The AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation programme

Entries Close: 28 March 2018

All submissions should be finalised and submitted by end of day 28 March 2018. The panel of adjudicators, convened by the SAIA President, will meet the week of 13 April 2018 to select the projects it wishes to inspect from the submitted entries. The panel has the right to disqualify an entry after the loco inspection and/or evaluation.

They will adjudicate all entries and recommend to SAIA which projects should be awarded the AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation.

Maryke Cronje

As the convenor of the 2017/18 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation, Maryke Cronje provides a wealth of technical experience drawn from over 28 years as a professional architectural practice to the adjudication panel.

The 2018 President of the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA), the voluntary association which promotes excellence in architecture and seeks to contribute to the enhancement of society and the environment, her list of achievements includes the 2011 MASCOM Award for Best Building in Botswana over five years and the SAPOA Best Small Stand Award in conjunction with White Space in the same year.

Her impressive body of work includes the MTN Remote Hub Roll-Out (2008-2012), the Plascon National Product Development Centre Laboratory (2013), the upgrade of the SARB HO Energy Centre (2016) as well as the BIH-GIDC Data Centre for the Botswana Government (2016) – projects which reflect her considerable experience in the design and implementation of Data and Switching.

According to Cronje, “to create sustainable communities, is to create livable communities”.

It is that philosophy, informed by the belief that the principle of livable communities places the focus on the quality of life and living, which will guide her in judging the award.

“As an adjudicator, I look forward to projects which will acknowledge sustainability at a technical level due to my expertise and passion for energy efficient buildings at a systematic and functional level,” she said.

Cronje believes that its recognition of the contributions that bring sustainable innovation to human living environments through an integrated approach is was makes the AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation distinctive.

“The award recognises the importance of ‘green’ building in a palpable way while enabling us to highlight and commend excellence shaping our communities for livable sustainability.”

Richard Stretton

Multi-award winning architect Richard Stretton is no stranger to the AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation - both for two awarded projects and as a previous adjudicator.

In 2010, Koop, the innovative architectural and product design business which he founded, was responsible for the urban planning and architecture for the Dalton Private Reserve in the Kwazulu-Natal Midlands, the first recipient of the AfriSam-SAIA Award. In 2014 Koop’s Vukuzakhe, a research project for the eThekwini Municipal Architecture department which developed system/s for the delivery of an alternative building typology, was awarded the in the research category.

The Kwazulu-Natal design company is also a recipient of the KZN Institute of Architects Awards of Merit for its work on the Addington beach front node (2011) and Moyo on the Pier (2011), while the Hopewell Visitors Centre in Port Elizabeth was awarded the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) Architecture Award of Merit in 2013.

These awards reflect not only the multi-disciplinary practice’s strong design and high degree of structure and spatial resolution, but its careful consideration of local human and material resources, capacities and the opportunity for skills development and community co-operation in the building process.

“We use the opportunity of building projects to develop skills, products and systems for building. Successful projects have taken the opportunity to understand local skills and techniques, incorporating these into the buildings we create,” explains Stretton.

As an adjudicator, Stretton will be honing in on the design, fabrication, delivery, execution and occupation (both in terms of use and management) of project entries in considering the human, economic and environmental experience.

“We cannot continue to cover the planet with meaningless structures that are not built for the accommodation of people or the function of life and work,” he believes.

According to Stretton, what sets the AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation apart is that it goes beyond simply considering if a building or a project is “clever or beautiful”.

“It recognizes decision making that considers the future: Human impact, societal healing, environmental recovery and the economic liberation of all individuals involved throughout the entire life of the building or project are as important as the aesthetic resolution, structural economy, technological resolution and space planning,” he said.

Emmanuel Nkambule

Leading architecture academic Emmanuel Nkambule lends his exhaustive expertise in the fields of design-based research and socio-economic growth through architecture to the adjudication panel for the 2017/18 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation.

A senior lecturer in the Department of Architecture at the University of Pretoria, Nkambule completed his Master of Architecture (Professional) with distinction in 2008 and holds a doctorate in Architecture from the university, which he obtained in 2016.

Nkambule has been recognized both locally and internationally for his focus on the use of visual research in investigating, visualizing, developing, representing and realising interventions (built environments) to provide pragmatic socio-spatial and systematic solutions which are sustainable and scalable, as well as for his research in how income generation can address poor socio-economic conditions in Africa. Adding to his international accolades, Emmanuel was an adjudicator for the European Union and Swaziland’s Ministry of Economic Planning’s high school and higher vocational school project in 2010.

In 2014 he presented a paper on home-based businesses in townships in South Africa at a leading conference in Glasgow, Ireland. Meanwhile, his work has been published in the Journal of the South African Institute of Architects and the South African Journal of Art History, and he is a reviewer for the Geoforum Journal.

Nkambule believes that the concept of Ubuntu underpins the needs for communities to be shaped for livable sustainability.

“My ancestors, through generational transmission, instilled in me the values that promote the creation of a better world. I understand sustainability as an outcome of human interventions, not matter how small, that enable multiplication, reproduction and propagation of natural systems as a consequence of technologies that are synergetic with natural environments.”

