The latest DAS Conference had a record attendance of architects, designers and specifiers, and saw the topic of award-winning architecture be discussed and debated.

The topic of award-winning architecture was under investigation at the DAS Conference, hosted by FLOORS and WALLS & ROOFS magazines at the Atterbury Theatre. Attending architects and designers didn’t only hear about award-winning projects, but speakers delved deeper into the conceptualisation, design and realisation of these projects. There were also discussions about the role of awards and debates about how projects should be awarded.

“Awards should be handled with care, because they are special,” commented award-winning architect, Jeremie Malan. “When you enter a project, you must believe in what you’re entering. Secondly, it is important that whoever is adjudicating is fair, there must be a system. And then thirdly, awards must be shared with others so that other architects would understand why it was awarded.”

Malan discussed some of his award-winning projects, including the National Library of South Africa, the South African Military Health Base Depot and the Tram Street Offices.

Novum Structures talked about designing and installing freeform structures such as ETFE roofs and listed common elements of innovative design: Shared vision, identifying key features, the right team, early industry involvement, attention to detail at every stage and active listening.

Designer maker Mia van Zyl illustrated that the maker movement is accessible, as there are opportunities to invent, research and develop anywhere. “Winning awards is about the value you add – it is about the community or industry that you work within, recognising or acknowledging that you’ve done something worthwhile, that adds value and which makes a contribution,” she commented.

Ecocentric’s Jutta Berns-Mumbi and Daniel Rimbault explained the efforts behind getting a LEED Gold and five-star Green Star Interiors v1 rating for Google South Africa’s head office in Johannesburg, as well as how the lighting power baseline was almost halved by clever planning and control. Rimbault also pointed out that from a client’s point of view, award-winning buildings are doing incredibly in terms of occupancy as the fact that the building has won an award is used as part of marketing.

Next, Vedhant Maharaj captivated the audience with his integral research on which he based his award-winning design of “Yantra – Infrastructures of the sacred and profane”, a water purification infrastructure for the hazardously polluted River Ganga in India.

To conclude the day, architect and academic, Arthur Barker from the Department of Architecture at the University of Pretoria, addressed four major contextual influences that are essential for good architecture.

Going from strength to strength
A record number of architects, designers and specifiers attended this edition of the DAS Conference, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Attendees commended the excellent speakers, inspiring presentations topics and variety of exhibitors. Overall it was a successful morning of learning and networking.

A big thank you to all the sponsors who made the day possible and who were represented to give product information and answer questions: a.b.e. Construction Chemicals, Belgotex Floors, Ceilspray, Dekton by Cosentino, FloorworX, Flowcrete, Sika, Tal and Technical Finishes.