Eight finalists were announced for the 27th Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Award.

As climate change looms larger on the world stage, the environment has become a key part of design and material specification. Add to the mix the diverse composition of the rainbow nation and it is clear that the challenges facing the country’s architects of the future are becoming increasingly complex.

Against this background, eight top thesis students will compete for the 27th annual Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Award.

The finalists are:

University of the Free State
Wynand Viljoen’s thesis, “Raptured”, is a burial complex for the evacuees of the town Pripyat, close to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The essence of the building is to open towards the winds that spread the radio-activity, only now, after 800 years, the ashes of the people will be spread over a clean landscape.
 
University of Cape Town
Talia Gild’s entry entitled “Architecture of the Machine” is a desalination and salt harvesting plant situated in Hout Bay. She explores the machine of future water supply, since 2013 marks the year that South Africa is no longer water-secure.
 
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Mientjie van Niekerk proposes “A platform for trade and interaction” that aims to create a new town centre comprising an essential oil distillation plant as catalyst project, an informal market and a cattle trading area in Opuwo, Namibia.
 
Tshwane University of Technology
Marco du Plessis designed a healthcare and research facility for natural medicine in Hatfield, Pretoria. Since South Africa is home to a rich variety of medicinal plant species and traditional treatments are part of local cultures’ heritage, the facility is intended to formalise indigenous traditional medicine.
 
University of Johannesburg
Dylan Watkins has rescript the future of Johannesburg’s third landscape through the “Terrain Vague”, a term for abandoned spaces or former industrial areas. He identified Shaft No. 2, an isolated site between two mine dumps on the southern periphery of the Johannesburg central business district (CBD) to become a platform where knowledge can be shared.
 
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Mongezi Ncube’s entry is a “Multi-Purpose Trade Hub for Warwick, Durban”. The building’s function is to act as a support structure for informal traders who need productive space to facilitate their trade. It is configured so that almost any form of informal trade can be facilitated directly from the street.
 
University of Pretoria
Heidi van Eeden’s thesis, “Machinarium: Architecture as a living machine; a 21st century textile mill”, alludes to new ways of architectural place-making. The site at the Daspoort Treatment Works is reprogrammed as part of a new industrial ecology, which reuses waste water and other resources to produce textiles and algae-based dye.
 
University of Witwatersrand
Yvonne Brecher‘s entry proposes a “Main Reef Opera and Choral Chamber” within a former mineshaft in Boksburg. By inserting the high-end cultural world into the local soil of an exposed mining network, she connects the city above with the mines below.

The national winner will be announced and presented with a certificate and cheque for R50 000 in Johannesburg on 9 April 2014. 

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