One hundred and eighty architects and built environment professionals gathered in Pretoria on Friday 4 May 2018 for the prestigious Corobrik SAIA Institute of Architects (SAIA) Awards evening. Through this event, top architectural projects of recent times were recognised.
“The Corobrik SAIA Awards programme is run nationally every two years and this year, as president of SAIA and convenor of the awards programme, I had the privilege of being part of this prestigious awards programme,” said Maryke Cronje. “SAIA’s mission is to pursue excellence and responsible design. It is also to uphold the dignity of the Architectural profession and contribute meaningfully to the enhancement of society and the environment. These awards ratify SAIA’s mission by recognising and promoting excellence in architecture.
“We are delighted to have received a more varied cross-section of projects than in previous years. This is also a tribute the impressively high standard of entries at regional level.”
“In travelling to the sites of all short-listed entries we have seen that sustainability and care for the environment has been prominent with architects emphasising the nurturing of the environment. There is a great use of natural and sustainable materials as well as consideration for the landscape.
“While some materials used are imported, local tradespeople were used so that when a project was complete the tradesmen walked off the site with a set of skills that could be applied elsewhere. This is good for our country,” said Cronje.
Bryan Wallis, acting CEO of SAIA, said “The standard of projects submitted seems to improve exponentially at each of the national awards, and this year is no exception with the quality higher than ever before. We are delighted that the members of SAIA are constantly advancing in technicality and design and this year’s entries can be benchmarked against global standards.
“Awarded projects are manifestations of how architects successfully interpret their clients’ aspirations in the buildings produced.”
Sixty-one regional winners were entered the National Awards. Each region submits their winning projects to go through to the national Corobrik SAIA Awards. The judges assessed all 61 entries and prepared a shortlist. These shortlisted projects were visited, and winners selected.
Five projects received Commendations. These projects met many of the criteria area worthy of further discussion and debate A further twenty-four were presented with awards of merit. Six projects received Awards for Excellence, the highest distinction that SAIA can confer on a project in South Africa.
The six recipients of the Awards for Excellence are:
· New Residence, 151 Main Road, Constantia designed by Malan Vorster Architecture;
· The Delville Wood Memorial submitted by The Creative Axis Architects in association with Mayat Hart Architects;
· The Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre by Lewis Levin Architects
· Sasol Place entered by Paragon Architects;
· The Lake House designed by KOOP Design;
· NZASM Footsteps along the tracks written by Nicholas J Clarke and Roger C Fisher.
A panel of eminent personalities representing the architectural field made up the adjudication panel. Convened by Maryke Cronje, SAIA President, it comprised Professor Paul Kotze, academic; Musa Shangase, Sponsor Representative; Sumien Brink, eminent layperson and Luyanda Mpahlwa, eminent architect.
Musa Shangase, Corobrik Commercial Director, sponsor of the awards said, “We have had a longstanding relationship with SAIA and architects around the country and it is our pleasure to sponsor the awards that pay tribute to members of SAIA to showcase the architectural profession. We are proud to pay tribute to the architects whose work has been recognised, for their quality, distinction and splendour.”
Wallis thanked Corobrik for their support. The company has sponsored the prestigious awards since their inception.
“These awards offer the opportunity to recognise South Africa’s foremost architects. The architectural profession has reason to celebrate when we see designs of the calibre of the entries we have received this year – many of which are world class,” he said.
Cronje concluded, “The awards adjudication process is an immense responsibility. This the adjudicators took to heart and made sure that transparency and consistency was adhered to during the process.
“The adjudication panel has viewed some exceptional projects of various scales and complexities. A client that is passionate about his project/brief and who values the role of the architect was a common denominator throughout the projects, which was an immense contribution to the success of these project.
“The adjudicators acknowledge that despite the current economic state of our industry in South Africa, architecture of a high standard is still produced in our country.
“In looking forward, the adjudicators trust that more projects of a social and developmental nature will be submitted in future,” concluded Cronje.
CITATIONS of the SAIA Awards of Excellence
New Residence at 151 Main Road, Constantia, Cape Town
Malan Foster, Architects, Cape Town.
