23 October 2019

Since its inception in 2009, the AfriSam-SAIA
Sustainable Design Award has become South Africa’s most prestigious
sustainability award programme. By honouring outstanding achievements in
sustainable architecture, the awards programme is creating public awareness and
debate about sustainability in the built environment.

recently, AfriSam launched the AfriSam Student Design Challenge to incentivise
the next generation of designers to advance sustainable solutions in design
thinking. An event hosted recently at the award-winning Johannesburg Council
Chamber in Braamfontein celebrated a decade of sustainable architecture, and announced
the first student winner.

The inaugural brief went out to architecture schools across Gauteng who
were required to take an in-depth look at Joubert Park / the Johannesburg Art
Gallery (JAG) and how to connect the museum to its immediate community and
other audiences.

The winning design came from Lenasia resident,
23-year old Hashim Tarmahomed, currently doing his Honours degree in
Architecture Studies at Wits University.

He said the challenge to craft a symbiotic relationship between the JAG,
its rich art collection and its surrounds was interesting. “The brief was
clear: to reconsider the agency of boundaries and to create a new public

“My entry was built around the realisation that many portrait
photographers come to the park to use it as a makeshift backdrop, but are not
given a platform to create. My design concept was to build on a
gallery-that-dissolves-into-the-park idea. The existing structures still
exhibit a legacy of exclusion and segregation upon which they were built. My
proposal was for the JAG make way for a public photography centre within its
precinct to encourage greater public participation, and for the remaining space
to continue as a gallery.”

“The project should not be seen as the gallery leaking into the streets
but rather a symbiotic relationship between them. The streets and its people
own the gallery as much as they do the street. Providing this sense of
ownership creates a sense of place – where you can walk and cross roads feeling
safe, where you can trade in a space that isn’t temporary, where you can stroll
right through a gallery and emerge on the other side without passing any cold
barriers, then you belong.

“I always want to remain socially aware in all
that I create. My dream is not just to design beautiful buildings, but to
enrich people’s lives,” added Tarahomed.

In support of the all-important sustainability
agenda, AfriSam and the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) is
announcing a call for entries in the AfriSam-SAIA Sustainable Design Award. All
architects, engineers, project managers and design practitioners are called to
enter projects with a harmonious vision of shaping communities for livable

The AfriSam-SAIA Award supports a learning
journey towards regenerative design with an emphasis on sustainability,
innovation, transformation and multidisciplinary efforts.

“We need to respond to the needs of our world by
pursuing new methods of building that are economical and environmentally
conscious. We need to find ways to improve material efficiency, design and the
re-use of buildings. It is also our duty to revisit ancient best practices and
knowledge systems that will set us on a new trajectory towards sustainability,”
said DrLuyanda Mpahlwa, President
of SAIA.

“Leaders in the built environment will have an
important role to play in creating new spaces that have the power to elevate,
dignify and provide a better quality of life for everyone. Sustainability is
not just about buildings, it’s about changing and improving lives.” Dr Philippa Tumubweinee, practising
professional architect and academic.

Entries for the Sustainable Design award are
accepted in four categories:

  1. Sustainable
  2. Research in
  3. Sustainable Products and
  4. Sustainable Social

Going into detail about the categories Tumubweineesaid: “Apart from recognising excellence in ‘sustainable
architecture’ and ‘research in sustainability’, we also invite entries that
make innovative contributions to the fields of ‘sustainable products and
technology’ and ‘sustainable social programmes’.

“We encourage architects in Africa to look into
their own history and heritage to produce architecture that is reflective of
the regions in which buildings exist.

“It is as basic as understanding traditional
building techniques and rebooting them to build spaces that respect the
identity, climate and cultural history of our communities.

“We know that a more sustainable world is
possible through multidisciplinary collaboration across all industries. By
taking an integrated design approach to communities, planning, research, architecture,
building practice, natural systems and technology we can create a world that
benefits a more inclusive and sustainable society,” said Mpahlwa.

The SAIA recognises the importance of “green”
building and encourages its members to incorporate sustainability in building
design at an early stage.

We encourage all practitioners in the built
environment to enter architecture, urban design, technological innovations, systems
or research that is reshaping our environment into the award programme. More
than one project may be submitted (separate entries for each) and entries are
free. All 2019/2020 entries must be submitted online at: 
before 31 March 2020.

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