2015/2016 Afrisam Saia Award For Sustainable Architecture + Innovation Final Qualifying Entries

The prestigious bi-annual AfriSam-SAIA Awards for Sustainable Architecture recognise outstanding achievement in sustainable architecture as well as creating public awareness and debate on architectural issues. The final awards event will take place in October this year. Below are the final qualifying entries for CATEGORY A: SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE



The design of the school borrows from industrial warehouse typologies in the East Rand. With the notion of ‘school as megastructure’ in mind, a series of 6 U-shaped classroom clusters are arranged around a vast central hall space. Each of these clusters (termed ‘learning communities’) are designed around the school’s education model which rotates learners between spaces for instructional learning, peer-based learning, and self-study throughout a school day. The hall space is imagined as a large courtyard, with a lightweight sculptural roof, floating above the classroom buildings. An urban intervention for the entrance portico was designed to welcome the community and scholars into the building. The scale of the building allows the school to be seen from afar and acts as visually prominent structure in the community.

  1. BARN HOUSE – Strey Architects

2.	BARN HOUSE - Strey Architects

The Barn House is an experimental personal home project. The project’s creative, all-in-one father/architect/contractor plays with forms, materials, building methods, passive heating and cooling as well as sustainable (“green” and “eco”) concepts. Sustainability within the building incorporates elements which have a high initial cost in terms of energy use, financial implications and footprint-wise – but these also act to reduce the amount of energy used by the building in its lifetime, as well as impact the recycling of the building at the end of its use. In addition, these elements reduce the running and maintenance cost of the building and reduce the short and long-term effect on the earth’s available resources through reuse, upcycling and recycling – as well as increasing the comfort of the occupants of the building. The Barn House accommodates an impressive array of green technologies.

  1. BMW HEAD OFFICE BUILDING – Boogertman+Partners Architects

BMW HEAD OFFICE BUILDING - Boogertman+Partners Architects

The design of the building conceptually focuses on the regeneration of an iconic structure – maintaining the spirit of the original building while infusing the envelope with the life of a new entity which is simple in aesthetic intent and energy efficiency. Minimum intervention to the outer façade of this circular building retains its elegant, modern and dark brick appeal. The only addition is the lightweight mechanical horizontal louvres which are strategically installed to reduce the glare of the direct western sun and optimises the internal building envelope with the notion of transparency, further complementing the design of the adaptive interior spaces. Green principles were imperative to address the building’s thermal comfort and energy efficiency and so achieve a holistic solution to the working environment. The building’s lighting, ventilation and hot water generation systems were completely reinvented, with a satellite Energy Centre, with more suitable equipment for the generation of energy and backup of the three systems, as well as the installation of a photovoltaic system. The result of these energy efficiency technologies saw the building awarded with a 5 Green Star rating.

  1. DEA BUILDING – Boogertman+Partners Architects

DEA BUILDING - Boogertman+Partners Architects

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in the City of Tshwane, based on the importance of a structure which reflects the culture of the Department, the way it works. Its function and what it stands for in terms of purpose, beliefs and service to the country and the community. The project achieved a 6 star green office v1 design rating. The design responds to an environmentally sensitive and sustainable architecture that equally is respected by international dignitaries, visitors, and tourists but is, above all, a home for the DEA to be proud of and to remain memorable, beautiful and inspiring generations to come. The land parcel shape, orientation, and topography provided the opportunity to string a series of large effective office wings along a North – South central spine that enabled the building to centralise the support services along the spine and to keep the floor plates as open and as multifunctional as possible. The orientation of the wings allowed for green spaces between the wings as well as for enough sunlight into the wings. The building hosts an array of sustainable technologies from rainwater and greywater harvesting and recycling, to double glazed windows, evaporative cooling methods for air conditioning, photovoltaic cells, and solar hot water heating on the rooftop, east/west orientation as well as highly developed building envelope insulation design.