The lecturer believes the AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation’s focus on sustainable and ground-breaking architectural practice in South Africa sets it apart.

Meanwhile, he sees his role on the adjudicator panel as one of measuring the activities enabled by designed or crafted places and how these spaces spur entrepreneurship in their communities.

“I will also be evaluating the embodied meaning (social and cultural), resource multiplication and new knowledge production of the selected creative outputs (buildings)

Dr Sechaba Maape

A lecturer at the Wits School of Architecture and Planning, Dr Sechaba Maape introduces an authoritative voice on issues of sustainability in architecture, particularly relating to indigenous knowledge, placemaking and deep history, to the adjudication panel for the 2017/18 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation.

He holds a PhD in Architecture (sustainability) as well as a Masters in Architecture (Professional) from Wits while in his professional capacity he has consulted to various government departments regarding sustainable architecture policies, including the new Department of Public Works Green Building Policy, as well as the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficient Strategy for Public Buildings.

According to Dr Maape, it is crucial to shape our communities for liveable sustainability because “sustainability is about our species being able to live in a manner that allows them and future generations to thrive and experience the best of what it means to be alive.”

“For me sustainability is a way of establishing a life that draws us closer to something deeper and more meaningful, something spiritual that re-connects us with a sense of wholeness and a deep existential security, where we don’t feel lost or threatened in life but feel secure and healthy. It’s not just about fancy buildings and fancy building technology, it’s about a utopian ideal, bringing heaven to earth and making our lives a little more special,” he says.

Certainly, his body of work are testament to these beliefs, like Pallet House (made from recycled materials and located in a small township called Mothibistad in his home town of Kuruman) and the soon to be completed Tyre House, which is built with recycled tyres and locally sourced materials and which will house an African Eco spa.

The programme developer and facilitator for the GIZ/ Global Change and Sustainability Research Institute’s (GCSRI) Leadership in Energy Transitions programme, he believes the AfriSam-SAIA Award reflects a search for a paradigm shift in the manner in which sustainability needs to be seen.

“I have come to realize that sustainability is not just about technology, it is about a whole new way of life, a new way of relating to one’s self, other people and the environment,” he said.

Philippa Tumubweinee

Philippa Tumubweinee describes herself as an “engaged scholar” committed to using her expertise to make a difference.

The adjudicator for the 2017/18 AfriSam SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation is both an established academic and social science researcher in the field of education, as well as a practicing architect.

“Building on my disciplinary backgrounds in Architecture and in Higher Education Studies, my research focus is the intersection of education, transformation and space, and space-related concerns in higher education<’ she explains.

Tumubweinee holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Higher Education Studies from the University of Free State while she obtained her Masters in Architecture at the University of Pretoria.

In 2008 together with Denver Hendricks she co-founded IZUBA INafrica Architects and has designed and project managed projects with various levels of complexity, including the new Physics building of the University of the Free State and E-Squared House – an experimental project in sustainable building systems commissioned by Johannesburg City Power.

Twice a committee member of the biennial festival ArchitectureZA, she has also been an academic juror on the AfriSam Sustainability Merit Awards since 2013.

Asked why it is important to shape communities for livable sustainability, she refers to French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s book, “In Other Words: essays in Reflexive Sociology” in which the French sociologist “suggests that influence of education, particularly around sustainability and innovation in the building industry, in society, can result in positively valued economic and symbolic capital.”

She believes that what is particularly important about AfriSam SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation is that it focuses not only on sustainable architecture but also “on those practices, research endeavors and social systems which contribute to human development, engagement and behavior in society.”

Niraksha Singh

2017/18 Award adjudicator Niraksha Singh believes that the manner in which the AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainability + Innovation promotes and motivates developers to incorporate sufficient service provisions for the communities in which they operate is what sets it apart.

Singh is the Raw Materials and Sustainability manager for AfriSam, a leading supplier of superior quality construction materials and technical solutions which is committed to producing environmentally-friendly products with the lowest carbon footprint possible.

AN MBA graduate, she holds a B.Sc. Honours degree in Geologist and Applied Geology from the University of Kwazulu-Natal.

She first honed her expertise in the mining industry where she was responsible for ensuring sustainable and responsible mining to provide sustenance for communities throughout the mining cycle.

Singh joined AfriSam in 2009 where she was responsible for the provision of technical and legal expertise to enable the company to extract and source raw materials optimally within the legal framework of the Mine, Health and Safety Act. Today, her portfolio includes Group Sustainability (inclusive of Safety, Health, Occupational Hygiene and Environmental management).

In her capacity as an adjudicator, Singh is looking for entrants in the Sustainable Architecture category to both highlight their use of sustainable materials as well as demonstrate how they have used materials in their projects to ensure that they contribute to making the environment sustainable.

Meanwhile, in the Sustainable Products and Technology category, she will explore how entrants highlight the utilisation of either a material or a technology which aims to advance or create liveable and sustainable communities.

“It is important to shape communities not just for the here and now, but to alleviate poverty and ensure that communities can thrive into the future,” she says.