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Japanese shipwreck serves as inspiration

by Madelein
Japanese shipwreck serves as inspiration

University of the Free State’s student clinches top regional architecture award

Taking inspiration from the wreck of the Japanese fishing vessel Meisho Maru No. 38, which ran aground off the Cape Agulhas coastline on 16 November 1982, has seen the University of the Free State’s Lúnell Greyling being declared the winner of the 2022 Corobrik Student Architecture Awards. She won this award for her innovative project to develop a shipwreck interpretation at Cape Agulhas to preserve forgotten shipwreck tragedies.

Unearthing local talent

Showcasing talent, creativity, innovation and inspiration, the Corobrik Student Architecture Awards are all about jump-starting careers, building the industry and designing tomorrow. Regional winners are selected from eight major universities, based on the students’ final theses. These regional winners then go through to the national round, where the top title is awarded, plus a grand prize of R70 000.

“Our relationship with the awards goes back some 35 years, and it is one that has proved to be very enlightening for Corobrik. It has added a lot of depth and enriched the architectural profession by allowing young up-and-coming architects to express themselves and show the kinds of directions they believe architecture should be going in,” comments Corobrik’s chief executive officer, Nick Booth. Since 1986, the awards have placed 34 winners on the architectural map, both in leading practices as well as their own firms.

Retelling tragedies

Lúnell explains that she was inspired by the wreck of the Japanese fishing vessel Meisho Maru No. 38. “We never think twice about the tragedies of those lost at sea. Preserving these memories is therefore important, which inspired me to write about architectural spaces that act as a stage that interprets and retells shipwreck events.”

The proposed Shipwreck Interpretation Centre, which will tap into funding from South African National Parks (SANParks), will be located right next to the Meisho Maru No. 38 and the Agulhas National Park. “The strong filmic quality of the setting inspires an intervention that builds on the experiential cinematic elements, creating architecture that tells a story,” highlights Lúnell.

Lunell – Elevations

“The centre proposes sequences of architectural mises-en-scène that articulate both the dualities between and interconnectedness within human experiences as visitors move through places and times.”

Lúnell adds: “For me, architecture becomes more than just buildings. It can inspire, educate and bring people together, bridging differences through shared spaces. Architecture that roots itself in a specific place, when it combines local and traditional craft and materials with contemporary building methods, can be meaningful and sensitive to the place and past, but bearing the future in mind. Using local skills, materials, craftsmanship and labour empowers local communities, which contributes to socio-economic development and transformation.”

Special awards

Altus – Literary Exhibition Space

Altus le Roux clinched a R6 000 prize for the best use of clay masonry for his concept of the “Litterateur’s Citadel”, a place specifically for the appreciation of literature in the Cape Town city centre that includes a variety of literary functions such as bookshops, a library and writing spaces.

The winners:

WinnerLúnell GreylingR10 000
First runner-upChrizelle LootsR  8 000
Second runner-upAmirah PatelR  6 000
Best use of clay masonryAltus le RouxR  6 000

For more information, visit www.studentawards.corobrik.co.za

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