Industry & Real Estate

Saturday, 01 September 2012 18:01

Diverse entries from Bloemfontein for 2011/12 Corobrik-SAIA Awards of Merit and Awards for Excellence

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 The four entries from the Bloemfontein region for the imminent 2011/12 Corobrik-SAIA Awards of Merit and Awards for Excellence are a microcosm of the diversity prevalent in the current South African architectural landscape. The four entries are:

Raubair Hangar & Departure Lounge

Reinier Brönn Architects & Associates was commissioned by Raubex Construction to design a hanger for its newly acquired Pilatus 12 aircraft, together with a departure lounge and boardroom. This facility was to be used by the directors of the Raubex Group to serve as a hub between their local office and business destinations.

The idea was to create a customised VIP lounge where clients could have meetings and be entertained before stepping onto the plane, right off the boardroom lobby. The boardroom is strategically positioned next to the hanger, with a large picture window separating these two spaces. The hanger serves as a showroom for the aircraft. Both the lounge and the boardroom have panoramic views of the Free State landscape and the adjacent runway of the airport.

Highveld Pavilion

Situated on the Vaal River, the Highveld Pavilion is a vacation guest house and entertainment area embedded in the natural landscape. Acknowledging the beauty of the surrounding Highveld, the pavilion was designed by StudioMAS Architects and Urban Designers to be invisible, so that when indoors or out, it merges into the landscape. This invisibility is achieved through an inventive use of materials which include façade glazing, slender structural steel columns that are pulled away from the building edge and a thin roof slab.

The pavilion emphasises an interaction with the landscape. On arrival, vehicles are left behind in a circular parking area so that one walks toward the pavilion and the grounds beyond. A continuous wall blocks off the access road increasing privacy into the pavilion spaces. The façade's initial solidity prevents direct views into the bedroom spaces in the north block. This solidity dissolves immediately the pavilion is entered, allowing the user to experience the landscape through the two parallel transparent blocks and a central courtyard space.

The Fourth Raadzaal restoration

The Free State Legislature, the Fourth Raadzaal, was recently comprehensively refurbished over a 12-month period with Anton Roodt and Pieter Venter as the project architects. The internal finishes were damaged by water leaks, rising damp and in one instance, a fire. Furthermore, in order to function as the Council Chamber of the Free State Legislature, certain adjustments were necessary that inter alia include new air conditioning, audio-visual equipment, and the conversion of a number of spaces to accommodate committee rooms.

One of the most important factors that has ensured the ongoing maintenance, refurbishment and restoration of the structure, is the fact that the Fourth Raadzaal has been the seat of Government, virtually uninterrupted since its completion in 1892.

House Venter

On the domestic front, the focus in the design of the house for architects Pieter and Celeste Venter was to think beyond the constraints and existing standards of house design and construction to find a more cost effective way of building and a more efficient functioning building.

The house is situated in a rural setting and was so placed to pay homage to the largest geographical feature, a very tall and old Eucalyptus tree. The tree, lovingly called Afrika, terminates a visual axis starting at the entrance of the house and then forming the main circulation spine. The building layout was inspired by a tartan grid pattern creating service- and serviced spaces within the varying widths of the grid, allowing for extension possibilities. A central courtyard cools the building in summer and harvests rainwater.

The South African Institute of Architects Award for Excellence was introduced in 1990, and is conferred every second year where it recognises an exceptional contribution to the field of architecture. The award programme was revised in 1999, and now includes the Awards of Merit running concurrently. The Corobrik-SAIA Awards of Merit are to be conferred at a function to be held in September 2012 as part of the SAIA AZA Biennial convention which is being held in Cape Town. The panel of adjudicators for the 2011/12 Awards is being convened by the President of the Institute, Fanuel Motsepe, and consists of Peter Kidger from Corobrik and an academic architect, Philippa Tumubweinee and designer David Tlale.

The 2011/12 awards have seen a total of 55 entries, a marked increase from previous years, and significantly, the Institute received entries from two new regions – the Northern Cape Institute of Architects and the North West Province Institute of Architects.

One image is attached for each entry – kindly advise Shirley if more photos are required.

Prepared for the SA Institute of Architects

For more information, kindly contact Su Linning or Marina Meyer on 011 782 1315.  Marina Meyer's cell number is 083 231 9271.

Distributed by Shirley Williams telephone 083 303 1663 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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