Award for Excellence
There is a longstanding tradition in the architectural profession that when, architects and their clients, work in the context of the purity and beauty of nature, they strive to attain an equal level of perfection. This ‘treehouse’ by Malan Foster Architects, is not indulgent but highly restrained. The architects have taken their cues from some of the master architects who have, throughout time and space, created some of the most iconic and respected structures of this genre.
This project was painstakingly created over a relatively long time on the site itself. Its structure and materials are experienced as fragile and ‘temporary’, while its relationship to place and its immediate context could be perceived as its only sense of permanence. Thus, Treehouse Paarman makes a critically important contribution to the local and international architectural traditions and precedent.
The Delville Wood Memorial
Creative Axis, Architects, Johannesburg.
Mayat Hart Architects, Johannesburg.
Award for Excellence
To evoke the memory of an event by means of architecture is difficult. Architects and their clients have been confronted with this problem through the ages, and recently, the epic Delville Wood battle of the First World War (WW1) was memorialized. This building commemorates the South Africans who lost their lives in the First World War, particularly the members of the South African Native Labour Corps, who had received no official recognition. Although this project’s architects are young, they were able to deliver a commentary on how history, power and memory were previously expressed.
Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Foundation and the City of Johannesburg
Lewis Levin, Architect, Johannesburg.
Award for Excellence
The world is sadly constantly confronted with the most barbaric acts of human violence and oppression. The reaction always seems to be the same when the collective voice goes up with the words; Never Again! Never Again! Yet mankind never seems to learn. The architect was encouraged to design a building to heighten awareness of this reality; a dauting task.
Visitors’ experience of the building is direct and uncomplicated. Unlike so many of the other Holocaust Memorials, the architect here does not ‘force’ the message or an emotional response onto the viewer. The building, its exhibits and the placing in its physical context does not impose itself on anybody. It is simply there, and it tells its story to those who are inquisitive enough to want to hear it.
Paragon Architects, Johannesburg.
Award of Excellence
To understand something of the nature and magnitude of a building like SASOL Place, it is important to look briefly at the history of the company as well as the historical development of the urban context where the building has been placed. Before this building was constructed, the company operated from 14 different buildings, situated mainly in Rosebank in Johannesburg. Furthermore, the building needed to be energy efficient, be able to accommodate around 7 500 staff and, above all, to create a physical symbol for the ‘home’ of SASOL as company.
In the SASOL Place Building there is a thoughtful and careful expression of form and function in a relatively uncontrolled urban context that portrays a deep and sensible knowledge and professionalism. It might just be that the multi-national conglomerate, SASOL, has finally found itself a ‘home’ from where it could now approach the future.
If anything expresses South African intellectual and corporate ingenuity on the world stage it might also just be this building as the new symbol for SASOL.
The Lake House
Koop Design, Richard Stretton Region: KwaZulu-Natal Institute for Architects
Award for Excellence
Buildings like The Lake House require dedication and attention to detail. This building is set in the idyllic and undulating hills of the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal, next to a small lake. The plan and section of the building is generous and deceptively simple and direct. The hands of the various levels of craftspeople who made the building are clearly visible and so is the pride in their handiwork. The Lake House is masterful in its relaxed simplicity. A simplicity that only the highly talented and dedicated can achieve.
NZASM Footsteps along the tracks
Nicholas J Clark & Roger Fischer assisted by Siphiwe Simelane, University of Pretoria.
Award for Excellence.
This research deals with, essentially, the rail infrastructure built by the Nederlandsche Zuid-Afrikaanse Spoorweg-Maatschappij in the former Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek over a period of thirteen years. This work was undertaken with the material support from the Dutch Government and by staff and students from the Department of Architecture of the University of Pretoria. It follows on from their important and respected publication called; Eclectic Wilhelmiens. Collectively these two publications form an intellectual unity that have created a trusted source of knowledge that did not exist before in this form.
What is also noteworthy regarding this excellent research project is how much we can all learn from it to understand our current infrastructural position and that which might come in future.