  1. GORGEOUS GREEN HOUSE – Sagnelli Associate Architects

GORGEOUS GREEN HOUSE - Sagnelli Associate Architects

A client driven green research project, the Gorgeous Green House encapsulates all green and eco gadgetry there is within the market has to offer. This project shows just how strong the client’s voice was with decision-making on a sustainable level. Special thought, consideration and research by the client allowed the design of the house to incorporate a range of sustainable features, from roof top gardens, green walls, evaporative cooling ponds, water harvesting, storage and recycling, and solar energy to name a few. The house also features different sustainable and environmentally friendly materials, from bamboo, recycled carpets and kitchen countertops and boasts an incredibly integrated eco-system of bee hives, kitchens, veggie garden and natural swimming pool with fish, all which attract over 40 species of birds, insects and wildlife to the property. Gorgeous Green House is the ‘poster-child’ for a sustainable green living.



A heritage restoration project of the Government House from 1845 for UNISA Pietermaritzburg. Restoration of this beautiful Edwardian styled house began several years ago with special detail and consideration taken into making sure that the original materials and aesthetics of the building were maintained and restored to their former glory. Specialised craftsmen from around the country gave their expertise in meticulously piecing back together this historic building. The building currently holds an administrative office with plans to extend primary uses to all other spaces within the building.

  1. ICAT ECO FACTORY – Earthworld Architects

ICAT ECO FACTORY - Earthworld Architects

Sustainable design begins long before the first foundation is cast, or brick is laid. It begins in the symbiosis between the visions of the client and the architect. This was the case for the iCat Eco Factory. The project was focused on housing both the administrative and the production functions of the company, merging corporate headquarters with warehouse space and allowing for an environmentally sustainable structure. This served to further minimise travel distance, as well as prevent the duplication of costs, buildings, footprints, staff and other assets created through running multiple buildings simultaneously. The design was greatly influenced by seasonal changes in lighting and climate, meaning every facade of the building responded accordingly. An equilibrium was struck between natural and artificial light, through minimising the latter. The site lent itself well to this approach, allowing the massing of the warehouse to shade the offices from the direct western sun, a southern courtyard to serve as a social activation space, and the northern facade to allow for lighting into the offices and warehouse, as well as heating during winter months. From the roof, much of the building’s water and energy requirements are provided for through rainwater and solar energy harvesting, in the form of a PV Panel Array, along with a 40 000ℓ water harvesting tank buried below the courtyard. These systems were implemented to make a difference ecologically and economically.

  1. LIV VILLAGE – Designworkshop: sa

LIV VILLAGE - Designworkshop: sa

“There are over 5 million orphaned and vulnerable children in South Africa, mostly due to HIV/AIDS and poverty, with 12 000 added every month”. LIV Village exits to raise the next generation of leaders in South Africa. The village places orphaned and vulnerable children into a family environment with a trained foster mother to provide them with love as well as ensuring their education and physical needs are met. Liv Village accommodates a community clinic, open-air hall, educational facilities as well as accommodation with nurturing foster mothers who are the backbone to the discipline and caring of each child. Located in-between the surrounding local community, Liv Village provides production and training facilities which extend the integration into the local economic and social networks to provide skills and employment which aim to provide increasingly independent economic sustainability for the Village.

  1. MABONENG PRECINCT – Daffonchio & Associate Architects

MABONENG PRECINCT - Daffonchio & Associate Architects

The Maboneng Precinct (meaning “place of light” in Sotho) is an open, mixed–use neighbourhood – and a unique case of vast urban regeneration produced by one Developer and one Architect. This historic district in Johannesburg is a complex of developments that collectively underpin the city centre’s exciting regeneration resulting from both global inspiration and local innovation. These include studios, art galleries and a range of shops, restaurants and coffee bars that are fuelling an inner-city lifestyle, with entrepreneurship and creativity at its core. The broad spectrum of different sized spaces attempts to create a precinct that is inclusionary whilst maximising the financial viability of the development as a whole.

