I welcomed the opportunity to share my strong belief that we can only create future-proof buildings by placing sustainability, energy efficiency and people at the heart of design, with the support of creative minds.
The second edition of the Manni Group Design Award, an international architecture contest, looked to Detroit-Michigan as the host for this year’s challenge - an urban regeneration of the city area overlooking the Detroit river. This cause hits particularly close to home for us at Dow, as our headquarters are in Midland, Michigan. As sponsors of the award, on account of Dow`s next-gen insulation for a more sustainable building envelope and our support to developing the talent of tomorrow, we were thrilled to discover how young architects from around the globe imagined the dynamic center of attraction for the great city of Michigan.
With cities around the world under pressure due to population growth, economic restructuring and rising environmental challenges, sustainable urban regeneration has become an urgent issue. Fortunately, there are many opportunities to address these challenges by making cities smarter and more sustainable.
In Detroit, the scars of past decades’ depopulation and economic crisis have left urban vacuums that are now being turned into epicenters of regeneration proposals. The Manni Group Design Award is a great example of this. Here, young architects were tasked with designing a future leisure and entertainment hub located in the former Joe Louis Arena; a mixed-use complex overlooking the river and nestled among downtown skyscrapers.
In response to challenges facing urban environments and the people who live there, the new buildings were designed using highly efficient materials with significant energy-saving performance, surrounded by water and greenery to support social aggregation and wellbeing. Having been a judge myself for last year`s Manni Group Design Award, I know that this year’s judging process will have been a tremendous challenge due to the innovative quality of candidates. The winning projects can be viewed here. What they all have in common is a carefully considered approach to sustainability; starting with the most efficient way of transporting the building materials required for such a project, to self-regulating buildings as well as the integration of natural elements, water and greenery, in the architectural blocks.
Like the collaborative process of designing and constructing a building, the Manni Group Design Award is enabled by the collaboration of the YAC – Young Architects Competition, who launched the YACademy: a school that develops the designers of tomorrow. As part of their masterclasses, I was invited to deliver a keynote on the importance of partnerships such as being followed by the V Plus Perform program in the creation of sustainable innovations and rethinking urban development together. I welcomed the opportunity to share my strong belief that we can only create future-proof buildings by placing sustainability, energy efficiency and people at the heart of design, with the support of creative minds.
The opportunity for safe, sustainable, efficient and humane architecture to emerge from the challenges we face in this industry and as society is exciting and a testament to the power of collaboration.
Alberto Mercati, Marketing Fellow, Dow Polyurethanes