Sara Cultural Centre wins bronze in Holcim Awards 2021

During the 6th cycle of Holcim Awards, the lead architects for carbon negative Sara Cultural Centre received bronze in the Europe competition region. This makes Robert Schmitz and Oskar Norelius the first Swedish architects to receive the award, which is the most significant international competition for sustainable design.

The decisive factor in the competition is the holistic approach to sustainability, which in the context of the Holcim Awards is based on the five pillars of Progress, People, Planet, Prosperity, and Place. The projects that address these five concerns most consistently and coherently are awarded prizes at the regional level.

We are very happy to receive this award addressing all aspects of sustainability. Any architect who values sustainability mustn’t neglect the social aspects – the people.
Robert Schmitz and Oskar Norelius, Lead Architects at White Arkitekter

Sara Cultural Centre is a building for everyone. The central location, its generous transparent glass facades and entrances in all directions together create an open and inviting meeting place.

For Sara Cultural Centre, the Holcim Awards jury Europe was particularly fascinated by the innovative timber construction techniques deployed to achieve this beautiful and sustainable architectural project, which showcases the potential when working exclusively with timber. Making the material choice a question of both engineering and spatial quality was considered a powerful claim.

The fact that all the building structural elements are entirely made of wood, including the structural core and elevator shaft, makes this tower quite unique in its genre. The jury applauded the refined expression of the building, the elegance of the massing and the showcasing of the timber structure through a delicate curtain wall.

In the context of the construction industry’s net zero transition, the Sara Cultural Centre is a showcase project that comes at the right time. To build such a large building, incorporating all the different solutions we have developed, shows that you can do a lot by using prefabrication and standardisation – and at the same time meet individual needs.
Robert Schmitz and Oskar Norelius

The Swiss project Extending the Cycle was named winner of Holcim Awards in the Europe competition region. The project redefines the starting point of the design process by treating demolition as an opportunity to source construction materials. Congratulations to baubüro in situ that shows how high-quality buildings can be constructed primarily using salvaged materials.

The prizes were presented at a handover ceremony at the International Architecture Biennale in Venice, in the presence of Hashim Sarkis, the curator of the biennale and the Dean of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Read more about Sara Cultural Centre here.

About Holcim Awards

The Holcim Awards, conducted by Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, seeks leading projects of professionals that combine sustainable construction solutions with architectural excellence. Each competition cycle spans three years and offer a total of USD 2 million in prize money and foreground projects and concepts from architecture, engineering, urban planning, materials science, construction technology, and related fields.

Contact Person

Robert Schmitz

Robert Schmitz

Architect, Office management


+46 8 402 26 52

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