AN INTERNATIONAL AWARD SINCE 2016
The materia award was inspired by the success of the TERRA Award (2016), the FIBRA Award (2019) and the TERRAFIBRA Award (2021) and is a continuity of these first three editions.
The building sector is the largest consumer of resources and energy. In France, it represents 43% of the national energy consumption, is one of the biggest waste producers, and is responsible for 23% of greenhouse gas emissions. Faced with this reality, in recent years, public opinion has become aware of the necessary environmental transition. The collective effort to preserve resources and significantly reduce the environmental footprint of existing and future constructions has led to the emergence of new eco-responsible architectural practices. These practices aim to valorise and make use of local bio-based and geo-sourced resources, readily available or just beneath our feet. Embracing the intelligence of vernacular architecture and its millennia-old know-how is a way to reconnect the act of building with the landscape and integrate with the territory.
Earth, stone, and vegetal fibers have already made their mark in contemporary architecture. Thousands of projects, of high technical, ecological, aesthetic, and emotional quality, are emerging on all five continents. The democratization of the use of these materials, which are low in energy consumption and abundantly available worldwide, contributes to reducing the exploitation of non-renewable resources and limits the energy needs throughout the life cycle of buildings.
A true challenge for contemporary architecture, the use of materials from the soil and crop is also one of the most optimistic paths to build a meaningful future for our professions. Local supply chain for such resources are organizing and expanding, creating new jobs that strengthen the economic activity of regions. Bio-based and geo-sourced materials are therefore essential for post-carbon architecture and contribute to ecological and social transition.
Furthermore, the materia award aims to highlight exemplary rehabilitation projects. To reduce the impact of the construction sector, especially the embodied energy required for building construction, the rehabilitation of the built environment becomes essential and must take a central place in future development strategies. Indeed, the rehabilitation of existing architecture, whether remarkable or more modest, represents a crucial challenge in terms of sustainable development. This process is based on recognizing and valuing a building to give it a second life and project it into a more sustainable future: recycling stimulates creativity and paves the way for a rebirth.
This global award for contemporary architecture in earth, stone, and vegetal fibers aims to showcase the aesthetic properties, constructive advantages, and environmental benefits of 40 eco-constructions. Recognizing these exemplary buildings, both by the profession and the general public, requires acknowledging all stakeholders involved in these projects. The goal of the materia award is to distinguish remarkable projects while highlighting the courage of owners who have chosen these materials, the creativity of designers, and the expertise of artisans and entrepreneurs. In line with the TERRA Award (2016), FIBRA Award (2019), and TERRAFIBRA Award (2021), this new prize, now extended to stone architecture, also aims to valorise material diversity and reaffirm the importance of constructive intelligence and the use of the right amount of the right material in the right place and at the right price.
Emphasizing the complementarity of materials also helps avoid the pitfall of a sector focused on a particularly polluting hegemonic solution.