Construction World

Innovation is the standout quality that differentiates design resolutions and helps define architecture as special and appreciated by one’s peers. Innovation in sync with context provides the delight factor permitting architectural design to compete comfortably on the world stage. Technical skill, the ability to create memorable form that draws one in while treading softly on our planet is what puts the finishing touches to sustainable architecture. South African architecture continues to take positive strides also demonstrating an extra creative dimension unique in a country where the shaping of the urban landscape requires an appreciation of the complexities of creating an inclusive built environment.

This was said by Dirk Meyer, managing director of Corobrik, ahead of the 31st Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Awards, which are held annually to acknowledge and reward outstanding talent in South Africa.

Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Awards

Su-Elna Bester from the University of the Free State is this year’s regional winner of the Corobrik Architectural Student Awards. Her thesis is entitled ‘The M.CAC / Multi-Cultural Assimilation Centre of Dubai. She is pictured with left Ockert van Heerden of Corobrik, Henry Pretorious and Jan Smit from the University

The competition involves the country’s eight major universities where the best architectural students are identified based on their final theses and presented with awards at regional events. The winners of each of the regional competitions then go on to compete for the national title at the 31st Corobrik Student Architect of the Year Awards in Johannesburg in April 2018

Ockert Van Heerden Corobrik Sales Director presented prizes to the winners from University of the Free State.

Su-Elna Bester’s thesis is entitled, ‘The M.CAC / Multi-Cultural Centre of Dubai.’ She says, “The Multicultural Centre is situated next to the famous Dubai Creek. Forming part of the traditional desert like vernacular architecture creating a special vibrant pedestrian waterfront & cultural hub. The centre is home to all different cultures & communities. The MCAC waterfront forms a setting for self-expressions alongside others to affectively build a sense of cultural diversity.

The MCAC & park flowing into the existing city fabric, becomes a place for celebration and transforms according to its needs. Personal interaction is celebrated with its vibrant, fluid walkways, desert plants, water and trees, merging open Gallery & exhibition spaces. The building is sunken into the ground with planted roofs allowing for panoramic views. The restaurant creates an urban environment featuring multiple uses, forming cohesive public spaces. The theatre forms part of the heart of the creek. This encourage visitors to sit alongside the pedestrian designed park to eat together, socialize & explore the middle eastern culture & diverse ex patriate community.

Space belongs to those who can make place of dwelling for themselves within their context. Architecture can act as a tool to form a platform for dialogue between different groups; to create one supportive community that functions culturally alongside each other. This establish a sense of community and place in which both can exist to create shared cultural experience.

Wim Boshoff’s thesis is a Cinematic Arts Centre, an urban activation through breaking the wall. He says. “This dissertation is designed around the exploration of breaking ‘walls’ or boundaries in a dormant place to reveal transformation and connectivity within a CBD urban level and how it can contribute towards a design synthesis. It proposes a film Centre in Bloemfontein’s extensive network of educational institutes. The aim is to design a meaningful place of learning, by achieving connectivity through the investigation of movement and the breaking of boundaries.

Jani Schreuder’s thesis is entitled “A Dual Education Centre for Woman and Infants.” She proposes an education centre for single mothers and an early development centre for their children. This is aimed at addressing the topical issue of education shortage within our society. It includes a housing scheme to facilitate the re-appropriation of city space into a livable community. The proposal is located within the CBD of Pretoria and was chosen as the dissertation topic because of its social relevance and possible reach. 

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