Page 55 - Norman Foster Foundation Re-materializing Housing Workshop
P. 55

 2021 Re-materializing Housing Workshop
Contents Report
‘The Time is Now’ by Maria Atkinson
Tuesday, 16 November 2021
Coming from an impressive background in large property investment and city planning, Maria Atkinson, chair of the Holcim Foundation, began her lecture with a reiteration of it’s title, ‘The time is now’.
Created in 2003, Atkinson said that the purpose of the Holcim Foundation is to intensify the exchange of information and expertise between the property industry and science and academia. Nothing that, at the time of its creation, a definition of sustainable construction didn’t exist, she claimed that the Foundation is thus a pioneer in the industry of sustainable construction.
Speaking on the Foundation’s current activities, which include competitions for project ideas and an annual Forum with the aim of ‘interrogating its subjects’, Atkinson explained that the objective of the Holcim Foundation’s initiatives is to generate ideas unconstrained by the status quo. With regard to the notion of sustainability, Atkinson argued that, in addition to basic resources, as human beings, we need what she referred to as the ‘social foundation’—that is, fair income, education, community resilience, employment opportunities, clean energy and social equity. To this end, she explained that the Holcim Foundation is working with various countries to make sure a similar groundwork is provided, arguing that the balance of the social and environmental ecosystem is what sustainability is really about.
In order to make ethical investments with deep and careful consideration, Atkinson stated that the Holcim Foundation looks at various areas before funding a project, such as the extent to which harmful elements, like fossil fuels, can change, the balance between social and environmental goals and the potential of regenerative building elements that can contribute more than they take, thus creating a positive impact. Similarly, she said that businesses themselves need to be responsible and have a comprehensive vision for their future that aligns with sustainable development goals.
Concluding her lecture, Atkinson remarked that she is optimistic for the future, saying that, since 2003, industry investment has excelled in terms of financial outcomes and environmental performance.
 Maria Atkinson during her lecture, ‘The Time is Now’, held at the Norman Foster Foundation’s library
Page 55

   53   54   55   56   57