Hans Sauer Award 2020

Designing Circularity in the Built Environment. A German – Dutch Competition.


“Make, Use, Waste” – the prevailing linear way of thinking and actingpowered by consumerism puts severe pressure on the earth’s natural resources. How can this pattern be changed andhow can modern life and our societies become more circular? Currentlyone of the most resource consuming sectors is the buildingandconstruction sector. In Europe it accounts for approximately half of all extracted materials, half of total energy consumption, one third of water consumption and one third of waste generation.

The Hans Sauer Award 2020 „Designing Circularity in the Built Environment“ focuses on changing practices in the system that produce the “built environment” of cities and landscapes. “Built environment” refers to human-made surroundings that provide the setting for human activity, ranging from buildings to neighborhoods and cities themselves. The interdisciplinary competition not only wants to reward building new structures, but will also honor tools, methods and concepts that deal with the circular transformation of the already enormous quantity of existing constructions and / or structures. Additionally, the award focuses on people and projects that create and spread knowledge on the importance of circularity in the built environment.

The Hans Sauer Foundation is focused on fostering a “Circular Society” – in the Netherlands manifold actors do so for quite some time. This led to the idea to initiate a German-Dutch competition that not only awards outstanding projects, but also aims to foster the exchange of knowledge and experience between the two countries. The Dutch Consulate General and Stichting Circulair Bouwen, two high quality partners, have joined in announcing this competition.


Categories and Award

There will be six awards in total: A German and a Dutch one in every category. The total award money of 20.000 Euro will be distributed by a Dutch-German jury. Additionally all prize winners get the chance to take part in an exchange program to visit either the Netherlands or Germany and learn more about best practice examples and the winning teams.

Please choose the category you would like to apply to and note it on your application (cf Application Requirements). The categories will be used as a guide for comparing applications to each other.

Best Practice I Design

This category honors existing projects, buildings, houses, etc which have been planned, designed and built with a strong focus on circularity. The projects should have been built or completed in 2016 or later.

Tools I Materials I Methods

This category honors tools, materials or methods which bring  circularity to the built environment: Circular materials and techniques which deal with existing constructions and / or structures and improve processes with smaller scaled hacks and innovations.

Knowledge Transfer I Education

This category wants to honor ways of educating people and  industries in becoming more circular, generating and spreading knowledge and bringing innovation into the field / sector.

 Who can apply?

Everybody, no matter if a person, an institution, a student, an office, a start-up, etc can apply for the competition. The award language is English. It is possible to hand in as a team or a group. Only applicants from Germany or the Netherlands can take part in the competition.


Time Frame

Registration starts on November 15 th, 2019 and ends January 31 st, 2020. In February 2020 the finalists will be announced and will receive an invitation to the award ceremony which will take place in Munich on March 11 th, 2020 during the Munich Creative Business Week.


Application Requirements

Applicants should submit the following documents and send them to award2020@hanssauerstiftung.com.
A description of the building, project, method, tool, etc in English. The description should be 1.000 – 2.000 words and contain all visual materials necessary for understanding the submission (images, graphics, illustrations, videos).

The document should also answer the following questions:
1. How does your submission support circularity in the built environment?
2. Which aspects of circularity does your submission address?
3. What is the scaling potential of your submission?
4. What makes your submission innovative?

Additionally, the following information should be supplied:
1. Name of your project
2. Full name, birthdate and email address of all applicants involved
3. Name and addresses of institution, office, company, etc involved
4. The category which you apply to (back side)

Legal Notice:
The process and results of the competition will be communicated via print and internet media. All property and copyrights for the entries made in the competition remain with the entrants. For the duration of the competition and publications made in direct connection to this competition, participants will grant the Hans Sauer Foundation temporary use and publication rights for the selected texts, concepts, function models, photos, etc. The participants agree to this with their registration.

In cooperation with:




Further information and terms of participation (PDF)


Kurzbeschreibungen der Preisträger*innen / Short profiles of the award winners