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EC students take top honours in architecture awards

Home Business Management Education & Training EC students take top honours in architecture awards

TWO Eastern Cape students emerged the winners of the 2019 and 2020 Corobrik Student Architecture Awards announced at a first-ever hybrid event hosted by the company in Johannesburg recently.

The 2019 awards ceremony had to be postponed due to COVID-19 and Corobrik decided to host the 2019 and 2020 awards ceremonies together in a single exclusive event.

The eight regional winners from each year presented their theses virtually to a panel of judges in a Johannesburg studio over two days in May, following which the winners were selected. “Corobrik’s vision for the competition is to give up-and-coming architecture students a platform to showcase their architectural talent and creativity,” said CEO Nick Booth.

Company Chairman Peter du Trevou said, “I was involved with the inaugural awards 34 years ago, and it has been gratifying to see how the awards have evolved over the years”.

The 2019 winner, awarded a R70 000 prize, was GP Greyvenstein from Nelson Mandela University for his thesis entitled “The Design of a Merino Wool Processing Facility in Barkly East, Eastern Cape”. The subject was sparked by the concerning state of the rural Eastern Cape, where high-impact programmes are needed to boost agrarian reform to revive dying small towns.

“This project was so very close to my heart, as I am from that specific town. Architecture gives us a framework to actually do something. Maybe the government can invest in these small eco projects, as it is not only about buildings, but leaving a legacy,” Greyvenstein said.

A Special Merit Award for Contribution to the Built Environment, and a R25 000 prize, was awarded to Senzo Mamba from the University of Johannesburg. Mamba’s thesis, entitled “Bricolage: The architecture of waste”, proposes to turn vacant buildings into recycling factories as an alternative way to deal with waste issues within our cities. Processing materials on-site will reduce energy consumption, transportation and the carbon footprint.

The 2020 winner, who also received a R70 000 prize, was Blake Smit, again from Nelson Mandela University. Smit sought to create a dignified place for waste pickers to recycle waste within the harsh landscape of the Arlington landfill in Port Elizabeth. Waste building material and building rubble were incorporated in the form of reclaimed brick and clay products, used in unique ways within the design process.

“I just want to say thank you to my family and to Corobrik. When you get involved in such projects, it really grips you and it comes from the heart,” said Smit.

Georg van Gass, a Director at GASS Architecture Studios and a 2020 judge, added that Smit’s winning scheme embodied all the fundamentals of a Corobrik Student Architecture Awards winner. “It addressed a relevant problem in our current society and was resolved with impressive research into the problem and the site, as well as delivering an outstanding piece of architecture.”

To view the projects and presentations of the winners as well as the rest of the 2019 and 2020 finalists visit

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