Port Elizabeth. ARCHITECTURE has the profound ability to capture a particular moment in history, reflecting the various interests, beliefs and unique character of a place in time through form and material. The design of such legacy-defining structures is perfectly represented at this year’s Corobrik regional architecture award.
This year it was announced that Gideon Greyvenstein from Nelson Mandela University was the Eastern Cape regional winner of this sought-after award. Commenting on the Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Award, Musa Shangase, Corobrik Commercial Director said: “As an organisation, we believe that ‘better starts here’, and this is particularly true for this award. These up-and-coming young architects are already designing iconic structures that would imprint their legacy on the country’s built environment. It is truly an honour to witness history being made.”
For the Corobrik Regional Architecture Award, Gideon Greyvenstein received R10 000, with Mohammad Yusuf Gopee taking home the second-prize of R8 000, and Zani Alberts receiving R6 000 for third place. A further R6 000 was awarded to Robert Duvenhage for his innovative use of clay masonry in the building design.
Gideon Greyvenstein is one of eight young architects from top South African universities receiving a Corobrik Regional Architecture Award in recognition of their design talent and innovation throughout 2019. In addition to the cash prize, the regional competition winners are through to the finals of the National Architectural Student of the year Award – set to be announced in Johannesburg in May 2020 – which comes with R70 000 in prize money.
Greyvenstein’s dissertation, entitled ‘The design of a merino wool processing facility in Barkly east, Eastern Cape’ is a sustainable factory as a rural regenerative system.
The subject of this treatise is sparked by the concerning state of rural Eastern Cape agrarian towns and the lack of facilities. Some high impact programmes are needed to boost agrarian reform in an attempt to revive dying small towns.
The project aims to use a factory to restore forgotten wastelands, traditionally used as buffer zones in township communities, in the distant hinterland. This unique opportunity can reverse urbanization, restore socio-economic conditions and allow a rural population to thrive in uncongested healthy environments.
The project revisits the typical exclusive factory type, to create an inclusive space where the community is involved in and celebrated. The quote: “The architecture of place should be more important than the architecture of time,” from architect Gunnar Asplund, became the sole base of the architectural expression. The building is constructed using materials of the region, local clay bricks and lanolin treated timber structure, methods that are familiar to local craftsman and builders.
The building takes inspiration from the cultural, immediate township scale, and mountainous context to generate a unique architecture responding to the harsh climate of the highlands of South Africa.
In second place is Mohammad Yusuf Gopee The Design of a Community Sports Centre at Case Noyale Village, Mauritius. The community sports facility is proposed in the village of Case Noyale, located on the South West coast of Mauritius. The idea emerged from the concern of the lack of Sports and Recreational Facilities in rural areas of the Island. The design takes cues from traditional Mauritian architecture, culture and climate using a delicate timber roof structure that is shaped and carved out to define a series of indoor, outdoor and indoor-outdoor spaces, which in turn are used for the appropriate sports and recreational activities.
Third place has been awarded to Zani Alberts for her thesis entitled ‘Additions and Alterations to the Werdmuller Centre in lower Claremont, Cape Town.’
Robert Duvenhage received the award for the best use of clay brick. His thesis is The design of a plastic recycling facility in central Port Elizabeth.’
Duvenhage said, the chosen site is the old WH Morgan brewery in Central, Port Elizabeth. I selected it because the heritage building has a unique character that has been left behind in the ever-changing city. The inspiration for the program came from a non-profit organisation that has a branch in Port Elizabeth focusing on community upliftment. The organisation rewards those who bring in recycled plastic, which is a good way for the homeless to make money. This together with improper waste management inspired the idea to recycle existing buildings, some significant and some not, as well as find a way to create a space for those less fortunate to start their first step into bettering their current situation.
I chose to use clay brick as this design doesn't have a high budget and in the long term would require less maintenance, making clay brick the ideal choice. The existing buildings being reused have beautiful clay brick details that I wanted to include. As recycling plays a major role in my thesis I have recycled and reused as many of the original materials as possible, and to match that, construction would have use clay brick as well.
Shangase added that it was “Enlightening to see a generation of new architects showcasing world-class design talent. The designs by the winners of Corobrik Regional Architecture Award are an example of the start of legacy-enduring structures that will connect future generations with our current-day experiences. When it comes to creating a legacy in architecture, it’s best to rely on honest, simple materials that inform the architectural language without overpowering the finished product.”.
He concluded that “Corobrik’s clay brick range is a really impactful example of this, linking our past to our present and inspiring our future. Better starts here - with Corobrik.”