Submission Information and Criteria for the 2017 Zumtobel Group Award

Submission deadline: 15 January 2017

The Zumtobel Group Award was established in 2007 by the Zumtobel Group and carries a total purse of EUR 150,000. Today it ranks among the most respected awards in the world of architecture. In the past, the award was presented in two categories. In 2014 the second category was adapted to emphasize urban development and initiatives; and a third category was added to recognize applied innovations in the built environment.

Submissions are invited in three categories, each category being presented by one of the lighting group’s brands:

Point of Departure
Point of Departure
In view of the finite nature of the earth’s resources, the issue of sustainability is charged with social, ecological and economic significance. In the built environment, architects, urban planners, engineers and related disciplines are challenged to engage with these issues by combining scientific knowledge, technical innovation and design ideas with courage and a strong sense of responsibility.
Founding of the Zumtobel Group Award
Founding of the Zumtobel Group Award
For many years the Zumtobel Group with its three internationally established brands Zumtobel, Thorn and Tridonic has made sustainability and energy efficiency key objectives in the production, function and application of its products. Aware that significant, innovative solutions in architecture and urban planning can help cut global energy consumption and boost the general quality of life, the Zumtobel Group decided to initiate the biennial Zumtobel Group Award - Innovations for Sustainability and Humanity in the Built Environment. The Zumtobel Group Award acknowledges outstanding architectural and technical achievements. It commends sustainable solutions, pioneering social initiatives, research projects and applied innovations in the built environment.

Curated and organised by Aedes Architecture Forum Berlin, the award acts as a stimulus for new developments and concepts in the built environment that help meet current and future demands for improved urban living conditions and energy needs.
New Special Award
New Special Award
For the first time, the 2017 Award will also include a special award for Young Professionals. Projects from all three categories qualify for this special award, if the project author submitting the project is under 40 years of age on 15 January 2017. If projects are submitted by teams, this rule shall apply to all team members. By developing the award further, the Zumtobel Group intends to set a sign for the young generation.
The Criteria
The Criteria
The Zumtobel Group Award honours contemporary realised or conceptual works of exceptional innovative content, design, technology and construction. Submissions must make a significant contribution to greater humanity and sustainability in the built environment.

The Zumtobel Group Award aims to:
  • address challenges and opportunities in sustainable architecture, engineering and urban planning;
  • identify and discuss expectations and interests around humanity and sustainability in the built environment;
  • encourage research into and implementation of new sustainable and socially beneficial perspectives in the built environment;
  • stimulate innovations that promote sustainability and humanity in the built environment; and
  • foster interdisciplinary communication, knowledge exchange and networking strategies in this field.

The Zumtobel Group Award is presented in 3 categories:
“Applied Innovations”, “Buildings” and “Urban Developments & Initiatives”.

The jury will nominate five projects in each category and from among these five will select the winner in the three categories.

For the first time, the 2017 Award will also include a special award for “Young Professionals”. Projects from all three categories qualify for this award, if the project author submitting the project is under 40 years of age on 15 January 2017.
Category Buildings
Category Buildings
This category – presented by the Zumtobel brand - is dedicated to architecturally outstanding buildings or complexes realised within the past three years (30 Nov. 2013 – 15 Jan. 2017). Submissions must meet and envisage current and future demands for sustainable lifestyles.

The award will go to an implemented building or complex of exceptional architectural merit. The winning submission will constitute an innovative sustainable and socially beneficial contribution to the built environment. Applying the latest technologies it will lead to a distinct improvement in the quality of life.

The award is not restricted to new buildings and complexes. It also covers projects dealing with the re-use, conservation or refurbishment of existing structures or the addition of new components.

Presentation requirements
The presentation of a project in the category Buildings must include information on:

  • General concept,
  • Strategy and concept with regard to sustainability,
  • Technologies/methods/measures used during implementation,
  • Urban-planning and spatial approach,
  • Socio-cultural context and impact,
  • Design strategy and use of sustainable materials, with actual or forecast energy/material savings against a defined baseline,
  • Cooperation with partners,
  • Overall significance of the project.
Category Urban Developments & Initiatives
Category Urban Developments & Initiatives
This category – presented by the Thorn brand - is dedicated to projects on an urban scale: city development/planning strategies, master plans, public space projects and landscape architecture. It also includes ongoing research projects and social initiatives in an urban context.

