Werner Sobek, prize winner of the 2021 OPAL Special Award for INNOVATION

February 15, 2022

Werner Sobek is internationally synonymous with engineering, design, and sustainability, collaborating with leading architects such as Christoph Ingenhoven, Barkow Leibinger, Henn, Helmut Jahn, Populous, Sauerbruch Hutton, Ole Scheeren, UNStudio, and Zaha Hadid Architects.


Werner Sobek has over the past 20 years developed “Gradientenbeton”, aka graded concrete, an innovative type of concrete with air cavities inside. Compared to conventional concrete, Gradientenbeton weighs 50% less. The benefits are significant, i.e. a building made out of concrete will weigh 50% less than if made from conventional concrete. The materials from which concrete is made are becoming more scarce and only half of those materials are needed to make Gradientenbeton. There are major emission benefits also; the transportation to a building site is reduced by half, and when a building comes to the end of its life only half of materials need recycling. It is for those reasons Werner Sobek is awarded the 2021 OPAL special Award prize in Innovation. To learn more about Gradientenbeton, please see our awards presentation here.