We showcase the winners of the sixth AfriSam- SAIA (South African Institute of Architects) Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation

Expressed success

Building for the future necessitates smart solutions and a transformation of existing construction practices. Leaders in the built environment have a significant role to play in creating new spaces that have the power to elevate, dignify and provide a better quality of life. This duty includes putting out real examples for the public to see, to make a case for sustainable architecture and why it is valuable and culturally appropriate for the African context.

AfriSam-SAIA supports design projects that are responsive to the social complexities, growth requirements and needs of marginalised communities in South Africa and throughout the African diaspora.

By working across the built environment, we can improve material efficiency, design and the re-use of buildings, as well as revisiting ancient best practices and knowledge systems that will set us on a new trajectory towards sustainability.

Speaking at the event, director of DesignSpaceAfrica and immediate past President of SAIA, Dr Luyanda Mpahlwa said the adjudicators viewed some exceptional projects of various scale and complexity. “It is evident that architecture of a high standard is being produced in the country, architecture that is commendable and internationally competitive – noting that sustainability is being given increasingly more attention by architects and their clients.”

Eben Keun, general manager of the AfriSam-SAIA event since its inception in 2009, says the growth of the award over the years bears testimony to the positive impact sustainable design can have on the planet and its most in-need communities. “The projects that were recognised this year are an exciting indication of what can be achieved when sustainability considerations are front and centre.”

Each category is judged according to five criteria: harmonisation, people upliftment, new ways of thinking, place-making performance and leadership.



A new building or group of buildings; the conservation, restoration and rehabilitation or refurbishment of existing buildings, historic precincts or areas.

Awarded projects

Wolff Architects: Vredenburg Provincial Hospital (additions to)

Architects of Justice: Thanda Early Childhood Development Centre

Meyer and Associates Architects, Urban Designers: Botha’s Halte Primary School

Frankie Pappas International: House of the Big Arch

Grosskopff Lombart Huyberechts and Associates Architects: Witklipfontein Eco Lodge

Earthworld Architects: Future Africa Campus

Douglas & Company Architects: Arklow Villa III

Gabriel Fagan Architects: Hillside Clinic

Commended projects

Tsai Design Studio: Bridges for Music Academy
Nicholas Whitcutt Architects, Kevin Mitchell Architects: Skukuza Science Leadership Initiative
Earth: Switch Architects: New Thanda School Facilities


Practice-based research work; project or report of social importance; technical
impact or research in the field of sustainability in the built environment are eligible
for submission.

Awarded project
Gauteng City-Region Observatory: Towards applying a green infrastructure approach in the region.


A product or technology of social impact and technical significance in the field
of sustainability and the living environment with an objective of changing lives.

Awarded projects
Energy Shift: PVT 1680 (Modular heat sink for solar panel)
BOXA Possibilities: BOXA Possibilities

Commended projects
The Seen Collective: The Mama Jersey
Simply Sustainable Consulting: Nchenje Homestead


A project of social impact in the field of sustainability and the living environment.

Awarded project
Hustlenomics: Access to affordable housing
Localworks: Gahinga Batwa Village (Uganda)

Commended projects
Richard Dobson Architects: Bio-efficient cookstove
Richard Dobson Architects: Pop-up micro childcare facility
The Retrade Project: Live Responsibly, while helping those in need
Nsasani Trust: Women in STEM: A science and leadership initiative

The GBCSA and +Impact magazine commend all the winners on making an impact.


Dr Luyanda Mpahlwa, immediate past President SAIA, professional architect, and adjudication panel convener

Somers Govender, practising professional architect Dr Gillian Adendorff, practising senior professional architect

Nkosinathi Manzana, past non-executive director GBCSA and executive head of Group Real Estate Services: Commercial Buildings for Standard Bank Group

Dr Philippa Tumubweinee, practising professional architect, academic and expert in sustainable architecture

Sphephelo Mhlongo, a previous winner and professional architect, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Public Works