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Sustainability in building design has won Shuaib Bayat of the University of KwaZulu-Natal a place at 32nd Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Awards

Sustainable building demands architectural design that aims to minimise negative environmental impacts through efficiency and balance in the use of materials, energy and development space. It is a mindful approach to energy and ecological conservation in the creation of the built environment.

This was apparent in the designs submitted for the 32nd Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Regional Awards at the University of KwaZulu-Natal according to Dirk Meyer, Corobrik, CEO.

At this annual competition, the country’s best architectural students from eight participating universities are identified based on their final theses and presented with awards at regional events. The winners of each of the regional competitions then qualify to compete for the national title and a prize of R70 000 at the Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Awards which will be held in Johannesburg in May 2019.

Dirk Meyer presented the awards to the winning students at University of KwaZulu-Natal on Friday 23rd November 2018.     Shuaib Bayat was named the regional winner for UKZN, receiving a prize of R10 000.   Peter Harel is first runner up and Tegan Wright in third place.    Meloshan Pillay received the prize for the best use of clay masonry.

Shuaib Bayat’s thesis entitled ‘Exploring solar energy design systems in peri-urban settlements for responsive architecture’  proposes the design of a multipurpose upcycling skills centre in Cato Manor.

Bayat saId,  “I believe that having a visual stimulus in your environment is important. For example, if I’m walking down the street, I want to see an eclectic mix of buildings that I find exciting to look at rather than a row of uniform ones. Architecture fascinates me, with a desire to explore how science and technology can be used to improve the performance of buildings both socially and environmentally. Architecture has brought out the dichotomy of my personality, allowing me to engage both creatively and scientifically with the aesthetic functional aspects of design. Growing up as a kid in the coastal city of Durban, I had the privilege to study architecture at the University of KwaZulu-Natal as it was a platform to pursue my childhood dream. Studying architecture allowed me to have a deep passion for art as I began to have the thrill to be amongst those to change the skylines that form out cities. Taking on the challenge of becoming a master in architecture, enabled me to combine the strongest aspect of my personality, a fascination with functional art and design, particularly arrangements of light and space, enthusiasm for solving practical problems and also working with other people. Creativity is powerful skill, an intriguing ability evolving from our originalities and perspectives.”
In second place, Peter Harel’s thesis is a beach city surfhub for the Rivertown Precinct  located on the edge of Durban’s CBD. The iconic mixed-use building recognizes architect and theorist Bjarke Ingel’s, theory of hedonistic sustainability as the building provides infrastructural diversity for the future city of Durban with industrial, environmental and social infrastructural needs. The topic was chosen to challenge current environmental issues, by attempting to fuse architecture with the principles of surfculture to create a catalyst for dense growth as the building makes use of upcycled and recycled materials for the construction while the roof of the building extends the public realm above the city.
Tegan Wright’s thesis is entitled “Exploring Food Security as a Catalyst for the Adaptive Reuse of Architecture. Towards an Agricultural Hub in the Inner City of Durban.”
The building design is of an agricultural hub in the inner city of Durban. The dissertation explores the adaptive reuse of an existing nine storey parking structure. This topic was chosen in response to the need to better address; issues of food security; revitalize and regenerate our city; and sustainable living.

Meloshan Pillay’s thesis’s title is A Symbiosis of Bio – Diversity and Architecture: Towards a Centre for Awareness and Research in the uMngeni Precinct.   He says that  growing up in vicinity of the uMngeni Precinct, he saw industrial processes inundating the uMngeni River and its ecosystems, displacing local communities from the natural world. His architectural design responds to these issues by utilizing nature’s processes through ‘high – tech thinking’ with ‘low – tech technologies’ in creating ecological awareness and a platform for research whilst conserving the uMngeni River, its ecosystems and local communities.  Pillay chose to utilize brickwork as it challenges the industrial norm, pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved through this simple adaptive material that addresses human scale and requires more manual labour in its construct, thus creating jobs on a local level.
Meyer said that the judging process recognised the choice of sustainable building materials and the long-term implications on the environment.   Corobrik clay bricks and pavers are ‘green’ and durable, non-toxic, reusable as well as energy efficient.  As brick manufacturers in South Africa for more than a century, we can say with confidence that our clay face brick has all of these attributes as well as being aesthetically pleasing and providing a healthy and comfortable living environment.

“These are factors which aspiring architects need to consider when creating new additions to the built environment in South Africa ensuring that their projects are socially responsible as well as functional, engaging and in harmony with the surrounding landscape. The designs we are seeing demonstrate this awareness which augurs well for the future of South African architecture.”

Corobrik hosted their annual regional Architectural Awards at the University of KwaZulu-Natal on Friday 23rd November.   The event was held in the Department of Architecture.
Pictured from left to right are Professor Ernest Khalema and Juan Solis from UKZN, this year’s winner Shuaib Bayat with the model of his winning thesis, Dirk Meyer CEO of Corobrik and Lawrence Ogunsanya Academic Leader, Architecture  University of KwaZulu-Natal.