Winners of First-Ever Africa Architecture Awards Announced

Winners of First-Ever Africa Architecture Awards Announced, Grand Prix winner: Umkhumbane Museum, South Africa / Choromanski Architects. Image Courtesy of Africa Architecture Awards
Grand Prix winner: Umkhumbane Museum, South Africa / Choromanski Architects. Image Courtesy of Africa Architecture Awards

The winners of the inaugural Africa Architecture Awards have been announced. Established by St. Gobain with the goal of “stimulating conversations about African architecture as it cements its place in a global continuum,” the event represents the first ever Pan-African awards program of its kind, with more than 300 projects from 32 African nations being considered by a steering panel led by Professor Lesley Lokko, ambassador Phill Mashabane, advisor Zahira Asmal, and architect David Adjaye.

“The Africa Architecture Awards are very critical,” said Adjaye. “Now is the time to promote excellence and best practice on the continent. The Africa Architecture Awards are particularly important because this is the moment that a lot is happening on the continent in terms of development, in terms of the architecture that’s being produced.”

Grand Prix winner: Umkhumbane Museum, South Africa / Choromanski Architects. Image Courtesy of Africa Architecture AwardsGrand Prix winner: Umkhumbane Museum, South Africa / Choromanski Architects. Image Courtesy of Africa Architecture AwardsGrand Prix winner: Umkhumbane Museum, South Africa / Choromanski Architects. Image Courtesy of Africa Architecture AwardsWinners of First-Ever Africa Architecture Awards Announced+ 14

An initial shortlist of 21 projects was chosen earlier in 2017 by the competition jury, which comprised leading African architects and academics including Anna Abengowe (Nigeria), Guillaume Koffi (Côte d’Ivoire), Professor Edgar Pieterse (South Africa), Patti Anahory (Cape Verde), Tanzeem Razak (South Africa), and Phill Mashabane (South Africa).

From those 21 projects, winners were chosen in 4 categories, with an overall Grand Prix winner taking home the top prize of $10,000 USD. Find the list of winners below.

Built and Grand Prix Winner

Umkhumbane Museum, South Africa / Choromanski Architects

[The Umkhumbane Museum] provides the opportunity for contemporary culture and powerful heritage to converge, serving as a tool for social, economic and ecological regeneration. As part of a broader urban strategy, the site seeks to activate and network various cultural nodes within the community of Cato Manor through community involvement, local artists and leaders.

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Grand Prix winner: Umkhumbane Museum, South Africa / Choromanski Architects. Image Courtesy of Africa Architecture Awards

Grand Prix winner: Umkhumbane Museum, South Africa / Choromanski Architects. Image Courtesy of Africa Architecture Awards

The urban strategy aims to use technology and public space innovatively to access, network and enhance the culture, serving as a tool for community members to leverage in the co-creation of today’s Umkhumbane Culture. The stories of Umkhumbane in the 1940s were example of diversity and community during apartheid. Cato Manor today could provide much needed stories of regeneration and redress in South Africa.

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Grand Prix winner: Umkhumbane Museum, South Africa / Choromanski Architects. Image Courtesy of Africa Architecture Awards

Grand Prix winner: Umkhumbane Museum, South Africa / Choromanski Architects. Image Courtesy of Africa Architecture Awards

Critical Dialogue

Forum de Arquitectura / CEICA, Angola

“Fórum de Arquitectura” (which means Architecture Forum) is an annual event that takes place in October, in the historical heart of the city of Luanda, where it is located at the Lusíada University of Angola. It began in 2006, as part of the activities of the Department of Architecture and restricted to its teachers and students. Today, after years of continuous battles and perseverance, it can be said that it is the largest academic event in the area in Angola, which celebrates not only Architecture, but also everything that surrounds it. It raises debate on several disciplines, promotes interchange between universities at international level, has developed, over the years, own identity, and established a tradition in the angolan academic world.

Speculative

The Territory In-between, Cape Verde / Guinea’s Aissata Balde, Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg

We live in an era of unprecedented migration. According to the UNHCR, the world is currently experiencing more human displacement and migration than after World War I. This project explores the interplay between physical and imagined spaces, through the fluidity and stasis of human mobility in Cape Verde in ways that allow us to rethink our ways of understanding the state, boundaries and space.

