Constructive Alps: “Building blocks” for a sustainable Alpine future

The international architecture competition Constructive Alps celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, the Swiss Presidency of the Alpine Convention organised an online conference on sustainable building and renovation in the Alps on 9 and 10 June 2021.

The focus of the event was on how architecture can combine climate protection, frugality and quality of life. During the conference, experts from the fields of architecture and sociology as well as representatives of municipalities and building owners presented the design process and actual operation of various projects awarded at the architecture competition. As one of the conference speakers put it, architecture is successful when “the hand makes what the mind thinks, and the heart feels” (Bernardo Bader)

The book “Building in the Alps. Climate-smart architecture” by jury president Köbi Gantenbein was also launched during the conference. This catalogue of the five editions of Constructive Alps offers insights into the milestones and developments of sustainable architecture in the Alps.

An exhibition of the 28 finalist projects of the 2020 edition of the Constructive Alps competition is currently on display at the Ministry of Culture in Ljubljanaas well as in Lugano and in the Alpine Museum in Berne. The exhibition will move on to further sites in the Alps.

To reiterate the importance of architecture in climate protection and to showcase further examples of sustainable construction and renovation in the Alpine space, Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein have announced that the Constructive Alps competition will be launched for the sixth time in October 2021.

The Alpine Convention strives to lead by example in sustainable development, and the Constructive Alps competition is a tribute to the work being done by architects, municipalities and inhabitants at a local level to achieve this. Climate-friendly renovation and, if necessary, construction is fundamental for both climate change mitigation and adaptation – cooling buildings has already become a more pressing issue than heating, even in the mountains – and thus for a better quality of life in the Alps.

Moreover, the Constructive Alps prize goes further than climate protection through its holistic and visionary approach, accounting for the ecological, economic, social and cultural aspects of the sustainability of projects. We invite you to browse some of the past projects and get a glimpse into the bedrock of our sustainable Alpine home(s)!

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