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Following a vigorous adjudication phase aimed at identifying outstanding South African architectural projects that reflect sustainable outcomes, 12 qualifying entries for the 2011/2012 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture have been announced.

The entries will be exhibited at the SAIA Architecture ZA 2012 Biennale, hosted by the Cape Institute for Architecture in September, in the run-up to the announcement of the awarded projects in October.

Entries for the 2011/2012 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture were submitted under two categories — one for built work that has been beneficially (for the purpose it was constructed) occupied from 15 March 2011 and the other for works of social importance, including research.

Three of the built work nominations are for cutting-edge sustainable commercial buildings — The Energy Works in Parktown North, Johannesburg; Pick ‘n Pay on Nicol in Sandton and the Nedbank Ridgeside Building in Umhlanga Rocks, KwaZulu-Natal.

Designed by DHK Architects, Ridgeside was awarded a 4-Star rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa, while The Energy Works, designed by Daffonchio & Associate Architects, has met the client’s requirement for a building that is independent of electrical and water utilities, through utilisation of on-site production, harvesting and efficiencies.  Pick ‘n Pay on Nicol, designed by Bentel Associates, uses daylight harvesting to make use of natural light with green building design and technologies such as building orientation, fenestration and louvres. Other eco-friendly features include water-wise planting, rainwater harvesting and grey water use.

Residential properties among the entries include a house in Lynnwood, Pretoria, by Arca Architects & Designers that anticipates change and future expansion through flexibility; a Lanseria property by Claude Bailey Architects & Designers featuring a backbone comprising a 50m long rammed earth wall; and a Melville house designed by Kate Otten Architects that wraps around a Dombeya tree.

Other entries are Lebone II College (Activate Architects, Afritects) in Phokeng, North West for 800 student that effectively “deinstitutionalises” learning through a transparent structure; Vele Secondary School (East Coast Architects) in Limpopo that features solar design and rainwater harvesting strategies; Elkanah House high school campus (Nic Border Architects) in Cape Town, that responds to the unique characteristics of the West Coast; and Safmarine Sports Centre (Tsai Design Studio) in Piketberg in the Western Cape, constructed from used transportation containers.

In the “works of social importance” category, Richard Dobson Architects focus on enhancing the livelihoods in cardboard recycling and eThekwini City Architects study housing typologies.

Commenting on the nominees, AfriSam’s CEO Stephan Olivier says: “This year’s entries have set a new benchmark for South African architecture, truly embodying the prevailing global trend towards sustainable architecture in a diversity of innovative ways.”

SAIA’s Fanuel Motsepe adds: “South African architects can hold their own in the international arena of sustainable construction. The entries received for the 2012 awards are not only exciting because of the innovation they reflect, but because they prove that local architecture has kept pace with developments in the international scene. In some cases I believe global trends have been set in motion.

The prestigious AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture was first introduced in 2009 to recognise and promote projects in the South African architectural arena that have effectively shifted paradigms with place making buildings that are ecologically sustainable and which also uplift the community. The awards reflect SAIA and AfriSam’s commitment to promoting architecture that meets the social, cultural, economic and environmental needs of the people it serves.

The adjudication panel 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.


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