashirul Haq, Holcim Bangladesh Chairman Latifur Rahman, Holcim Group Regional Manager Aidan Lynam and Holcim Bangladesh Chief Executive Rajnish Kapur also spoke.
Launched in August 2009, organisers received 69 projects for the contest and an eight-member jury under the supervision of a six-member advisory panel selected the best projects.
Holcim Bangladesh, which started its operation under Holcim Switzerland in 2000, took the initiative to organise the contest as part of its "corporate social responsibility and commitment towards sustainable construction".
Green construction involves issues such as design and management of buildings, materials and building performance, energy and resource consumption within the larger orbit of urban development and management, Holcim said.
Referring to Detailed Area Plan (DAP), Prof Jamilur Reza Choudhury said it should be followed at every stage to ensure environmental sustainability of the capital.
He also pointed to some developers' recent opposition to the DAP and said they are trying to force the government to review it.
Latifur Rahman, chairman of Holcim Bangladesh, pointed to unplanned growth in Dhaka and Chittagong cities and said there is clearly a need for sustainable development. "Sustainable and green construction is an important element of society."
Holcim global competition "Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction" started in 2002 in partnership with some of the world's leading technical universities including MIT (USA).
Holcim Group, based in Switzerland, is one of the world's leading producers of cement and aggregates and has operations in more than 70 countries employing almost 80,000 people.
Holcim Bangladesh has three plants here with a total capacity of 1.3 million tonnes a year. The third cycle of Holcim awards starts in July.