Eight awards of excellence, 12 awards of merit and two special commendations were bestowed on architects responsible for 24 projects ranging from residential units and public buildings to the restoration of heritage sites and an academic research project, at the 2013/14 Corobrik-South African Institute for Architects (Saia) Awards of Excellence and Merit gala dinner last week.
The award for excellence, the highest tribute, recognised exceptional contributions to the field of architecture, while the award of merit acknowledged good design or a significant architectural achievement.
The special commendations were received by projects which were deemed to have not quite met the set criteria, but had demonstrated certain qualities that were worthy of ongoing architectural debate.
Saia president Sindile Ngonyama said this year’s successful submissions talked not only to materiality, programmatic requirements, the employment of resources and the application of sociocultural debate, but also engaged and articulated the day-to-day intellectual and topical discourse of the ever-changing biophysical environment.
“It is heart-warming to note that the majority of the projects submitted by our members were of an exceptionally high standard,” he added.
Corobrik exports and marketing director Peter Kidger noted that South Africa presented architects with exciting challenges by virtue of its varying typography and climate, often limited budgets and an evolving multicultural society where public architecture was required to be engaging, transformative and inclusive.
“Architects are also faced with the significant design and specification considerations surrounding climate change, ensuring that we use nonrenewable resources more effectively and tread with greater circumspection on our planet,” he said, adding that each of the winning projects had successfully addressed these challenges.
“They have presented an architecture founded on sound programmes, in context, demonstrating resource efficiency that extends into the future and using materials that are innovative and appropriate,” Kidger said.