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Pierre Hurt, the award ceremony for the 2020 edition of the Bauhärepräis OAI was held on 21 September. What is your opinion about this very special edition?

“The enthusiasm for the Bauhärepräis OAI has been confirmed once again for this edition: despite the health crisis, 257 private and public clients and their architects and engineers have submitted applications.

The health crisis is also a positive factor, as it has prompted us to set aside some time for ourselves: four members of the jury joined the pre-selection committee via videoconferencing to analyse the input from the building owners in detail in order to prepare for the plenary session of the jury.

And finally, the presentation of the trophies at the Philharmonie was a great success with the participation of nearly 400 people on site, and more than 1,000 people following the broadcast on our Facebook and YouTube pages.

We can also see that there is a need to take advantage of this award to discuss the culture of the built environment and the way we build and live together.”

What is your assessment of these six months of economic and health crisis for the architects and consulting engineers sector in Luxembourg?

“Like many sectors, the OAI professions are paying a heavy economic price for the crisis caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus. The activity on OAI members has been strongly impacted, in particular by the closure of building sites by government decision, as well as by the confinement measures which slowed down the progress of many projects in the design and tender phases.

Taking advantage of the opportunities offered by digitalisation, they have turned to teleworking in order to ensure a certain continuity and to do the work required to better come out of this crisis.

Out of solidarity with the vital sectors of our society active on the ground during this period, it has been essential to encourage all those that were still able to work, especially self-employed intellectual workers, to redouble their efforts to limit the impact of this crisis.

It is undeniable, however, that most construction sites have fallen behind schedule even more that what corresponds to the period of imposed closure. At the suggestion of the OAI, the CRTI-B (Centre de Ressources des Technologies et de l’Innovation pour le Bâtiment), a platform bringing together project managers, the OAI and companies, has set up a taskforce to draw up guidelines for pragmatic adaptations of contractual deadlines.”

Do you remain optimistic about the short-term future?

“Although we are caught up in managing our day-to-day activities in the difficult context of this crisis, it is important to ensure our social responsibility by preparing for the post-COVID-19 period.

As independent intellectual professionals, and with a holistic approach, particularly within the OAI Project Management, the Order and its members are able to identify the real challenges facing the construction sector during and after this crisis, and the innovative responses to be made.

To this end, we have gathered the highlights and ideas of OAI members to design and prepare solutions with our partners (administrations, municipalities, Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Skilled Crafts, Craftsmen’s Federation, etc.).

These suggestions (procedural, operational, legal, financial and so on), were transmitted to the Government in order to participate in the societal debate to draw the right conclusions from this crisis to build a better living-together.”

You have initiated an upcycling project for the fabrics currently used at the Pop-Up Expo of the Bauhärepräis OAI 2020. How did this idea come about?

“OAI is indeed launching the project to ‘re-use’ the fabrics currently used at the Pop-Up Expo of the Bauhärepräis OAI 2020 at the Hotel des Postes Aldringen running until 5 October 2020.

This OAI initiative in collaboration with Design Luxembourg, the Creative Industries Cluster of Luxinnovation, LuxExpo The Box, the non-profit organisation De Mains de Maître of the Chamber of Skilled Crafts and the Oeuvre Nationale de Secours Grande-Duchesse Charlotte, shows that the approach of sustainable development and the circular economy can be applied at all levels.”

How are things going to happen in practice?

“The Pop-Up Expo will make one last stop at the Home Expo 2020 show at Luxexpo THE BOX from 10 to 18 October 2020. At the end of the show, it will be a question of recovering the fabrics on which the clients’ creations are printed and bringing them to life in another way by creating unique pieces. The designers’ concepts will be presented progressively by the OAI on www.bhp.lu.

Based on the sketches, these pieces can be purchased at the auction on 18 October from 3 to 4 pm at Luxexpo THE BOX and also online at www.bhp.lu.

Half of the proceeds of this OAI initiative will go to the Oeuvre Nationale et Secours Grande-Duchesse Charlotte, while the other half will be used to cover the costs of the designers.

What other key dates are on the OAI agenda in the coming months?

“Although there are less public activities at the moment, the continuing vocational training programme in collaboration with the House of Training continues with both face-to-face and videoconferencing modules.”

Photos: Olivier Gerges et Christof Weber

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