Holcim and the Norman Foster Foundation announced the launch of their Essential Homes Research Project in Venice on 17 May during the 2023 Architecture Biennale

In this partnership, the Norman Foster Foundation designed essential housing to provide safety, comfort and well-being for displaced communities who can live in temporary settlements for over twenty years. Holcim built these homes with various green solutions, from ECOPact low carbon concrete to Elevate Insulation boards, to make sustainable buildings accessible to all.  

Lord Norman Foster, President, Norman Foster Foundation: “Natural and manmade disasters create a continuous exodus of people seeking instant shelter. Traditionally tents or variations on them are the primary response, offering scant protection from the elements. How can we do better? During the Venice Biennale we show our work-in-progress on this idea – the outcome of a few months of intensive activity in collaboration with Holcim.”

Jan Jenisch, CEO, Holcim: “At Holcim, we want sustainable buildings to be accessible to all, to improve living standards, while building a net zero future. It was a natural fit for us to partner with Norman Foster and his team to make their vision of essential homes sustainable.”

 Our innovative solutions bring safety, comfort and weather resilience to this essential housing concept, built in a low-carbon, circular and energy-efficient way.

Holcim deployed a range of its green building solutions in the Essential Housing Research project to make sustainable buildings accessible to all. Its ECOPact low-carbon concrete brings resilience and strength to the project. Its insulation solutions, from Elevate boards to Airium foam, provide thermal and acoustic comfort to enhance well-being. Its Hydromedia permeable concrete protects nature by enabling water flow to recharge soils and groundwater.

The Essential Home Research project will be unveiled at the Time Space Existence exhibition organized by the European Cultural Center during the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale. 

A real-size prototype will be displayed in the Marinaressa Gardens, supported by an exhibition hosted in Palazzo Mora. In line with the Biennale’s theme, “Laboratories of the Future,” this research project opens the conversation on how to provide essential housing for all sustainably.

This is the second project presented by the Norman Foster Foundation and Holcim at the Venice Architecture Biennale, aiming to tackle a significant societal challenge. Their first collaboration, the “Droneport,” was the first full-scale prototype of a hangar for drones, designed to distribute medical supplies in Africa, and presented at the 15th Biennale in 2016.

 The droneport prototype was built with Durabric, Holcim’s low-carbon earth-based brick for affordable housing. The collaboration included the Block Research Group at ETH Zurich and MecoConcept Toulouse.



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