Plans for a food network among the scattered Inuit communities of Northern Canada have been named the Gold prize winner in the third International Holcim Awards for North America. The awards are presented on a three-year competition cycle by the Holcim Foundation to honor future-oriented and tangible sustainable-construction projects. The awards are presented in five global regions (Africa Middle East, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America) and the top three winners in each region—Gold, Silver and Bronze Award winners—then compete against one another for a Global Holcim Award.

In total, the Holcim Foundation awarded prizes to 10 projects from North America. The top Gold prize, which includes a $100,000 cash award, went to the Arctic Food Network (AFN), which consists of regional food-gathering nodes and infrastructure for scattered Inuit communities in the arctic territory of Nunavut, Canada. The system aims to enable better distribution of local foods, serve as a series of bases for the reinforcement of traditional hunting, and establish new foundations for a sustainable, more independent economy in the region. The plan’s development was led by Mason White of Lateral Office and InfraNet Lab in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

A Silver award, with a cash prize of $50,000, was given to a two-level net-zero-energy school building design that will be constructed on multiple locations in Los Angeles in the coming years. Designed by Swift Lee Office, the proposal uses off-the-shelf components and modular panels to create a prefabricated system with a double-layered façade.

A Bronze award and $25,000 cash prize was given to Julie Snow Architecture of Minneapolis, Minn., for the land port of entry between the United States and Canada at Van Buren, Maine. To read more about this project, see ECO-STRUCTURE’s May/June 2011 cover story “Red, White, Blue, and Green.”

In addition to the top three awards, the competition also chose four projects for acknowledgement prizes of $18,750 each. The projects include an energy-efficient building at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., designed by Studio 804; an energy-neutral portable classroom for use in Hawaii, designed by Anderson Anderson Architecture; an energy-, water-, and waste-efficient military installation in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and the Fort Calumet Environmental Center in Chicago, designed by Studio Gang Architects.

Rounding out the competition are Next Generation prizes, which are awarded to postgraduate university students. The competition awarded three prizes: one for a strategy to strengthen coastline mangrove forests, one for the unique use of secondary building materials in a temporary festival structure, and one for a materials project that studies the properties of foam concrete and its potential for wider use. Prize amounts are $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000, respectively.

The jury for the 2011 Holcim Awards for North America included Mohsen Mostafavi, dean of Harvard University Graduate School of Design; Ray Cole, director of the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia; Keller Easterling, associate professor of architect at Yale University; Harry Gugger, principal of Harry Gugger Studio and professor of architecture at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland; Sheila Kennedy, AIA, principal, Kennedy & Voilich Architecture and professor of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Hans-Rudolf Schalcher, professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich; Nader Tehrani, principal of NADAAA and professor of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Bernard Terver, area manager North America for Holcim; and Mark West, director of the Center for Architectural Studies and Technology at the University of Manitoba in Canada. Entries were evaluated in relation to five target issues: Progress, people, planet, prosperity, and proficiency.

For more information on the awards and regional winners, visit