Koop Design’s Dalton Compound on the 3 000ha Dalton Private Reserve in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands was recently announced the winner of the AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture.
The awards ceremony also formed part of AZA 2010 and was held at Turbine Hall in Newtown, Johannesburg. AZA 2010, described as South Africa’s first architecture mega-event, brought together leading-edge thinkers and multidisciplinary practitioners from around the globe to discuss architecture and debate the role of architects in city building into the future.
The South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) partnered with AfriSam (South Africa) for this first AfriSam-SAIA awards programme. The programme is to be a biennial event and is aimed at recognising outstanding achievement in sustainable architecture.
Al Stratford, immediate past president of SAIA, says, “The future for architects will be defined by accelerating urbanisation and climate change - precipitating economic and cultural adjustment and demanding an integrated, sustainable design and practice response.”
He says that for AfriSam and the SAIA together, the intention of the awards programme is to highlight that buildings contribute substantially, through material and energy consumption, to the global carbon footprint, during their construction and throughout their lifespan.
The construction industry, of which we are a part, is the second largest contributor to global warming on the planet. Consequently, architects are perfectly placed to be part of the solution.
In this inaugural round, there were two categories: for built work and for research or works of social importance. Projects from January 2000 to February 2009 were eligible for submission, providing for the requirement that built works should have been occupied for at least a year.
The adjudication criteria were vigorously workshopped by the judging panel ahead of the launch of the awards programme and rested on four core factors: the projects were required to demonstrate a contribution to paradigm shifting, people upliftment, planet rejuvenation and placemaking.
The adjudication panel comprised: Al Stratford, as convenor of the panel; Andy Horn, architect and consultant; Daniel Irurah, architect and academic; Gerrit Jordaan, architect, urban designer and environmental planner; Dr Mongane Wally Serote, writer; Vincent Blackbeard, technical expert; and Mike McDonald, technical expert and head of the Product Technical Department at AfriSam South Africa.
Because of the diverse nature of the award entries as well as the complexity of the issues around sustainable development, it was agreed by the panel to identify projects that have successfully addressed a specific component of sustainable design in an exemplary way. All the projects that received commendations are seen to contribute to the advancement of sustainable development.
The winning project, the Dalton Compound for the Dalton Trust, by Koop Design, is the operational centre of the Dalton Reserve. The development was focused on previously inhabited areas of the farm, minimising infrastructural expansion and environmental degradation.
The buildings are flexible to various utilitarian needs yet offer exclusivity to guests staying at the compound’s luxury accommodation. The project included the removal of alien vegetation, recycling it for use, and the reintroduction of indigenous vegetation. A vegetable garden was created for staff, as well as a nursery, an orchard and animal pens.
An experimental design process was adopted in developing the structural system for the buildings, to make use of locally available materials and skills that could be readily learnt by the local villagers who were trained and employed during the construction of the compound.
In the Hillbrow community along Pietersen Street, the eKhaya Project took decayed, mismanaged buildings and recycled them to create healthy, economically and socially sustainable ones. eKhaya was the first of its kind to envisage forming a residential neighbourhood community. It developed through discussions concerning common interests between property owners and the community and it now covers 16 city blocks.
The goal was to double the overall size of the Lifestyle Centre’s Garden Centre without utilising any additional power. The team utilised solar shading devices, natural light and ventilation, solar powered heating, evaporative coolers, alternate chilled water production systems, rain water harvesting and grey water recycling. They describe it as a true journey of discovery into the world of sustainability.
The Lynedoch Community Centre - ARG Design
An educational facility that is an ecovillage was conceived for the relocation of the Spier Wine Estate farm workers school in the Western Cape. The team recycled materials and also a building- a school was reworked from an existing farm shed. The site has food gardens, recycles water, generates wind and solar energy and contains a constructed wetland, restoring indigenous landscape features.
New Residence, Bishopscourt - Metropolis
In Bishopscourt, Cape Town, on a site entirely surrounded by trees, this family residence combines the concerns of contemporary and of sustainable architecture into a building which is firmly modernist but is integrated with its natural surroundings. The formal composition of the house is drawn from the image of a group of tree canopies and tree-houses floating over the ground plane, as an evocation of the forest on the site.