Gauteng celebrates excellence in architecture

by Madelein
Gauteng celebrates excellence in architecture

The Gauteng Institute for Architecture (GIFA) Awards recently recognised excellence in Gauteng’s architecture industry, with the announcement of the winners of the 2021 GIFA Awards.

Excellence awards were given to the following five projects, each featuring uniquely impressive architecture and design.

GIFA Excellence Awards 2021

House Harris by ARCH3D Studios – residence in Birdhaven, Johannesburg

This breath-taking house synthesises the open-closed, contemporary-classic and flat-roofed-peaked roof rhythms skilfully. The sealed hard-edged perimeter contains the light and transparent heart of the house. A developed material palette gives the depth and richness of the space, with added variety when the sun pours into the grand glass facade. The beauty of this generous house is achieved all while remaining off-grid. This residence can be celebrated for ticking all the right boxes in terms of sustainability, striking appeal, conceptual strength, technical execution and practical functionality.

Oggie Hardwood Flooring by C76 Architecture – showroom in Parkhurst

This enamouring structure pays meticulous attention to detail and craftsmanship. Cleverly contrasted layers of brick, light, glass, steel, plants, and wood frame the materially rich journey throughout the spaces. Light washes over and peeks through these surfaces at various moments and in different ways, adding even more complexity to the spaces. The imagery of layering is pushed further in the artful ordering of thresholds between particularly the inner and outer realms. This building can be admired for its awe-inspiring achievement of conceptual and material coherence.

The Bank by Daffonchio Architects – mixed-use development in Rosebank

The building strikingly balances grandeur and charm. Substantial vertical and horizontal gestures are mediated by the human-scaled brick, brass and planted elements. While refreshing its context with a new café, restaurant, retail and co-working spaces, it also hits the elusive note of seeming to have always been there. The timeless lower-level adherence to form proportion and rational order is topped with the upper-level office spaces which are relatively wild, contemporary and experimental. This building can be appreciated for its technical elegance and seamless assimilation into the context while offering energising programmes back to its users.

Barloworld Equipment Showroom by Paragon Architects – showroom in Kempton Park

The building is a visionary gesture deriving its form from one of the earthmoving equipment tracks. The elegant curves frame thoughtfully proportioned spaces. The building is an inter-disciplinary feat, combining the technical expertise of architects, specialists, and notably, the client’s contribution of equipment insight which would go on to form the heart of the concept. The building can be appreciated for its stunning rendition of contemporary architecture (that manages simultaneously to retain the old), its striking form and its marked “upgrade” of the showroom typology.

Jewel City by GASS Architecture Studios – mixed-use urban renewal

This is a development of a series of six city blocks, tasked with refurbishing existing office buildings into efficient spaces for optimal inner-city living. The ground floor edges engage in dynamic ways with pedestrian movement by careful consideration of degrees of permeability. Closed edges present murals, while inner courtyards and thoroughfares offer retail and seating; and thus, welcome pedestrians to linger. These spaces manage to modulate scale and thresholds intricately in a harsher context on the outskirts of Maboneng; this is a significant achievement that does not announce itself because it is well executed.

Special awards

President’s Award: Westbury Transformation Centre for Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) & CoJ Social Development by Ntsika Architects
Awarded as the best representation of the Zeitgeist now in Johannesburg. It takes the voices of the desperate and changes it into a message of hope. The building combines poetic, controlled application of architectural elements with artistic, sculptural quality. This combination gives it a landmark presence, while convincingly resisting becoming an ‘object building’. The design is agile in its response to challenging site conditions and an existing structure; mainly applying proportion and scale to mediate between the existing and the new.

People’s Choice Award: The Elements Library at King David by Hubo Studio

The library users are enveloped in the elements of earth, fire, air and water, which are embodied on each floor with playful confidence. There is never a dull moment as the spaces encapsulate child-like wonder and infuse mundane activities with magic and a surprise around every corner. Children can read at the campfire, frolic in the waves with life-size sea creatures or get lost in a forest of fairy tales, climbing into the clouds (or iPad pods) to rest from their many adventures. The building can be commended for its commitment to otherworldliness through eccentric re-imagination of classic elements of interior architecture and furniture design.

Congratulations to all the worthy winners. For a full list of winners, please visit www.gifa.org.za.

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