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.
Four of the eight 2011/2012 winners are:
Circa on Jellicoe (GIFA)
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.
The judges say: Circa gallery is an urban sculpture that re-defines the definition of public space and public building in Johannesburg. It introduces a new typology of iconic architecture with its form, and as an object standing proud off the intersection of Jellicoe and Jan Smuts streets. The architecture is so different to what is around that it is really engaging – you want to go in to find out more about the building. As a gallery it fulfils this function of enquiry, yet with an open space for hire at its top, it offers people the scope to appreciate beyond just its ability to be a gallery.
Investec Regional Head Office (KZNIA)
Investec initiated a move from their offices in Durban’s CBD to an office park in Umhlanga in 2006. 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 spectacular 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 judges say: 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 internal spaces are engaging, both for the people who work there and outsiders visiting. The very high quality is evident without opulence. It is a building that projects the performance that the bank would expect of its employees.
The Concierge Boutique Hotel and Freedom Café (KZNIA)
Tucked behind the gritty commercial zone of Umgeni Road in Durban, lie 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’, whilst retaining the character of the street and area.
The judges say: 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 space generated through this interpretation of refurbishment, combined with flawless construction, makes this development a spectacle, to be experienced and enjoyed. The central internal courtyard comprising the restaurant facility for the Bed & Breakfast contrasts with the heritage element of the hotel, using the rough industrial containers. The bright colours also draw the eye into this area.
New Residence in Groenkloof for Louw/Delport (PIA)
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 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 judges say: 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. This makes the house a dwelling that evokes a sense of place that is defined with the sky, linked to the earth through the well proportioned indoor spaces. The finishes add to the experience that the home is special. When you are indoors you can feel the outdoors. As you enter the front door you are drawn in and through the building – the journey is thought through for you. As you move through the building it is interconnected aesthetically. When you leave, you feel your time has been satisfying.
The South African Institute of Architects 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. 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. The panel of adjudicators for 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.
Distributed on behalf of the SA Institute of Architects.
For information on the content of the release kindly contact:
Su Linning or Marina Meyer at SAIA 011 782 1415
Distributed by Shirley Williams Communications.
Additional photographs are available from Shirley on Shirley@swcommunications.co.za or telephone 083 303 1663 and 031 564 7700