Architects of the future combine sustainability with design at 26th Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year awards

Today’s fine architects are required to combine design talent with engineering ability, social awareness and an aptitude for business. In recent years this skills set has, of necessity, expanded to include understanding of the impact of different technologies on the environment with a particular focus on bio-diversity conservation, wise water consumption and low energy usage. Students of architecture who successfully incorporate technologies able to lower environmental impacts with their artistic and design talents, are those set to make a valuable contribution to the built environment of the future.


It is students demonstrating holistic competence who will be acknowledged and rewarded in the 26th Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Awards, currently in the regional phase at eight universities across the country in the run-up to the national finals in Johannesburg in April next year.


Mike Ingram, Corobrik Director of Sales KZN and Border presented prizes to architectural students of the University of KwaZulu-Natal at the KZN Institute for Architects in Durban on Thursday 22 November 2012.


The regional winner Dennis–Lee Stols received a cheque to the value of R7000. Two people shared a joint second place; they are David Sharkey and Michael Madden who each received a cheque to the value of R5000.


The overall winner from among the regional finalists will be announced and presented with a cheque for R50 000 at the 26th National Student Architect awards function at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on 18 April 2013.


“We are well into our third decade of sponsoring these awards,” said Mike Ingram. “Our intention has always been that this programme should inspire design excellence but the complexities of the global environment today demand a far broader vision from our students. We are looking for a deepened sensitivity towards all three pillars of sustainable development – the environment, the economy and our social fabric. This has to be seamlessly combined with practical solutions to a particular architectural challenge and with artistic flair that embodies the spirit of the vibrant South African nation.”


“The students who have received awards today have demonstrated a remarkable maturity in their work and a welcome acceptance of the multifaceted approach which bodes well for the future of the profession and the sustainability of our planet.”


Dennis-Lee Stols entry is entitled “Insurgency as an influence of socially responsive Urban Development”. He has proposed an information recycling facility for the informal cardboard recyclers of the Durban CBD.


In his thesis Stols investigated how the urban poor survive in an environment that excludes them and labels them as undesirable. As more and more people are moving from rural life to try and earn a living architects and town planners need to focus their attention on these people who comprise a large proportion of the urban population. Stols design will offer cardboard recyclers a place from which they can work. Simply designed to suit the occupation, he has included a roof garden to promote sustainable living as well as high density transient housing for the recyclers.


The site is a micro version of a true green city, acting as a learning tool for the general public, and an income generating tool for the informal recyclers.


David Sharkey’s thesis is titled “Social Interaction and Well-Being in architectural environments.” He has proposed a multi-use-facility for Durban CBD. The urban framework is to be a catalyst for future rejuvenation and to bring life back to the city through the creation of mixed use and pedestrian friendly areas. The building has been designed to enhance the social interaction and well-being of those who use it


Michael Madden’s thesis is “Exploring the Importance of the Cognitive Image through Architecture: Towards A New Regional Headquarters for the South African Police Service”


It is the design of new Regional Headquarters for SAPS which attempts to alter the image of the police into one of transparency, corporate efficiency, integrity, strength and service before force. The proposed headquarters are situated prominently between Stalwart Simelane and Florence Nzama Streets within an existing and proposed law precinct. The building hopes to provide a positive working environment for the members of SAPS as well as to provide a central point around which the KZN members can find pride and strength.


Dirk Meyer, managing director of Corobrik, said the company had long put ‘sustainability’ at the centre of everything it did, and as with architects, Corobrik was pursuing and making use of more environment-friendly technologies to support the recognized sustainability attributes of its products.


“We aim to give architects the tools to reinforce this ethos in their designs,” he said. ”Clay bricks happen to have an environmental integrity that is holistic in its offering and with far reaching positive consequences. Durability, longevity, inertness, mineral properties that meet all necessary requirements for healthy living, incombustibility, natural sound insulation qualities, maintenance-free qualities as a face brick that rule out future carbon debt, reusability and recyclability are some of the more prominent factors that contribute to clay bricks environmental status.”


From an environmental management perspective Corobrik now has six factories with ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Certification, and is well into its programme to further reduce its carbon footprint through the conversion of its facilities from coal-fired to natural gas-fired operations.


One of the measures of our commitment to the sustainability imperative is our achievement in becoming the first company in South Africa to be awarded Carbon Emission Reductions CER’s (carbon credits) from the United National Clean Development Mechanism for our successes in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, this commencing at our Lawley Factory.


Dennis-Lee Stols Thesis is entitled “INSURGENCY AS AN INFLUENCE OF SOCIALLY RESPONSIVE URBAN DEVELOPMENT” A Proposed Informal Recycling Facility for the Informal Cardboard Recyclers of the Durban CBD, South Africa


The thesis sought to investigate life between buildings for the urban poor and how these citizens live within the modern cities of the world in spite of architecture and the exclusionary processes that have been established within the urban fabric to exclude these so called undesirables. In an epoch of mass rural to urban migration, with ever shrinking hinterlands, architects and planners cannot continue to build and design for the minority wealthy and thus must focus their attention on the “other 90%”. The design proposal identified the informal cardboard recyclers of the Durban CBD as one such group on “inbetween” citizens and sought to facilitate and celebrate the work they do in a grass roots up urban development.


Stols says, “ In simple terms what i have designed is what Richard Dobson of Asiye eTafuleni dubs “the safe pavement”, it is a non building of sorts. It is a roof over a piece of open urban/public space which merely formalises something that happens regardless of architecture. The ancillary buildings that abut the open air sorting, collection and selling part of the site include a series of “micro factories” which are single garage sized, lockable rooms for the storage of materials. There is also an office block for the priority zone, who are an urban management team that monitor the icc precinct who are currently located in one of the buildings that i propose to demolish. Further to this there is an urban roof garden to promote sustainable living as well as high density transient housing for the recyclers. There is also a resource and learning centre for the public to access and learn about informal recycling. Then finally there is a NPO, Asiye eTafuleni, who are currently responsible for the management of the recyclers, so it made sense to position them with the recyclers themselves. Essentially the site is a micro version of a true green city, acting as a learning tool for the general public, and an income generating tool for the informal recyclers.


As said, its quite a complex project to describe…but in short, i have created a formal platform for the support and upliftement of the urban informal recyclers of the Durban CBD, in celebration and appreciation of the crucial work they do.



, , ,