Five winners, hailing from the four corners of the world, were announced at the “Global Award for Sustainable Architecture”, which took place on Monday, May 9 at the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, an architectural museum in Paris. Now in its 10th year, the Award, which was created by the Locus Foundation, recognizes architects for their belief in a more sustainable development and for their innovative and holistic approach to architecture. The 2016 winners are:

  • CASE STUDIO, Patama Roonrakwit (Bangkok, Thailand)
  • GION ANTONI CAMINADA (Vrin, Switzerland)
  • KENGO KUMA (Tokyo, Japan)
  • PATRICE DOAT (Grenoble, France)
  • EAST COAST ARCHITECTS, Derek Van Heerden& Steve Kinsler (Durban, South Africa)

The Award celebrates innovation in particular and seeks to raise awareness and increase the credibility of those architects who are not afraid to break ranks with traditional thinking. The architects research and work will be shared with universities across the world in order to encourage debate and challenge the sustainable architectural perceptions of the next generation in the face of mega trends, such as the energy transition, urbanization and the ecological mutation.

The Rexel Foundation for a better energy future provided funding and support to the Locus Foundation, which was created in 2009 to oversee the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture™ in order to support research and raise awareness of Sustainable Design across ecological, social, economic and cultural fields.

Commenting on the award, Pascale Giet, Vice-President of the Rexel Foundation for a better energy future, said: “In line with the Global Award’s focus on strengthening the influence of innovative pioneers in the field of sustainable architecture, the Rexel Foundation recognizes the importance of supporting social innovation projects to build a more sustainable energy future. We are very pleased to be able to support the work of the Locus Foundation and the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture, and we look forward to working closely together on the construction and renovation of tomorrow’s buildings and cities with more energy efficient and low-carbon energy systems to fight fuel poverty, improve quality of life and rethink practices for a better energy future.”

Jana Revedin, architect PhD, professor of Architecture and founder of the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture, added: “I am thrilled that the Rexel Foundation has chosen to support us. Cities and sustainable architecture need to integrate the advances in the field of energy from an environmental, economic and social standpoint. The five winners awarded today set an example for future generations, for their commitment and work in making our cities and buildings more sustainable.”


Patama Roonrakwit devotes herself to the self-development of informal districts in Thailand and its neighbours: Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos. She works by raising awareness of approaches which are patiently developed in situ and patiently acclimatised. This is a radicant method which relies on time as opposed to a radical method which confuses rapidity with efficiency.

Gion A. Caminada has spent the past 30 years developing architecture for the rural communities of his native Swiss canton of Grisons by patiently and knowingly getting to understand the villages – their form, their culture, their rural surroundings, their micro-geography – and by respecting the time that they require to determine their needs. This is proof that highly civilised facilities can be built in Europe without abandoning noble materials, through slow building methods or programmes borne out of collective reflection.

The architects of East Coast Architects also work in rural areas. But in South Africa these are becoming depopulated and both this phenomenon and its flipside – the precarious city – are part of the same challenge. It is urgent to stem this rural exodus which is unsustainable in the long-term but there are no quick fixes. East Coast Architects’ long-term solution is to build schools which set an excellent example, in their construction, in their use of water and energy and in their organisation of collective life… These are microcosms in which young people learn through immersion.

In Japan, Kengo Kuma is a true artist who has succeeded in modernising the traditional methods employed by local craftsmen by working out how to industrialise these so that they survive through the 21st century without losing their extraordinary modular flexibility. This patient and continuous work of innovation has been carried out in close cooperation with Japanese craftsmen, in wood, earth, paper, while never losing sight of the contingencies of the contemporary economy.

Patrice Doat is one of the major figures of the ecological debate, as much for having co-founded the laboratory CRAterre, as for having developed an approach to teaching and a theory of process (under the label Cultures Constructives) in which architecture is not a product but a point in the continuum in which man creates his habitat, city, milieu. Patrice Doat also created the Grands Ateliers de l’Isled’Abeau, where he teaches students from across Europe that design is, at once a technique, a science, a research process and a fun invention.

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