The Swiss House, a high-tech consulate in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is to receive the "Build Massachusetts" award.
The prize will be given on October 25 by the Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts. It will reward the Swiss government, architects Muriel Waldvogel and Jeffrey Huang, as well as the American building company Marc Truant and Associates for their "innovative combination of building materials with high technology, and video-conference facilities."
"We are very proud to receive this award one year only after the opening of the Swiss House," said its founder, Xavier Comtesse, who was former science and technology officer at the Swiss embassy in Washington.
The Swiss House has acted as a link between the scientific, academic and high-tech communities of Switzerland and New England.
When it opened, the facility was billed as the first consulate in the world exclusively dedicated to science, research and education. Its existence sparked the interest of other countries, such as Britain, France and South Korea, which decided to launch similar projects.
The Swiss House for Advanced Research and Education, known as SHARE, teaches Swiss entrepreneurs to set up business plans, and develop their knowledge of the market and establish contacts. It is also aimed at American scientists and high-tech companies that want to undertake research and development projects with Swiss partners.
SHARE occupies one floor of a building near Harvard Square in Cambridge. It was conceived as a "global village", where exchanges can happen through brainstorming sessions and networking events, or digitally, thanks to state-of-the-art video conference facilities and the "virtual Swiss House" on the Internet.
The project was also conceived as a way to provide guidance for the 5,000 or so Swiss students and academics currently studying in the US, and also to encourage them to maintain contact with their homeland.
The Swiss house was established in the Boston area because of the high concentration of universities and high-tech companies there. Massachusetts has more than 100 higher education institutes, including Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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