Sustainable architecture in focus

Zumtobel Group Award dedicated to sustainable design

The Zumtobel Group Award is synonymous with people, sustainability and architecture. For more than 10 years, the focus of the prize has been on the sustainable design and development of the world of our future.

Winner of the Zumtobel Group Awards in the category Buildings: Michael Maltzan Architecture with "Star Apartments". © Iwan Baan

"The Zumtobel Group Award has been our way of showing architecture’s importance for people for over 10 years now. Architecture determines how people experience and live in built and urban environments. The Zumtobel Group Award addresses the urgent need for sustainability in architecture and, like our lighting solutions, puts people at the centre of the living environment", says Karin Zumtobel, Head of Arts & Culture at the Zumtobel Group.

The architecture competition therefore aims to help create a sustainable world. In times of globalization, this is becoming increasingly important, especially in architecture. And that’s exactly why the competition was launched – to develop forward-looking concepts that will improve quality of life and sustainability in our built environment .

For the fifth "Zumtobel Group Award – Innovations for Sustainability and Humanity in the Built Environment", the international specialist jury 2017/2018 comprising …., awarded first prizes to projects by Michael Maltzan Architecture, UNStudio, Arturo Vittori and TeamMinus. A total of €165,000 in prize money was awarded.

Winner of the Zumtobel Group Awards in the category Buildings: Michael Maltzan Architecture with "Star Apartments". © Iwan Baan

Curators of the Zumtobel Group Award 2017 are Dr h.c. Kristin Feireiss and Hans-Jürgen Commerell of the AEDES Architekturforum in Berlin, who have supported the architecture prize since its inception. "The Zumtobel Group Award has become a permanent fixture of the international architecture scene over the last ten years. However, the award doesn’t just increase awareness of the challenges facing the design and development of contemporary and future environments – we have continuously adapted the parameters of the award to the constantly growing technological possibilities such as increasingly digital processes, so that the resulting social interdependencies were also taken into account when the prize was awarded."

"Entries for the prize have come from all over the world, and there is no difference between one country and another – they all come from people who are really committed to what they do, and they do it so fantastically: selflessly and with the aim of creating a better life for many other people", says chairperson of the jury, Kjetil Traedal Thorsen from Snøhetta Architects.

Sustainable development within the corporate social responsibility

In all of these statements, people in relation to architecture are at centre stage. Sustainable architecture in particular incorporates people in its planning.For author Mathias Ninck, sustainability is something of a “magic word” because there is no clear consensus on what the term actually means. Summarising many different definitions, the author states: "Sustainability means being integrated into the processes of nature in such a way that everyone on earth can satisfy their basic needs – food, a roof over their heads, health and education – now and in the next 150 years and beyond, and be able to live a meaningful life." (Ninck., M.: Zauberwort Nachhaltigkeit. 1997)

The Zumtobel Group's voluntary assumption of corporate social responsibility  makes a major contribution to sustainable development, which is essential in ensuring the success of sustainability at corporate level. And it’s not just the Zumtobel Group Award – many other elements contribute to sustainability. One of these is the company’s support of the Urban Research Incubator led by Professor Hubert Klumpner at the Institute of Science, Technology and Policy at ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich). The Zumtobel Group supports these research projects, which are aimed at improving living conditions in Colombia and South Africa. In these difficult environmental conditions, light plays a crucial role in terms of both environmental and social sustainability.

© Iwan Baan