These awards are held annually to acknowledge and reward exceptional architectural talent in South Africa and this year’s entries include environmental and revitalisation projects. Here are the eight regional winners competing for the national title
The eight regional winners will go on to compete at the 29th Corobrik Student Architect of the Year Awards taking place in Johannesburg in May.
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth
Leon van der Westhuizen
Thesis title: RE-generating the Boet Erasmus Stadium in Port Elizabeth
By visualising the site as a filter for ecology, Leon’s project attempts to create an interlinked ecosystem between the neighbouring valleys. The old stadium thus becomes a micro-catchment area where wetlands, algae ponds and water lily treatment zones filter polluted and contaminated water to remove heavy metals.
Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria
Thesis title: The design of an institute for the documentation of fossil heritage in Nieu Bethesda, Karoo
Ulrich’s dissertation deals with the building of a palaeontological research and display centre to document fossils from the Nieu Bethesda area which will act as a catalyst for the establishing of a satellite campus. The purpose of this facility is to study prehistoric biodiversity and geology and to understand how and why mass extinctions occur.
University of Cape Town
Thesis title: Transurbance: A walk about the river
Matthew believes the cities in which we live are designed to be technically enhanced but consist of functionally isolated systems. The focus of his project is on a portion of Salt River, which runs through Paarden Eiland. The architecture attempts to merge landscape, building and infrastructure into one, creating a design that can rehabilitate the environment.
University of Johannesburg
Thesis title: The Plug-In Plantation – Reforestation and industrialisation of the Nasrec precinct through the implementation of a new timber mill industry
Jonker’s thesis explores how an important part of Johannesburg’s southern reef band, the Nasrec Precinct, can reduce direct and secondary impacts of soil erosion, heavy-metal toxins, and rampart water evaporation from increasingly frequent dust storms. The project envisioned how existing “thirsty’ Eucalyptus groves in the area can be replaced with more sustainable varieties of Conifer plantations.
University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban
Thesis title: Defining an architectural typology: Inner city green centres within South Africa
Najeeba proposes an environmental research facility in KwaZulu-Natal to address threatened natural resources. The design aims to educate and expose new attitudes towards key green assets such as the Umgeni River, while the environmental research facility will be used to search for solutions to improve the river water quality, protect and enhance eco-systems and harness untapped potential for river currents.
University of Pretoria
Gillian van der Klashorst
Thesis title: Urban observatory – Re-introducing observation and measurement to reveal the invisible city
The Johannesburg Observatory site, situated on the highest point of the Witwatersrand is unused as the night sky is obscured by the city’s artificial light and pollution. According to Gillian’s thesis the site is analysed with the aim of re-interpreting a weather station and astronomical observatory paying tribute to the historic value.
University of the Free State, Bloemfontein
Nilene van Niekerk
Thesis title: Freedom of Expression Forum
Nilene says the project developed by examining the Secrecy Bill, which led to an investigation into the intimidation of journalists. This influenced the idea of creating a Freedom of Expression Forum within the direct vicinity of Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg. The tower provides protection to journalists, becomes a pivotal point where classified information can be sent and archived, as well as establishing a public space that encourages communication.
University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Thesis title: YANTRA. Infrastructures of the sacred and profane
Located on the edge of the River Ganga in Varanasi, India, YANTRA proposes a water purification infrastructure for an ecological life force which has become hazardously polluted. Vedhant’s project responds to the biomedical requirements of the treatment infrastructure and designs it into the rich socio-cultural fabric of one of India’s most sacred cities.
Each of these winners will represent their institution at the national awards that will take place at The Hilton Hotel in Johannesburg on the 11 May 2016. Keep an eye on our diary pages for more information.