Concrete, the construction material of the century, exerts its appeal undiminished. Cement-bound building materials have always been more than just an elementary basis for constructing long-lasting production facilities, infrastructure and housing: they have opened up myriad possibilities for architects to realise their creative potential. By supporting high-quality and sustainable construction using concrete, the cement industry has been providing a valuable contribution to construction culture for many years now. Through a widespread network of local, regional and nationwide activities and institutions, it is committed to acting as a reliable and responsible dialogue partner for the high art of construction. In doing so, it increases awareness of quality and promotes appreciation of man-made environments. The German cement industry thus in its earliest days already began honouring outstanding architectural accomplishments by awarding the Architekturpreis Beton (German Concrete Architecture Award) and the Architekturpreis Zukunft Wohnen (German Future Housing Award). At European level, the cooperative International Concrete Design Competition serves to encourage innovation among the future generation of architects, designers and engineers.
The Cement Industry’s Commitment to Construction Culture
German Concrete Architecture Award
The German Concrete Architecture Award has become established as one of the most important architectural prizes in Germany. The award focuses on aesthetic, functional buildings with consciously employed materials that utilise concrete in a prominent and innovative manner. Just like the German Future Housing Award, the German Concrete Architecture Award sponsors the Federal Foundation Baukultur convention that acts as a platform for the foundation members, award winners and jurors to discuss construction culture. In 2010, the German Concrete Architecture Award was held for the 18th time, once again in collaboration with the Association of German Architects (BDA).
German Future Housing Award
Housing’s suitability for future use is a key issue of construction philosophy in the present. Ideas on the form of human habitation in future determine society’s discussion of sustainability and energy efficiency. The German cement industry already identified this trend 15 years ago and established the German Future Housing Award. The prize encourages pioneering and exemplary solutions. Thanks to its clearly defined profile, the German Future Housing Award is regarded as one of Germany’s most important nationally awarded architecture awards. Just like the German Concrete Architecture Award, it sponsors the Federal Foundation Baukultur convention that acts as a platform for the foundation members, award winners and jurors to discuss construction culture.
Promoting young talent
The future generation of architects, engineers and designers is also a major partner in architectural communication within the cement industry. Creativity and delight in innovation need to be encouraged as early as possible. In this respect, an exchange with university professors and students reading construction-related subjects is essential. To further facilitate such an exchange, the Concrete Design Competition was launched in 2003and has since been held every two years. The Europe-wide students’ competition focuses on materials and integration, making it an example of pioneering spirit. The competition’s intention is to provide a platform for experimentation in regards to the future development of concrete as a material. A new round of the competition was called for the winter semester 2011/2012. Under the header “energy”, Europe’s students were asked to submit drafts for future-oriented, energy-efficient and sustainable construction.
A dialogue of experts
All communications channels committed to promoting high-quality concrete constructions revolve around the opportunities that the material offers in respect to artistic, economic and building engineering. In this context, the magazine “betonprisma” fulfils a special role by acting as the platform for cross-network exchange and by supporting a direct dialogue with other media. “betonprisma” was first published in 1964 and appears twice a year. Each issues contents focus on different key topics.