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Courtesy of Africa Architecture Awards

Courtesy of Africa Architecture Awards

Emerging Voices

The Exchange Consulate: Trading Passports for Hyper-Performative Economic Enclaves, South Africa/ Nigerian student Ogundare Olawale Israel of the Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg

Located in the CBD of Johannesburg City and known to only the elite few, otherwise considered as the ‘outsiders or travellers”, lies a hidden architecture created by economic enclaves for ‘informal’ residents of the city including foreign migrants.These enclaves are organised activities, conducted by minority groups in order to maintain strong boundaries and a sense of identity within places they find themselves. Through these enclaves, migrants in Johannesburg city are able to access and obtain social and economic benefits that sustain their stay within the city.

In this, we discover the existence of a “neo” form of “passport” that determines when and how enclaves of Johannesburg city are accessed by migrants. These passports are in different forms ranging from ethic group, to language, to cultural beliefs and apparel. By way of appearance, a migrant urban dweller for example is able to have access to work opportunities within a particular space in the city. This access comes by way of identity, acceptance and a sense of belonging for the migrant, and trust and reliability for those providing the opportunity. We therefore find apparel to be one of the many passports used by those otherwise considered “outsiders”.

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Courtesy of Africa Architecture Awards

Courtesy of Africa Architecture Awards

“Although this is only the first edition of the Africa Architecture Awards, we believe we have captured an incredible moment in time for Pan-African architecture,” commented MD of Saint-Gobain Retail Division, Evan Lockhart-Barker. “Having launched the first-ever awards of its kind, we’ve seen the incredible response from architects working across the continent. The values and aspirations displayed in the awards have led to incredible insights about the continent and its shape-shifting ways.”

“Yet we still have a way to go to write our own story about architecture and its role here. Africa is indeed rising… but due to the continent’s resourcefulness and complex regional identities, we’ve already learnt that our awards programme requires even more diversity to capture Africa and all its spectrums. We look to future editions of the awards to achieve this.”

More information about the awards can be found on the official website, here.

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Hariri Pontarini Architects Unveil Waterfront Skyscraper Development for Toronto

Courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects
Courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects

Hariri Pontarini Architects and Pinnacle International have unveiled the design of three glassy skyscrapers that will make up a new development on the Toronto waterfront.

Known as One Yonge, the complex will consist of over 4 million square feet of mixed-use space spread across five new buildings and a total renovation of the existing Toronto Star building.

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Courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects

Courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects

On the northern side of the site, three residential towers capping out at 95, 80 and 65 stories will comprise hotel, affordable housing, retail and a community center. The southern block will be more commercial-oriented, with two new office towers and the reclad Toronto Star building.

The development will connect to the Toronto’s underground pedestrian system, the PATH, as well as public transportation and simple, safe pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure.

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Courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects

Courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects
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Courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects

Courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects

“We are looking forward to developing this landmark community on Toronto’s revitalized waterfront”, said Micheal De Cotiis, President and CEO of Pinnacle Internationa.

The first phase will encompass the 65-story tower, and which is expected to break onto the market in the next few months, with subsequent phases to follow.

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Courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects

Courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects
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Hariri Pontarini Architects Unveil Waterfront Skyscraper Development for Toronto, Courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects

Courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects

8 Emerging Architects Create an Unexpected Playful Contrast for Greenwich’s Design District

8 Emerging Architects Create an Unexpected Playful Contrast for Greenwich's Design District, Courtesy of Knight Dragon
Courtesy of Knight Dragon

The Greenwich Design District is the next phase in London‘s largest single regeneration project – a new creative hub providing affordable workspaces and studios. Eight up and coming architecture practices have ‘blindly’ designed two buildings each, independently from one and other. The result is an amalgamation of ‘architectural anarchy’ and a ‘neighborhood of playful contrasts.’

Urban developers Knight Dragon are coordinating the entire development of Greenwich Peninsula, celebrating the diversity of art, design, technology, music, and food industries that this innovative district will be the home of. The mix of architecture stays true to the ideals of the district, presenting a provocative front of ‘unexpected contrasts’ brought together by the same natural paving throughout the pedestrianized quarter designed by Schulze+Grassov to encourage communication and interaction between the public.

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Courtesy of Knight Dragon

Courtesy of Knight Dragon

Open studios are set around a large public square with workshop space starting at £10 per square foot, allowing the creative economy to grow whilst the businesses trade and intersect. As well as the studios for 1,800 of London‘s creatives, the district will host a market hall, basketball terrace on the roof and retail spaces for the work produced in the district.

