AfriSam-SAIA Sustainable Design Award shortlist announced

The sixth AfriSam-SAIA Sustainable Design Award has announced its shortlisted entries for 2019/2020. These submissions showcase the best in African architectural and design innovation, specifically focused on addressing local and global sustainability challenges. Awarded and commended projects will be announced virtually on Thursday 10 June at 16:30.

Director DesignSpaceAfrica and Immediate Past President SAIA, Dr Luyanda Mpahlwa

Established in 2009, entries are submitted in four categories, namely Category A: Sustainable New Building or the Conservation and Restoration of an Existing One; Category B: Practice-based Action and Research Work in the Field of Sustainability and the Built Environment; Category C: Sustainable Product or Technology; and Category D: Sustainable Social Programmes, with Category A receiving the highest number of entries.

Director DesignSpaceAfrica and Immediate Past President SAIA, Dr Luyanda Mpahlwa, says the 2019/2020 award attracted a record number of entries. “While I participated in this round of the AfriSam-SAIA Sustainable Design Award as an adjudicator and convenor for the first time, I have followed the event over the years and observed how the quality has improved and the number of entries has increased every year.

“What makes the competition so exciting are the different categories, which ensure richness and variety of entries. While the awards have an ‘architecture and building bias’, there are increasingly more submissions that demonstrate social impact, especially community-based projects, which brings a refreshing dynamic to sustainability being beyond buildings,” he adds.

Mpahlwa says in Category A, high quality, high-end buildings in urban centres were submitted alongside highly sensitive remote-lying projects representing various scales, but with a common theme of articulating ‘sustainable building methods and systems’ within the context of the award’s criteria. “Judging the qualifying projects in this context becomes complex, but exciting, for the panel.”

While there were not many entries in the Practice-based Action & Research category, mostly due to the long-term nature of the projects, Category C – Sustainable Product or Technology – seems to be attracting more projects every year as people and institutions experiment with various products and solutions that fit the sustainability criteria.

“The challenge with this category is that the projects can be vastly different, from solar panels and sustainable ablution systems, to jerseys. The task of the panel is to establish what makes the projects qualify in terms of the sustainability criteria and what sets one project apart from the others,” explains Mpahlwa.

He says the final category – Sustainable Social Programmes – demonstrated innovative initiatives by individuals and communities who are pushing the boundaries of sustainable thinking, both in terms of tangible projects and entrepreneurial initiatives, responding to the day-to-day challenges of communities and people as they hustle their way through the informal economy to improve their lives and livelihoods. In this category the ‘criteria of leadership’, which recognises the championing role by individuals or entities taking a lead on sustainability, becomes quite important.

“All in all, this was a successful and inspiring round of awards in terms of quality, variety and innovation. I do believe the award can benefit from another layer of public profiling so that the award objectives are not only limited to awarding great projects, but ultimately, to changing the mindset of society towards sustainable and innovative thinking and thereby promoting new ways of thinking in all the sectors.

“Importantly, more work needs to be done to encourage broader industry, the economy and universities to produce designers, researchers and practitioners who have a higher sensibility towards sustainability and innovation,” adds Mpahlwa.

Eben Keun, General Manager for AfriSam-SAIA Sustainable Design Award since inception in 2009, says, “We are delighted with the high number, and quality, of entries submitted for the 2019/2020 award. This is a notable achievement, given the world was turned upside down by COVID-19 last year and we had to extend the entry deadline by about four months. We are looking forward to announcing the awarded and commended projects on 10 June, and celebrating the positive impact sustainable design can have on our planet and our most in-need communities in particular.”

Richard Tomes, AfriSam Sales and Marketing Executive, notes that: “As a significant player in construction and infrastructure development, AfriSam is committed to boosting awareness around sustainability and its growing importance for the industry and broader society. We are inspired by the number of architects, engineers and innovators who are committed to sustainability, and hope to see these numbers continue to grow in coming years.”

The adjudicator panel for the 2019/2020 award was made up of industry heavyweights and professionals, including Dr Luyanda Mpahlwa, Immediate Past President SAIA, professional architect, and adjudication panel convener; Somers Govender, practising professional architect; Dr Gillian Adendorff, practising senior professional architect; Nkosinathi Manzana, past Non-Executive Director Green Building Council South Africa and Executive Head of Group Real Estate Services: Commercial Buildings for the Standard Bank Group; Dr Philippa Tumubweinee, practising professional architect, academic and expert in sustainable architecture; and Sphephelo Mhlongo, a previous winner and professional architect currently working for the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Public Works.

Successful submissions in the 2019/2020 AfriSam-SAIA Sustainable Award include:

Category A: Sustainable New Building or the Conservation and Restoration of an Existing One

  • Additions to the Vredenburg Provincial Hospital (Wolff Architects)
  • Bridges for Music Academy (Tsai Design Studio)
  • Botha’s Halte Primary School (Meyer and Associates Architect, Urban Designers)
  • Arklow Villa III (Douglas & Company Architects)
  • African Leadership Academy, New Fred Pardee Learning Commons (MMA Design Studio)
  • Future Africa Campus (Earthworld Architects)
  • JCAF Art Gallery (StudioMAS Architects)
  • Limpopo Youth Hostel (Local Studio)
  • House of the Big Arch (Frankie Pappas International)
  • Skukuza Science Leadership Initiative (Nicholas Whitcutt Architects, Kevin Mitchell Architects)
  • New Thanda School Facilities (Earth:Switch Architects)
  • Thanda Early Childhood Development Centre (AOJ (Architects Of Justice))
  • Witklipfontein Eco Lodge (Grosskopff Lombart Huyberechts and Associates Architects)
  • Hillside Clinic, Beaufort West (Gabriel Fagan Architects)

Category B: Practice-based Action and Research Work in the Field of Sustainability and the Built Environment

  • iQhaza Lethu: Development of Alternative Dwelling Unit Typologies to be used in High-Density Informal Settlements (DesigncoLab)
  • Towards applying a green infrastructure approach in the Gauteng City-Region (Gauteng City-Region Observatory)

Category C: Sustainable Product or Technology

  • The Farmhouse, Nchenje Cottages (Simply Sustainable Consulting)
  • PVT 1680 (Modular Heat Sink for Solar Panel) (Energy-Shift)
  • The Mama Jersey (The Seen Collective)
  • BOXA Possibilities (BOXA Possibilities)
  • Green Build Africa (Johan Odendaal)

Category D: Sustainable Social Programmes

  • Owl House, Nieu-Bethesda: Crafters Empowerment Programme (Leaf Architects)
  • Bio-efficient Cookstove (Richard Dobson Architects)
  • Pop-up Micro Childcare Facility (Richard Dobson Architects)
  • The Retrade Project: Live Responsibly, while helping those in need (The Retrade Project)
  • Access to affordable housing / Hustlenomics (Hustlenomics PTY LTD)
  • Localworks_Gahinga Batwa Village, Uganda (Localworks)
  • Women in STEM: A science and leadership initiative of the Nsasani Trust (Nsasani Trust)
  • Container Computer Classroom (East Coast Architects)

For more information on the successful submissions, visit https://www.sustainabledesign.co.za/2019-2020-awards/

The 2019/2020 winners and commended projects in each category will be announced virtually via live stream on 10 June 2021 at 16:30. Join the Facebook event at https://fb.me/e/Shs8UoIS for more details and updates.



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