an impact

Save a SPACE for Convention 2023

Think of a space, what does it look like? How does it make you feel? Is it a memory or an imagined space? GBCSA is creating a space like no other for its 16th Green Building Convention from 15 November 2023 at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town. Register your interest by email to


Leading East African architecture and engineering firm FBW Group has been appointed to the international team tasked with delivering the trailblazing Kigali Green City project in the Rwandan capital.
The transformational development is being hailed as an important milestone on the road to creating more sustainable green cities in the region. Its aim is to demonstrate that building green is “a necessity, not a luxury” and it will feature a range of initiatives, including the use of renewable energy, rainwater harvesting, wastewater management, recycling and reuse of water and sustainable transport solutions.
The project pilot should deliver 2 000 much-needed quality homes for the lower-to-middle-income brackets. Green City Kigali has been envisaged to cover the full 600ha Kinyinya Hill, a suburb of Kigali.
FBW Group, which has offices in Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, has been appointed to be the local team on the ground, delivering the key services of architecture and engineering.

Antje Eckoldt, FBW group director, says: “The pilot project will lay the ground for the design of quality,
low-carbon and resource efficient housing types suitable for various sites and density conditions and point the way towards the future for sustainable urban development.

“One of the aims of the project is to combine appropriate technologies, progressive thinking and the use of local skills and materials to show that this urban environment has everything it needs to sustain its community and for people to live green.” She adds, “At the moment we are exploring local low-carbon construction methods and materials and how they can be used to their maximum affect.

“We are also looking at ideas relating to urban farming and a green economy that will create jobs for existing and new residents on Kinyinya Hill, all based on low tech processes, on waste reduction and on circular economy principles.”

FBW is involved in a series of major projects in Rwanda. Rwanda, including delivering a masterplan for the expansion of the University of Global Health Equity and working with the International School of Kigali to create a 21st Century “green” campus in the Rwandan capital.


Vukile approves investment in sustainable backup power

Vukile Property Fund, the specialist retail property REIT (real estate investment trust), will invest around R350-million in backup power as it deploys a strategy to efficiently supplement the electricity supply to its malls.

Vukile will provide its tenants with the option of reliable solar power, which, combined with battery storage, costs less than grid power. This will also save many retailers the hefty cost of installing their own backup systems. Vukile’s new hybrid solar-battery grid-tied systems will give shopping centres at least three sources of power – solar PV, battery backup and the national grid.

These silent systems are easy to integrate into malls’ existing power networks, need little maintenance and are simple to expand. They are especially effective for shopping centres, as the busiest trading hours coincide with daylight hours when the sun can power solar PV panels. Retailers have the option to augment this further with generators for days when solar generation is constrained.
The roll-out of this project has been fast-tracked and can be achieved in about half the time required to install generators. The first phase is scheduled for completion by the end of 2023.

PV installation at Kolonnade Retail Park in Pretoria.

Waterfall City crowned World’s Best for fifth time

At the lavish annual “World’s Best” International Property Awards ceremony held at the iconic Savoy Hotel in London in February, Waterfall Management Company was awarded Best International Mixed-use Development 2022-2023 for Waterfall City.

This is the fifth time in six years that Waterfall City has beaten formidable competitors to claim the top spot. Over and above scooping this prestigious international accolade, Waterfall City also garnered the regional title of Best Mixed-use Development in Africa for the eighth time. This follows Waterfall City’s recent win of being named Best Mixed-use Development in South Africa, also for the eighth time, in October 2022 in Dubai.

SAIA inaugurates its 70th President

The South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) inaugurated Amira Osman as its 70th President at a hybrid event in February.
Tokunbo Omisore, International Union of Architects (UIA) Vice President Region V Trustee and Past President of the Africa Union of Architects, explained how Africa’s Great Green Wall, which promotes sustainable development and climate change mitigation, will feature in Copenhagen, exploring how the profession can contribute to regenerating the social ecological systems of the continent and making them more resilient in the face of climate change and degradation, all while supporting and promoting indigenous knowledge and traditional technologies.

“Our world is facing climatic challenges that are subjecting many to poverty. To survive and thrive, the architectural profession must think creatively and engage collectively in the Conference of Parties on Climate Change to address these challenges,” urged Omisore.

Osman is the South African research chair in spatial transformation (Positive Change in the Built Environment). The architectural profession has a critical role to play in the achievement of human settlements that are more equitable, beautiful, and functional, increasing opportunities and offering people a better chance at improving their lives and livelihoods, according to Osman’s SAIA Manifesto.