  1. NEW BUSINESS SCHOOL FOR NMMU – The Workplace Architects with GAPP

NEW BUSINESS SCHOOL FOR NMMU – The Workplace Architects with GAPP

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) Business School, with the severity exterior, uses a minimalist simple brick while the interior and courtyard are spatially more diverse, with a variety of volumes with a multitude of light sources. The finishing of the building also reflects this design intention – the exterior is of a single face brick with flush jointed, tinted mortar to match the brick, where the interior is more varied with a range of lighter neutral colours and textures.

  1. OUDEBOSCH CAMP KOGELBERG – Architecture Coop


Kogelberg is tucked away in the mountains above Betty’s Bay, within a protected wilderness area in the Kogelberg Biosphere, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This breathtaking biodiversity hotspot is of extremely high conservation value and is known as the “Heart of the Fynbos”. A rugged and ancient landscape, it is a wilderness of jagged, folded mountain peaks which cradle streams, rivers, seeps, and wetlands that criss-cross the faulted landscape creating myriad habitats for the 1650 fynbos species. In creating the camp, a careful path to crafting a sustainable, environmentally responsive and low impact strategy for settlement evolved. Nurtured by a think tank, the multi-disciplinary team mined and mapped, unravelled, uncovered and unpicked the secrets of the site ecology. Thus begun ‘hands on’ iterative journey to build a vision and grow the buildings from the seeds of understanding the site. The buildings are modestly scaled, lightweight, stilted, basket-like, with roofs planted, and set on banded stone bases. These simple structured shelters reflect the natural qualities of the landscape. Hovering decks, terraced ground, large slide away openings allow spaces to grasp and touch the mountainscape lightly. The palette of natural, local, renewable, low embodied energy, non-toxic materials and components develops the low impact sustainable qualities of the project. Low tech simple passive design principles underpin crafting of the building envelope which is shaped for the shifting seasons. Open structures breath crisp mountain air and bask in natural light.



The Outreach Foundation Community Centre is one of the first new inner-city social infrastructure projects to be built in Hillbrow since the 1970s. The building site is situated on the rooftop of the unfinished community hall of what was the 1970s German Consulate. The building houses three primary functions: a computer centre, dance studio, offices and meeting areas. These functions are collected within an angular volume draped over the two levels of the site. The simple form of the community centre is entirely governed by the programmes that are housed, the choice of white ‘Chromadek’ corrugated steel and clear corrugated polycarbonate as cladding materials abstract the buildings image and clearly establish the building as a new addition to this part of the city. The building is elevated almost two stories above the street level which create strategies around public placemaking.

  1. WITS RURAL FACILITY – Kate Otten Architects

WITS RURAL FACILITY - Kate Otten Architects

The Wits Rural Campus is a 350 hectare environmentally protected and ecologically sensitive area of indigenous bush bordering the Kruger National Park. Originally used for botanical and animal research, it has now developed into a satellite campus for the university to use as a base for rural research and training programmes, acting as a worldclass rural knowledge hub. The rural facility is nestled in between the existing vegetation of the landscape, maximising the use of the site. The buildings, with their different uses, are linked together by a network of covered walkways to create visual corridors that sporadically open to various courtyards within the bushveld.

  1. WWF SA BRAAMFONTEIN – Alive Architecture

WWF SA BRAAMFONTEIN - Alive Architecture

The WWF building in Braamfontein, the first 6-Star GBCSA Design Rating on a brownfields site in South Africa, was a restorative project in a heritage building that dated back to 1905. The primary focus of the design of the building was centered on the maximisation of the site parameters whilst recycling most of the existing materials within the site and showcasing the raw aspects of the original building by leaving certain walls unfinished in the original brickwork. The building, which enforces the WWF sustainable ethos, has a serious implementation of green technologies – features of the building include a wastewater treatment plant, water harvesting, natural ventilation to all offices areas with additional forced air changes (no air-conditioning is done), double glazed fenestration, automated blinds and LED lighting linked to a building management system, solar geyser for the shower and kitchen areas, reclaimed/re-used materials for building and furniture items, the inclusion of bicycle racks, the exposure of base materials to allow for building thermal activation and the use of recycled materials for the construction of the concrete slabs within the building.

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