Announcement of Corobrik-SAIA Awards of Merit and Awards for Excellence

The Corobrik-SAIA Awards of Merit and Awards for Excellence 2010 were made at a ceremony at the City Hall in Johannesburg as part of AZA 2010, South Africa’s first architecture mega-event which has brought together leading-edge thinkers and multi-disciplinary practitioners from around the globe.

The Aw! ards for Excellence programme is, since 1990, the highest of the accolades by which the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) acknowledges the achievements of its membership in the design and delivery of projects that are exemplary of the art and science in the practice of the discipline of architecture.

All projects which receive Awards of Merit are automatically considered for an Award for Excellence.

In the 2010 round, merit was viewed as a level of how successfully projects performed in various arenas, with emphasis on:

·         South African contextual sustainability

·         Giving prominence to the process of making architecture,

·         Regional relevance – entries needed to make a contribution to their immediate society, environment and the profession.

Thirty six projects were submitted for adjudication for the Awards of Merit from eight of SAIA’s regions and for the first time, a work! of social relevance (not a built form) was received in the submissions.

The adjudication panel, chaired by SAIA’s President, Al Stratford, was comprised of retired Justice Albie Sachs, architects Amira Osman and Malcolm Campbell and Corobrik’s marketing director Peter Kidger.


·         10+YEARS 100+BUILDINGS – ARCHITECTURE IN A DEMOCRATIC SOUTH AFRICA for Bell Roberts Publishers by Dr Ora Joubert

This is the first time that a book has been submitted for the SAIA awards. Its object is to acknowledge that architectural knowledge is encapsulated in forms other than buildings. The book is a compendium of South African architecture, surveying the last 10 years of architecture in South Africa and features more than 100 architectural projects and contributions from some of the leading academics and practitioners in the field of architecture in South Africa.

·         HATFIELD 109 – ARCHITECTS’ STUDIOS, ACCOMMODATION AND SHOP, CAPE TOWN – for SAOTA, OKHA and AA by Sefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects

A building containing new premises for the designing architects, together with five apartments and a high-end furniture and decor store, was constructed on a site of a 1950s church. Although the initial design intention was to retain as much of the original structure as possible, the architects found it to be more cost effective to demolish the bulk of the church and in the end only the concrete structural frame was retained.

·         SEVEN FOUNTAINS PRIMARY SCHOOL, SHAYAMOYA, KOKSTAD for Mpilonhle by East Coast Architects

This project arose out of a unique combination o! f a painful past, an existing cohesive school community and external f unding, leading the architects from the start to secure a high degree of community involvement in the processes of design, decision-making, construction and use. The agreed objective, then, was to move away from the one-size-fits-all practice of parachuting blueprint-based structures into rural areas, instead it was to allow for the architecturally-guided emergence of a school organically connected to the community that built it and which it serves.

·         TAXI TERMINUS, for the UNIVERSITY OF THE FREE STATE by Typology Architects

The arrival and departure nod! e comprises of two roof elements that creates a waiting pavilion surrounded by trees. The corrugated iron roof terminates as a cantilevered overhang. The materials are cleverly used and well related. Competent technical resolution is matched by variations in textures and colours, giving lightness to a manifestly secure and dependable structure. The terminus has a presence that is distinctive and elegant.


·         10+YEARS 100+BUILDINGS – ARCHITECTURE IN A DEMOCRATIC SOUTH AFRICA for Bell Roberts Publishers by Dr Ora Joubert

(See details under Awards of Excellence)


The winning submission in an architectural competition organised by the University of Pretoria to mark its centenary, this building is a lecture/examination complex containing six 300-seater auditoria. In the words of one of its architects, it is ruthlessly functional in concept, drawing on Pretoria vernacular and modern tradition especially in central Pretoria, Pretoria West and Sunnyside. Described as a non! -building, it has no obvious front or back, nor any imposing signature-style profile.

·         HATFIELD 109 – ARCHITECTS’ STUDIOS, ACCOMMODATION AND SHOP, CAPE TOWN – for SAOTA, OKHA and AA by Sefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects

(See details under Awards of Excellence)


Liliesleaf Farm was the underground headquarters of the ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto We Sizwe. The architectural project was to develop the site into an experiential place where visitors and scholars could engage with and reflect on the memories and events of the past. Two contemporary buildings, the Resource Centre and the Liberation Centre, have been located on the periphery of the historic site. There have also been extensive architectural intervention and restoration processes in respect of the original buildings.


Over recent years Parkhurst has undergone a process of gentrification with many of the houses on the 4th Avenue high street being converted to accommodate antique stores, cafes, boutiques, etc. This project involved two existing houses (with their adjoining garages forming the third ‘house’) being linked together to constitute a continuous and positive street edge. The development gives up 1.5 metres to provide for a comfortable, attractive and somewhat playful walkway covered by a continuous cantilevered cover running the length of the street.


This modest Victorian row house was built originally with an elaborate front facade using decorative plaster and cast-iron work. The front rooms had generous proportions with large windows facing Table Mountain. The back rooms however were badly lit and the kitchen was a squat space that cast a shadow over the courtyard. The owners of the house – husband and wife architects – decided to redevelop it by retaining the front half as is, but demolishing and completely reconstructing the back portion in simple modernist manner.


Lodge Caledonia was built in 1899 for the Freemasons. The building was dominated by two adjacent halls. The first was originally used as a communal meeting and dining room, and was connected at the back through a passage screened by various thresholds from open admission to the second, a clandestine temple embodying highly decorated ceremonial spaces. The architectural response was to renovate the dining hall area to accommodate the firm’s open plan drawing offices, while the more sanctified second hall was adapted with relatively minimal intervention to become the boardroom and conference hall.


A site for a new provincial library was made available on the extensive grounds of the relatively new Civic Centre. The library itself is a long low building placed alongside the footpath parallel and close to the walls of the side of the Civic Centre. The architect states that this configuration was intended to allow maximum exposure to passers-by of the contents and activities of the building. A tower containing a tuck shop and a security guard’s observation point stands close to the main entrance to the library. A showcase next to the entrance and murals contributed by a local artist also help to identify a point of entry and the activities of the building.

·         SEVEN FOUNTAINS PRIMARY SCHOOL, SHAYAMOYA, KOKSTAD for Mpilonhle by East Coast Architects

(See details under Awards of Excellence)

·         TAXI TERMINUS, for the UNIVERSITY OF THE FREE STATE by Typology Architects

(See details under Awards of Excellence)


The project required that an office block and two small dwellings be added to an existing house on a property sited on the edge of the residential area of Parkwood. The client was a health care company, whose founders wanted their development to be as environmentally friendly as possible. The design of an open and stimulating work environment coupled with a contemporary and professional image was the other main requirement.


This Pavilion is the centrepiece of a green eco-village being developed on a wooded hillside with spectacular views not far from East London. It turned out to be the most unusual building visited by the panel. The Pavilion was constructed as a multi-use hall, classroom and church. The design consists of three overlapping circles, representing humanity, livestock and agriculture. It was designed with the didactic purpose of linking the subject of sustainability with the Christian concept of stewardship of the environment. Sustainability is represented as three overlapping circles standing for Equity, Economy and Ecology.

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