School of Architecture wins international sustainability award
The 1U1V initiative brings together the expertise, knowledge, and human resources of ‘a university’ to improve the livelihood of ‘a village’ in a strategic, systematic and sustainable manner.
The rural sustainable development assistance programme initiated by the One University One Village (1U1V) team of CUHK’s School of Architecture has recently won the 2021 International Green Gown Awards in the category ‘Benefitting Society’.
The International Green Gown Awards, supported by the United Nations Environment Programme, is the most prestigious recognition of sustainability best practices within the global education sector.
A model of sustainable housing
The award recognises the team’s work in mainland China, where it has been taking on projects that include village improvement works, bridge building, and an anti-seismic prototype house with an innovative rammed-earth building system.
In particular, a post-earthquake reconstruction project taken on by the team demonstrated the use of ‘high-science, low technology’ strategies with the ‘3L’ (local technology, local materials, local labour) principle of rural construction. The prototype house for an aged couple also showed how bio-climatic design, cost-effectiveness, aesthetics and residential needs can be taken into consideration simultaneously.
The award judges commented that the project had provided much needed sustainable reconstruction in rural areas and empowered local citizens. They were especially impressed by the upskilling elements incorporated into the project and the holistic approach taken, as these illustrated how ethical development can lead to empowerment, especially of women, and the inclusion of climate adaptation and skills transfer.
Recognition of efforts
The initiative has creatively improved the environmental, economic, and social sustainable development of poor rural areas.
‘The CUHK 1U1V team addresses global and regional challenges and societal needs by implementing 1U1V projects,’ said Prof. Ng. ‘This solution has been generated by multi-disciplinary partnerships and networking platforms between different universities worldwide and various government agencies.’ The rammed-earth building project received multiple international awards. In particular, it was named World Building of the Year 2017 at the World Architecture Festival, which is also known as ‘the Oscars of Architecture’.
Prof. Rocky S. Tuan, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK, remarked, ‘Social responsibility and sustainable development is one of the seven key areas in the new 5-year Strategic Plan of CUHK. The International Green Gown Awards are a recognition to our researchers, teachers and students for their endeavours and achievements in driving sustainable development. They have set a fine example both locally and globally.’
Watch the video to learn more about 1U1V initiative