Who are the South Africans that are able to create place making buildings that shift paradigms, rejuvenate the planet and uplift people?

Supported by Afrisam, the biennial Afrisam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture was created to find out.

Entries are evaluated against four criteria:

  1. harmonisation,
  2. people upliftment,
  3. planet rejuvenation
  4. place-making performance.

Entries are submitted under two categories — one for built work and the other for works of social importance, including research.

The Alexander Forbes Headquarters in Sandton, Johannesburg, designed by Paragon Architects and Paragon Interface, took top honours in the built work category at the 2014 Afrisam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture.

Employing a total of 2,500 people, the Alexander Forbes Headquarters has already been confirmed as a Four Star Rated Green Building. Occupied for two years, the accommodation impact was designed to reduce any negative impact on water, energy and waste. Reduced power consumption, re-use of water and recycling initiatives have contributed to lower water consumption by 70%, waste generation by 50% and energy consumption by 40%.  The role of louvres, skylights, glazing and scallops assists with light whilst reducing the impact of heat and, at street level, the building edge is softened with xeriscaping, indigenous trees and plants.

The Alexander Forbes Headquarters in Sandton | Elle Decoration SA The Alexander Forbes Headquarters in Sandton | Elle Decoration SA The Alexander Forbes Headquarters in Sandton | Elle Decoration SA

It is hoped that the Alexander Forbes Headquarters will provide a beacon of inspiration, not only as a place to work, but also as a worthwhile contribution to the urban fabric of Johannesburg and human experience in the area

said Stephan Olivier, AfriSam’s CEO.

Commendations in this category went to a further four projects;

  • UNISA Phase 2 in Parow, Cape Town, designed by Michele Sandilands Architects;
  • The Seed Library in Alexandra Township, Johannesburg, designed by Architects of Justice;
  • Monaghan Farm near Lanseria, Gauteng, submitted by Claude Bailey Architecture & Design on behalf of Clewer Development Trust
  • House Jones in Hurlingham, Johannesburg, designed by ERA Architects.

A second award, in the category of works of social importance, including research, went to Vukuzakhe by Koop Design in Durban, which examines urban development in the Municipality of eThekwini, while Collis & Associates received a commendation for research into concrete recycling in Cape Town.

An exhibition running from 10 – 30 October at Johannesburg City Library showcases the winners and finalists. 

For more information see here.