The shortlisted contenders in this year’s AfriSam–South African Institute of Architects (Saia) Awards for Sustainable Architecture and Innovation were unveiled on Wednesday after record entries across the four categories were received by closing on March 24.
Twenty-two projects out of 47 entries made it into the qualifying round for the 2015/16 AfriSam-Saia Awards following assessments and on-site inspections by a six-member adjudication panel, which included prior winner, architect and furniture designer Richard Stretton.
Saia VP Kevin Bingham, Architecture for a Sustainable Future Africa region director Eric Noir, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research building, science and technology principal researcher Llewellyn van Wyk, AfriSam representative Sebasti Badenhorst and sustainable architecture academic Daniel Irurah also formed part of the judging team.
The biennial awards comprised the categories of Sustainable Architecture and Research in Sustainability, as well as two new categories, Sustainable Products and Technology and Sustainable Social Programmes, with the winners to be announced in October.
“The award assessed by the project responds to the criteria of harmonisation, people upliftment, evolutionary paradigm and placemaking performance,” Stretton told media on Wednesday.
AfriSam marketing manager Victor Bouguenon said the awards reflected AfriSam’s drive towards reducing the carbon footprint of cement and aimed to take the sustainability debate to market and inspire forward movement on targets such as net-zero energy and water use and to limit sanitation outflow and emissions while protecting biodiversity.
The awards acknowledged best practice and innovation in sustainable architecture, with ambitions of promoting and increasing learning and understanding of sustainability within the built environment.
In the sustainable architecture category, 14 projects were shortlisted, including the African School for Excellence, in Brakpan, undertaken by Local Studio, which designed the school as a “megastructure” based on industrial warehouse typologies in the East Rand; Oudebosch Camp Kogelberg, in the Western Cape, by Architecture Coop; Johannesburg’s open, mixed–use neighbourhood, the Maboneng Precinct, by Daffonchio and Associate Architects; and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Business School, in Port Elizabeth, by the Workplace Architects with GAPP.
Strey Architects’ experimental personal home project, The Barn House, in Centurion, also made the list, along with the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) five-star Green Star SA-rated BMW headquarters, in Midrand, by Boogertman and Partners Architects and the Department of Environmental Affair’s green building in Pretoria, which achieved a six-star Green Star SA green office v1 design rating and was also undertaken by Boogertman.
Other contenders in this category were a client driven green research project, the Durban-based Gorgeous Green House, completed by Sagnelli Associate Architects; Robert JW Brusse Architect’s heritage restoration project of the Government House in Pietermaritzburg; the iCat Eco Factory, in Pretoria, done by Earthworld Architects; and orphanage LIV Village, in Cottonlands, KwaZulu-Natal, completed by Designworkshop:SA.
Finally, the new inner-city rooftop social infrastructure project, the Outreach Foundation Community Centre, also by Local Studio, in Johannesburg; the University of the Witwatersrand’s Rural Facility, based in a 350 ha environmentally protected and ecologically sensitive area of indigenous bush bordering the Kruger National Park and completed by Kate Otten Architects and Alive Architecture’s restorative project, the WWF building, in Braamfontein, which achieved the first six-star Green Star SA design rating on a brownfields site in South Africa, were all assessed and selected for the final round.
The sustainable social programme category saw three projects qualify, namely the community driven project BridgingMzamba, in Mbizana, Eastern Cape, which was undertaken by buildCollectiveNPO in collaboration with Carinthia University of Applied Science; Architecture for a Change’s Malawi School in Mchinji and the exhibitional building Ultimum Refugium, by Ntsika Architects.
The research publication, Designing Hope for Pathways to Regenerative Sustainability by Dominique Hes and Chrisna du Plessis, offering a comprehensive coverage of the scope and emphasis of regenerative sustainability, was the only selection in the Research in Sustainability category.
Four projects were qualified in the Sustainable product/technology division, including Otto Cottage, in Botswana, by local architect Paul Marais; single-unit living space design module POD Idladla by Collaborate000; community solar power plant and energy spaza shop Solar Turtle, by Ugesi Gold; and six-star Green Star SA-accredited building Vodafone Site Solution Innovation Centre by Grosskopff Lombard Huyberechts and Associates.