The award targets urban developments that are in progress or have been realised in the past three years (30 Nov. 2013 – 15 Jan. 2017) as well as ongoing research into the improved implementation of sustainability and humanity. Aiming not least to encourage an emerging generation of researchers and practitioners in architecture and urban design, the award in this category seeks to facilitate and promote urban projects and to foster ongoing initiatives or socially beneficial research projects. Individuals or groups from university contexts, architects, urban and landscape planners, NGOs and private or public initiatives are eligible.

Presentation requirements
The presentation of a project in the category Urban Developments & Initiatives must include information on:
  • Means of investigation
  • Underlying concept
  • Aims of the project
  • Sustainability strategy
  • Social and political context and relevance
  • Ecological benefits
  • Aspect of innovation
  • Cooperation with partners
  • Design strategy
  • Overall significance of the project.
Category Applied Innovations
Category Applied Innovations
This category – presented by the Tridonic brand - is dedicated to outstanding innovations (components/systems) and smart technological solutions with an emphasis on IoT and connectivity to be applied in the built environment, as well as prototypical building solutions. It addresses technical universities, research institutions, individual engineers and firms of consulting engineers, as well as technology startups.

The award in this category will go to pace-setting technological concepts for application in or around buildings and urban infrastructure. These could include, for example, new (re-/self-generative) materials, sensors, intelligent controls or renewable means of energy generation.

A special focus here is on the capacity of the solution to serve human needs (enhancing functionality, improving the quality of life) and reduce environmental impacts. This could be through saving or smart use of energy, new materials or recycling, closed material cycles, or the smart networking of the different media and resource supply such as HVAC (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning) and lighting. In this context we also encourage applications concerned with the Internet of Things (IoT) and connectivity in the sense of linking and exchanging data, function and behavior between actors, sensors and users. This category also covers software solutions, ranging from embedded software algorythms and application programs (App’s), to new user interfaces and complete cloud solutions.

Applicants must present a finalised concept, including resilient proof of concept and/or an existing and working prototype. The component/system/product may but need not be already industrialised in a test/small series, although products in volume production are excluded. The innovation is also considered proven if it has been successfully applied in a building or urban infrastructure project realised within the past three years (30 Nov. 2013 – 15 Jan. 2017).

Presentation requirements
The presentation of a project in the category Applied Innovations must include the following:
  • Description of the underlying idea
  • Detailed explanation of the concept
  • Information on financing to date and/or any public funding
  • Prototype, one-off sample or software dummy if these exist
  • Comparison with the technical state of the art
  • Proof of concept through a detailed comparison with “as-is” situation, highlighting improvements in environmental impact, fulfilment of human needs and/or functionality
  • Reference to scientific studies, where available.
Conditions of Participation
Conditions of Participation
Only the project author is allowed to submit the proposal. The project author has to be 18 years of age. Participation is not limited to certain professions, such as architects or urban planners; it is the quality of the concept and the innovative impact of the submitted project that is decisive. The submitted projects in the category “Buildings” have to be completed between 30 November 2013 and 15 January 2017. Projects in the category “Urban Developments & Initiatives” may still be in the process of realization. Realized projects may not be older than 30 November 2013. The same applies for the category “Applied Innovation” in cases where the proof of concept has been achieved in a project. For the special award “Young Professionals”, Projects from all three categories qualify for this award, if the persons submitting the project have not yet reached the age of 40 by January 15, 2017.

Employees of Zumtobel Group AG and its brands are not allowed to enter the competition.

The digital applications forms will be available from 30 September 2016 below
Applications must be submitted latest by 15 January 2017.
Proceedings and Jury members
Proceedings and Jury members
A first-line jury will select 15 projects in each category from among the submissions. In mid-2017, the main jury of prominent international experts from the fields of architecture and urban planning, art and design, engineering and building technology, as well as software and the Internet of Things, will nominate five projects per category and select a winner from among these five.
Prizes and Timeline
Prizes and Timeline
The three prize-winning projects carry a total purse of 150,000 Euros to be divided equally between the three categories. The sum also includes a dedicated amount for the special award.

Awards Ceremony
The award ceremony is scheduled for the last quarter of 2017.

An Aedes/Zumtobel Group catalogue featuring the nominated and award-winning projects in all three categories will be published.

  • Submission of projects: 30 September 2016 – 15 January 2017
  • Jury session: mid-2017
  • Awards ceremony: last quarter of 2017
Any recourse to courts of law is barred.
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