8 Properties Win Corobrik-saia Awards

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27 Sep 2012

Eight South African projects have been chosen from the 55 put forward into the 2011/12 Corobrik- South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) Awards of Meritand Awards for Excellence.

The UWC Life Sciences building successfully showcases a commitment to sustainable building practice and resource efficiency in the way that it responds to the environment and demonstrates cost effective strategies, placing this building at the forefront of responsible architecture in the country.

The projects were singled out at a ceremony held on September 14 as part of the SAIA AZA Biennial convention in Cape Town.

The Corobrik-SAIA Awards are made to members of SAIA to encourage and recognise good design or a significant contribution in the field of architecture.

The Award for Excellence is made only for an exceptional achievement in the field of architecture.The eight 2011/2012winners are:

University of the Western Cape Life Sciences

The new Life Sciences Department is aimed to place the University Western Cape on the world map as a centre of teaching excellence.

It fuses six departments into one development to promote interdepartmental and trans-disciplinary research.

The learning centre integrates the development into the broader campus and houses a state-of-the-art lecture theatre, computer lab-resource centre, seminar and tutorial rooms and a cafeteria opening onto the gathering space.

Voelklip - this holiday home is an architectural marvel in the design ingenuity applied – it befits the idiom 'god is in the detail' by the assemblage sensitivity and crisp clarity of construction that is carried throughout the entire structure.


The brief to SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects called for a beach house suitable for a family of four, on a vacant site in Voelklip Hermanus.

The gently sloping site presented the opportunity for a split-level living space allowing lounge and dining to be placed above the bedrooms on the ground level, all enjoying dramatic sea views.

Untamed -architecture, sculpture and philosophy are brought together in a seamless gesture of fusional arts, crafts, science and literature.


Untamed is the result of a collaborative process between a sculptor, writer and an architect.

Dylan Lewis, the sculptor, had a strong intuitive idea about the subject Ian McCallum, the writer, discusses in his book, ‘Ecological Intelligence’.

He researched environmentally conscious architects who had collaborated with artists and approached Enrico Daffonchio.

Ubuntu Centre - the building makes a permanent statement of architectural excellence in that it contrasts with historical design approaches within a ‘township’ environment, making this centre a culturally receptive iconic building with which the community can associate as well as derive a sense of dignity and pride.

Conceptual and briefing workshops explored the internal psychological conflict between our rational mind and our repressed wildness.

This theme was expressed in the building by the contrast between the “living wall” and the rusted metal wall.

Ubuntu Centre

This project, designed by Field Architecture in association with John Blair Architects and Ngonyama Okpanum Hewitt-Coleman, was commissioned by the Ubuntu Education Fund to provide a centre of operations for its health and educational outreach programmes serving the township of Zwide.

It houses a wellness wing with a clinic specialising in HIV and tuberculosis prevention and counselling as well as an education wing for group study, remedial classes and career guidance.

At the heart of the building, running through two floors, is a multi-purpose space for after-school educational programmes, community theatre, or for workshops.

Circa on Jellicoe - is an urban sculpture that re-defines the definition of public space and public building in Johannesburg.

Circa on Jellicoe

When viewed together with the existing Everard Read gallery, Circa on Jellicoe by StudioMAS Architects and Urban Designers is evidently more than just an art space.

It aims to provide multi-functional semi-public space that alters perspectives of everyday life in the city.

Primarily its form aims to intrigue people through a process of discovery, drawing them into this flexible space that caters for large meeting places for public events or smaller private functions.

The architecture is a sculpture, moulding itself around its contents.

Investec Regional Head Office

Investec initiated a move from their offices in Durban’s CBD to an office park in Umhlanga in 2006.

Investec Regional Head Office - the building captures the essence of the Investec persona as an investment bank - the building being of exceptional quality in terms of finishes, but with a design that presents the informality of the office space to encourage interaction, sharing of ideas and team function in pursuit of client’s investment objectives.

The brief to Elphick Proome Architects was to provide premium grade offices in Ridgeside Office Park with a sophisticated expression capturing an established corporate image and rendered in high quality materials.

The ocean and distant cityscape views informed the arrangement of the office space around public interface and service spaces.

The driving factor that tied the design together was the desire to keep it simple and create an uncluttered refined elegance.

The Concierge Boutique Hotel and Freedom Café

Tucked behind the gritty commercial zone of Umgeni Road in Durban, is a series of Victorian workers’ cottages from the late 1800s.

When the client acquired four of these semi-detached units, the brief for Architecture Fabrik and Don Albert & Partners was to create a boutique hotel with adjoining studios for creative professionals.

The new structure is not physically connected to the historic buildings and is set back from the street which enables a visitor to easily distinguish both the reception and the ‘new from the old’, while retaining the character of the street and area.

New Residence in Groenkloof for Louw/Delport

This house by Mellet and Human Architects is like a high level penthouse absorbing the unobstructed views of Pretoria from a small, steep, subdivided stand bordering a green belt.

The Concierge Boutique Hotel and Freedom Café - the project presents itself as a direct response to the urban context through the perforation of the façade creating a connection that allows for passive surveillance and perceived safety.

The site was terraced to provide a single level layout.

The linear plan provides all living areas and bedrooms north of a gallery which doubles as circulation space and space to house an extensive art collection.

Room for exhibiting art in the form of pictures and sculptures was a requirement from the client.

The SAIA Award for Excellence was introduced in 1990 and is conferred every second year where it recognises an exceptional contribution to the field of architecture.

The award programme was revised in 1999, and now includes the Awards of Merit running concurrently.

The Awards programme is structured over a period of two years, and conducted in three stages.

In the first year Awards for Architecture are presented by the various Regional Institutes affiliated to SAIA.

New Residence in Groenkloof for Louw/Delport - this dwelling conceptually is a gallery that exhibits art and sculpture, while presenting itself as a platform from which the canvass that is Tshwane is experienced.

The Corobrik-SAIA Awards of Merit are bestowed in the second year and thereafter, the Awards for Excellence are announced.

Projects that have received an Award of Merit are eligible for this award.

Thepanel of adjudicatorsfor the 2011/12 Awards was convened by the President of the Institute, Fanuel Motsepe, and consisted of Peter Kidger from Corobrik and an academic architect, Philippa Tumubweinee and fashion designer David Tlale.

“Good architects have the sensibility to design spaces that advance lifestyles, while being sensitive to the environment and mindful of promoting healthy social values,” says Motsepe.

He believes that architecture in South Africa is cementing its confidence as a global role player and our architecture has clearly matured, confidently and convincingly in good posture, out of the provincial years of isolation.

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