Every two years the Cape Institute for Architects holds its Awards for Architecture event. Award winners become eligible for entry into the South African Institute of Architects’ national awards held the following year.
This year saw a record total of 94 submissions. This is very close to double the number of submissions received in 2017. This incredible effort by our members is immensely encouraging. Equally encouraging is the fact that the submissions no longer reflect a dominance of private residential buildings.
There has been a significant increase in submissions representing commercial buildings, various public buildings, educational and hospitality buildings, some industrial buildings as well as three books. A number of submissions for buildings which address pressing social needs and spatial inequalities were also submitted. These commissions present the architect with a host of additional challenges which were acknowledged and considered by the panel. It is encouraging for our profession to see this work put forward and it would be tremendous to see more of this work represented in future awards.
Our panel consisted of accomplished, acclaimed, well-respected practicing architects, educators and artists.
The criteria relied upon by our panel to assess entries encompassed the broad SAIA Awards criteria of firmness, commodity, delight and ecology. In addition, our panel carefully considered how successful submissions were in achieving the declared intention of their authors. How did submissions respond to their site, climate and context? How successful and creative were responses to the specific requirements of the clients and how did this influence and intersect with the initial concepts? The very best architecture can move us, challenge our pre-conceptions and lift us to another level. Through the skillful handling of light, volume, materiality and legibility, did the submissions, regardless of size or budget, manage to produce this poetic effect?
In considering the above criteria, the 94 submissions received were shortlisted to 33 and 27 of these were visited by the panel. The ensuing discussions were exhaustive and robust and resulted in 17 submissions receiving awards and qualifying as entrants into the national awards next year. In addition to these awards the panel felt that 6 of the submissions were worthy of a regional commendation.
It is with deliberate intention that the attention of the Cape institute for Architects is directed towards quality in our built environment and in particular, the architecture we produce. This awards programme recognizes the hard work of many of our colleagues in this field and I want to thank all those who participated.