The architecture firms that were involved are listed below:

Mole Architects

Inspired by the male and female figures, Mole Architects play with the robust and delicate metal exteriors as one building is clad with CorTen weathered steel and the other is finished with iridescent paint whilst being equally sensitive on the interior with exposed beams and warm wooden ceilings.

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Courtesy of Knight Dragon

Courtesy of Knight Dragon

Adam Khan Architects

The rawness of the nearby construction sites influenced these two buildings to exemplify the roughness of semi-completed forms. The architects’ exploration into raw beauty juxtaposes the tranquil interior for concentration and calmness.

6a Architects

These two buildings are a ‘pair of un-identical twins’ that form similarities around the cut-out viewpoints in the rectangular form and ‘colored blockwork on the concrete frame’. On the lower levels, there are larger spaces which lend themselves to the narrower studio space on top.

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Courtesy of Knight Dragon

Courtesy of Knight Dragon

Architecture 00

Social interaction is key in these designs, integrating large flexible spaces that can adapt to suit the inhabitants as well as leisure activities such as the basketball court on the roof terrace and pop-up bar. The contact with the public is further prompted by an external staircase that can be accessed at all times.

Barozzi / Veiga

Designed for the artists, photographers, and sculptors, the building is clad in a polished aluminum. Based on the time of day or year, the reflection is everchanging and brightens the surrounding area.

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Courtesy of Knight Dragon

Courtesy of Knight Dragon

Selgas Cano

Introducing nature into their buildings, their transparent market hall is caterpillar-shaped and filled with trees and foliage for visitors to sit and eat amongst. A winter garden adorns their second building to create a calm entrance for the workers and anyone else.

Assemblage

Both buildings have a crisp, outer exterior undulating in either a vertical or horizontal formation, capturing the views based around each. An informal aesthetic is created from the unexpected twists and forms of the shell of the building whilst the white visual keeps it sleek.

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Courtesy of Knight Dragon

Courtesy of Knight Dragon

David Kohn Architects

Traditionally built with red bricks, a green metal grid surrounds both the buildings which refer to the celebrated British architect James Stirling. One building hosts an illuminated sign on the roof whilst the other has a roof terrace overlooking the central park and will bear six new sculptures commissioned every year.

The Design District is only a small phase in the overall Greenwich Peninsula regeneration but will feature in the center by the O2 arena and North Greenwich tube station. The entire £8.4billion transformation will create 15,720 new homes in 7 new neighborhoods, lining 1.6 miles of the River Thames. Calatravahas also designed a new mixed-used tube station as part of the project.

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Courtesy of Knight Dragon

Courtesy of Knight Dragon

News ViaKnight Dragon.

Which Computer Is the Best for Architects and Architecture Students?

Buying “the perfect computer” comes with equal parts indecision and excitement—we put in hours of research, weigh brands, compare specs, read product reviews, and ask around for advice and suggestions. For the uninitiated, it often means wading through lots of technical jargon. i7? Intel? SSD? Quad-core? For others, it may mean being spoilt for choice and finding it difficult to shortlist options. Architect, writer, and entrepreneur Eric Reinholdt’s latest video on his YouTube channel 30X40 Design Workshop tackles the tricky subject of choosing the right computer for architecture, breaking the topic down into 6 simple steps.

So what’s the best choice for you if you’re an architect, architecture student, draftsperson, or someone whose work demands similar computer specs? Reinholdt himself prefers using a 27-inch iMac but stresses how both Windows and Mac systems are equally reliable; choosing either of the two should be dependent on your budget, which software you use on a daily basis, and how adaptable or “future-proofed” you want your computer to be.

But when it comes to choosing between a desktop and laptop, he’s quick to point out that for many it’s best to buy the latter, especially if you’re a student. Architects travel often—be it a site visit, field work, client meeting, or other remote project—and a laptop’s portability is convenient. Portable, however, doesn’t have to mean light-weight. A powerful CPU, a 15-inch or 17-inch screen (the bigger the better!), and upgraded hardware comes with a bit of weight, which is an acceptable compromise to make.

And what about all the hardware-related specs that you need to get right? Thankfully, the video makes all of these less complicated to understand as well. From pixel density, RAM, drives and graphics cards, to differences between cores and single- and multi-threaded tasks, Reinholdt sums it all up neatly. Perhaps the process of buying your next computer won’t be as complicated as you thought it would be: watch the 14-minute video above for the full discussion.

Is this the “Best Drone for Architects”?

