The AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture, initiated in 2009, seeks to identify and honour outstanding South African architectural projects that reflect sustainable outcomes. This year, following a vigorous adjudication phase, 12 qualifying entries have been announced for the 2011/12 awards programme.
The entries will be exhibited at the South African Institute of Architects Architecture ZA 2012 Biennale, to be hosted by the Cape Institute for Architecture in September, in the run-up to the announcement of the award-winning projects in October.
Entries for the 2011/12 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture were submitted under two categories – one for built work that has been beneficially occupied since 15 March 2011 and the other for works of social importance, including research.
Three of the qualifying submissions in the category for built work nominations are for cutting-edge sustainable commercial buildings.
The Energy Works in Parktown North, Johannesburg, designed by Daffonchio & Associates Architects, met the client’s requirement for a building that is independent of electrical and water utilities, making use of solar technology to generate energy on-site, rainwater harvesting to serve the needs of bathrooms and garden, and abundant natural light. The building also features eco-friendly materials and fittings.
Pick ‘n Pay on Nicol in Sandton, designed by Bentel Associates, employs green building design and technologies such as building orientation, fenestration and louvres to maximise natural lighting and incorporates energy-efficient lighting and facilities for rainwater harvesting and grey water use alongside water-wise planting.
The Nedbank Ridgeside building in Umhlanga Rocks, KwaZulu-Natal, designed by DHK Architects, is a contemporary urban office park development providing some 40 000m² of total bulk across five triple A-grade office buildings and a business hotel. The buildings, ordered around a landscaped central avenue and creating a generous ‘pedestrian priority’ public realm, demonstrate how a development of this scale can contribute to reducing carbon emissions and other negative environmental impacts. Ridgeside was awarded a 4-Star rating under the Green Building Council of South Africa’s Green Star SA Office v1 rating tool.
A further three qualifying submissions are residential properties.
Ozmik House in Lynnwood, Pretoria, designed by Arca Architects & Designers, is conceived as a South African building accommodating Swiss and Norwegian agencies. It caters for immediate tenant needs and allows for anticipated change and expansion. The building is designed with a focus on users’ experience of it, to convey social ideals and to serve the public. Its simplicity presents an alternative building typology intended to inspire a new development approach in the surrounding area.
Kavuma House, designed by Claude Bailey Architects & Designers, is a private home at Monaghan Farm, a low-density environmentally and socially conscious development near Lanseria Airport north of Johannesburg. The house features a rammed earth wall, 50m long and 5m high, which forms the backbone of the building, and makes use of eco-friendly technologies, materials and fittings.
Lulu Kati Kati (a Swahili phrase for ‘pearl in the middle’) is a house in Melville, Johannesburg, designed by Kate Otten Architects. It is built on an impossibly tight, leftover strip of land. Through the design and construction processes, the architects sought to articulate an approach to urban interstitial spaces that explores their value and makes a case for the creative re-use of brownfield sites. The building is designed to wrap around a Dombeya tree. Each level has a different spatial quality and character and reflects and absorbs the landscape in a different way.
Other qualifying submissions include:
Lebone II College in Phokeng, North West, designed by Activate Architects and Afritects;
Vele Secondary School in Limpopo, designed by East Coast Architects; and
Elkanah House high school campus in Cape Town, designed by Nic Border Architects.
Each of these projects responds specifically to the needs of the communities they serve and to the unique characteristics of their respective environments.
The Safmarine Sports Centre in Piketberg in the Western Cape is Tsai Design Studio’s prototype sports centre, which answers to the shipping company’s brief to find a new use for old transport containers. It is a highly versatile facility – described by the architects as the architectural equivalent of a Swiss Army knife – designed with the intention of “touching the earth lightly” and adaptable to use at school sports fields or in community spaces in informal settlements.
In the category for works of social importance there are two qualifying projects, both initiatives of the City of Durban.
Enhancing livelihoods in cardboard recycling – Project 3, by Richard Dobson Architects, is part of a broader long-term plan adopted by the eThekwini Municipality for the City of Durban to inspire citizens and other city stakeholders to work together on agreed action areas to build a caring and liveable city. It aims to improve the livelihoods of informal cardboard recyclers and the management of the cardboard collection process within the public realm.
eThekwini City Architects’ Study of Housing Typologies was initiated to provide a practical research supplement to the municipality’s housing delivery plans. Considering that most of the more than two million subsidised houses built nationally since 1994 are low-density detached homes, and the increasing pressure on urban land resources, the study looks at location, forms and housing densities to provide for more compact and efficient neighbourhoods and seeks ways to optimise quality and sustainability in subsidy housing projects. A range of housing typologies were developed taking account of prevailing local conditions, including topography, climate, construction technologies, property usage, affordability and housing finance. The study serves as a public resource that various role-players, community representatives and built environment professionals can use to meet the urban housing challenge with greater authority, efficiency and understanding.
The adjudication panel this year is chaired by SAIA’s president, Fanuel Motsepe, and comprises academic Daniel Irurah; architects Rodney Choromanski and Eric Noir; businesswoman and national president of South African Women in Construction (SAWIC) Dr Thandi Ndlovu; and AfriSam’s Mike McDonald.
The AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture – as a biennial awards programme – reflects SAIA’s and AfriSam’s commitment to promoting architecture that meets the social, cultural, economic and environmental needs of the people it serves.