For their design of an energy-neutral portable classroom for the State of Hawaii, Anderson Anderson Architecture of San Francisco recently won the Holcim North America Acknowledgement Prize in a competition conducted by the Swiss-based Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction.
More than 6,000 submissions for projects located in 146 countries competed in the current round of awards, which promote sustainable responses to contemporary technological, environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural issues from the building and construction industry. AIACC Editor-in-Chief, Tim Culvahouse, FAIA, recently asked Peter Anderson, FAIA, about it.
Peter Anderson: The award is for our Zero Energy Relocatable Classroom project, commissioned by the State of Hawaii Department of Education as a prototype for replacement of up to 10,000 outmoded portables currently in use in the islands. While there is no commitment to use our design past the prototype, that was the stated intention of the competitive selection process.
The award is given to projects not yet complete, but readily feasible, so it is not supposed to be an ideas-only award. Part of the intention is to help spur along worthwhile projects that might need the extra push of attention or design funding.
Our project is fortunately already under construction—in fact, nearing completion, being built off-site as a complete structure in a factory near Portland, Oregon. It will then be disassembled into three large components, put on a ship at the Port of Seattle, and shipped to Hawaii. Its end location is at a grade school in an economically disadvantaged area of Oahu called Ewa Beach.
Tim Culvahouse: Where could our readers go for more information?
PA: For information on the design of the building, one of the best sources would be the page on our website. The other good source is a website that Autodesk has created, profiling a series of case studies on innovative uses of Revit/BIM software for sustainable design.
TC: Would you recommend the Holcim Awards program to other architects?
Peter Anderson: For projects that meet the qualifications, absolutely! We didn’t win one of the larger cash prizes, but—I have to say—the category in which we won had a larger prize than any awards program or competition we’ve ever done, including ones where we got the top prize. So, no complaints . . . and we are automatically in the running for the Holcim Global Innovation prizes in the spring. And they did treat us very well at the awards ceremony: flying us to DC, limo, red carpets, cocktail parties with senators, fancy hotels and dinners. Felt like the Big Time . . . briefly . . . then, alas, back to normalcy.