Architect and author of the Architect + Entrepreneur book series Eric Reinholdt recently released a videodetailing the results of his research into the best drone for architects and designers. The drone he chose is the Mavic Pro from DJI, which he says balances multiple factors like cost, portability, camera quality, stability, ease of operation, and flight time. The only major negative Reinholdt mentions is the camera’s fixed aperture; he recommends counteracting this by purchasing neutral density filters, which help adjust the camera’s exposure. But why architects? Reinholdt mentions the variety of possible uses for a drone throughout a project, but most importantly, he sees video as the future of telling the story of architecture. Through video, you can simulate a user’s movement through spaces and mimic the experience of architecture.

Beginning with site analysis, a drone can be useful for aerial views, sightline analysis, and even topography mapping, which can be done by combining your drone with an app. During the construction phase, drone footage can be used to share progress with faraway clients or to check progress in less-easily-accessible areas, such as roofs. Other drone possibilities for the future include urban planning and traffic pattern analysis, investigation into otherwise inaccessible disaster areas, and even material delivery or construction tasks, in Reinholdt’s opinion.

On the pragmatic side of things, Reinholdt covers some necessary laws you should be aware of if you plan on flying a drone, including where flying is allowing and when. Thankfully the DJI app uses geofencing to ensure you don’t go out of bounds. Reinholdt recommends other apps useful for aspiring drone pilots, including Airmap, another app for determining where you’re allowed to fly, weather apps that show when conditions are favorable for drone flying, and Sunseeker, which allows you to track when and where the sun will be on your site to help you plan your videography. Watch the video above for Reinholdt’s full analysis of the strengths of the Mavic Pro and his advice on how to get started with a drone.

New approaches to material, fabrication, and design on display at CCA’s “Designing Material Innovation”

'Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab' by CCA/Digital Craft Lab.

“Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab” by CCA/Digital Craft Lab.

Beginning tomorrow, the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, will host Designing Material Innovationan exhibition being held on the College’s Back Lot—soon to be converted into their new campus by Studio Gang—which will put on display new approaches to material, fabrication, and design. Created through collaborations between architects and industry partners, the works combine technological innovation in materials research and fabrication with aesthetic and ethical approaches to form and appearance.

“Confetti Urbanism” by Clark Thenhaus.
“Thinness” by Aptum Architecture.

The exhibition, and accompanying symposium, has been organized by Taubman’s new dean Jonathan Massey and will feature five full-scale architectural prototypes and pavilions by CCA Digital Craft Lab, APTUM Architecture, Matter Design with M.I.T. Architecture, and T+E+A+M. Design of the exhibition has been carried out by Clark Thenhaus of Endemic Architectureand features a “confetti urbanism” that rearranges the existing furnishings of the Back Lot.

Courtesy of Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

The show will be on view tomorrow, September 28th, through December 22, 2017. The symposium will be held October 26-27th, 2017 complete with keynote, reception, presentations and panels.

California College of the Arts
1111 8th Street, San Francisco

UAE Announces $140 Million BIG-Designed Mars Science City

UAE Announces $140 Million BIG-Designed Mars Science City , Courtesy of Dubai Media Office
Courtesy of Dubai Media Office

The government of the United Arab Emirates has announced the launch of the Mars Science City project, a $140 Million USD (AED 500 million) research city that will serve as a “viable and realistic model” for the simulation of human occupation of the martian landscape. Designed by a team of Emirati scientists, engineers and designers from the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in partnership with Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the 1.9 million-square-foot domed structure will become the largest space simulation city ever constructed.

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Courtesy of Dubai Media Office

Courtesy of Dubai Media Office

Mars Science City will house a variety of program pieces for both researchers and visitors, including laboratories for the study of food, energy and water; landscapes for agricultural testing and food security studies; and a museum celebrating humanity’s greatest space achievements and educating visitors on the city’s research. Utilizing one of the techniques currently considered for Mars habitat construction, the walls of the museum will be 3D printed using sand from the Emirati desert.

Laboratory spaces will be outfitted with advanced technologies allowing researchers to test construction and living strategies under specific Martian heat and radiation levels. Plans for the city include an experimental living scenario in which a team will attempt to live within the constructed environment for a full year.

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Courtesy of Dubai Media Office

Courtesy of Dubai Media Office
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Courtesy of Dubai Media Office

Courtesy of Dubai Media Office

“The UAE is a great country with vision and understanding of the challenges we face and the rapid changes our world is experiencing,” said Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. “We believe in the potential of space exploration, and in collaborating with global partners and leaders in order to harness the findings of this research and movement that seeks to meet people’s needs and improve quality of life on earth.”

News via Dubai Media Office