The Hathigaon: Housing for Mahouts and their Elephants project in Mumbai by architect Rahul Mehrotra from RMA architects has been decreed winner of the tenth edition of the prestigious International Fassa Bortolo Sustainable Architecture Award.
The project creates a new settlement for 100 elephants and for their keepers in the arid region of Rajasthan, in north-western India. The design strategy is inspired by the need to redevelop an area devastated by the indiscriminate quarrying of sand pits, using the potential offered by the artificial orography created by the quarrying activity: the quarries thus become reservoirs for rainwater collection, an extremely valuable resource and an essential tool to upgrade the entire surrounding area around in terms of environment and microclimatically.
The initiative established in 2003 by the Department of Architecture of the University of Ferrara and by the company Fassa Bortolo wants to encourage and promote architecture (built or developed in graduation, doctorate and specialization theses) which relates with the environment in a balanced way.
This year's jury has included Australian architect Glenn Murcutt (Pritzker Prize 2002) as one of its guests of honour. For the category of completed works, the Jury selected ten projects for the final evaluation. Three of them won gold and silver medals and seven were deemed worthy of an honourable mention.
The two joint silver medals reward the works of the Spanish architects Sol89, for creating a cookery school in a former slaughterhouse and DAP studio from Milan Italy in collaboration with Paola Giaconia for the Roberto Gritti Civic Centre.
For the category of graduation theses, the first prize was awarded to a group of graduates from the Polytechnic University of Bari (Alberto Maria Ficele, Francesco Garofoli, Sara Lagna, Vincenzo Salierno, Daniele Spirito, Francesco Vurchio), followed by Alessandra Alimonti and Vincenza Vincenziis from the Gabriele D'Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara and Irene Toselli with a work produced at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.