Main image: The seven finalists at the 35th Corobrik Student Architecture Awards with Corobrik CEO Nick Booth and Chairman Peter du Trevou

The winners of the 2019-2020 Corobrik-SAIA Awards of Merit and Awards for Excellence were recently celebrated at a gala event in Durban. Held biennially, the awards programme recognises peers and celebrates unique talent.

Support for young architects

“Corobrik has been a loyal partner and sponsor for over 30 years. As a young student whose life in architecture began some 40 years ago, I clearly remember the role that Corobrik played in supporting our organisation during these early days. They have stood by SAIA during boom-and-bust times. We remain inextricably linked,” says SAIA president, Ruben Reddy.

SAIA president, Ruben Reddy

The SAIA awards programme is structured over a two-year period and is conducted in two stages. Stage 1 sees regional awards for architecture presented by the various regional institutes affiliated with SAIA. In Stage 2, the national awards, the winning regional projects receive either a commendation, an award of merit and/or an award for excellence. This follows a vigorous adjudication and shortlisting process. The awards for excellence recognise exceptional achievements in the field of architecture.

Independent adjudicators

The national group of adjudicators is independent of the regional awards process and is selected by the SAIA president in his/her capacity as convenor.

“This honour passed to me for the 2019-2020 cycle, which has been somewhat delayed, having taken place through a period of immense difficulty. The adjudication has had to navigate a series of national lockdowns and immeasurable personal and collective loss because of Covid-19. As we cautiously emerge into a post-pandemic world, this is a moment which requires pause and reflection – for the space the awards hold, and how SAIA as an institution might face and contend with the future,” says SAIA’s past president and Corobrik-SAIA awards convenor, Kate Otten.

Exemplary projects awarded

Exemplary projects pushed the boundaries of materials, created unexpectedly beautiful and serene spaces, and stretched expectations and understandings of what might be possible. They ask us to contend with high social and spatial inequality, the urgency of climate change and, with a cautious sense of optimism, they suggest responses that provoke a different kind of architecture for another future that might just be possible.

The 2019-2020 Corobrik-SAIA Awards of Merit and Awards for Excellence winners are:

Awards of Merit

  • New Screenwriters’ Retreat, Monaghan Farm, Gauteng – C76 Architecture.
  • 1 Discovery Place, Sandton, Johannesburg – Boogertman + Partners.
  • Langbos Children’s Shelter, Addo, Eastern Cape – Jason Erlank Architects.
  • Mixed-Used Students’ Residence and Sports Precinct, Mpumalanga University – GAPP Architects and Urban Designers.
  • Wynberg Girls’ High School, New Classrooms – Noero Architects.

Research projects

  • “Unstitching Rex Trueform: The story of an African factory” by Ilze Wolff.

“The Corobrik SAIA Awards are meaningful in that they communicate a sense of the state of architecture in South Africa. They offer a moment to celebrate the talent and innovation of the architectural profession across regions, bringing communities of practice together. They also provide a reflective moment, and temperature reading, to the broader built environment world, about where we are currently as a South African community of practice,” concludes Kate.

Awards for Excellence

  • House Mills, Hermanus – Pinad Architecture Inc.
  • Vredenburg Hospital Phase 2B – Wolff Architects.
  • Grain Silo Complex, V&A Waterfront – Heatherwick Studio with Van Der Merwe Miszewski Architects (VDMMA), Rick Brown and Associates (RBA), Jacobs Parker Architects (JPA).
  • Witklipfontein Eco Lodge, Vredefort Rural – GLH Architects.
  • Chere’ Botha LSEN School  – Wolff Architects.


  • New Torwood Semis Forest Town, Johannesburg – BD Studio.
  • Arklow Villa III, Greenpoint, Cape Town – Douglas and Company.
  • 5 Magistrate Towers – Jeremy Steere Architects.
  • Barnato Hall Extension Phase 1, Wits University, Johannesburg – 26’10 South Architects.
  • Student Resource Centre, Sol Plaatje University (SPU), Kimberley – Designworkshop SA.

For more information, contact SAIA Marketing:
Tel: +27 11 782 1315

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