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UJ Graduate School of Architecture wins big at prestigious Africa Architecture Awards

Two graduates studying a Master’s degree in Architecture at the Graduate School of Architecture (GSA) within the Faculty of Arts, Design and Architecture (FADA) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) were recognised at the Africa Architecture Awards, which took place at the new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town, on Thursday, 28 September 2017.

Ms Aissata Balde outshone 90 other competitors to gain the Speculative Architecture award for conceptual design. Her project, entitled the Territory In-Between, explores the interplay between physical and imagined spaces through experiences of migration in Cape Verde, in ways that allow us to rethink our ways of understanding the state, boundaries and space.

‘A bold and inventive architectural proposition which tackles one of the most pressing global issues of our times – migration – with clarity, creativity and compassion. Aissata typifies an emerging confidence among young African architects, which the GSA is committed to encouraging and supporting. This young woman is one to watch,’ said Prof Lesley Lokko, GSA Head of School and Unit 12 Leader.

Mr Israel Ogundare Olawale was awarded the Emerging Voices prize for The Exchange Consulate: Trading Passports for Hyper-Performative Economic Enclaves – a project investigating the economic enclaves in Johannesburg city. It charts skin tone, religion, dress, food and language for each of these places.

According to Mr Thireshen Govender, Unit 14 Leader and Supervisor: “We occupy dark yet opportunistic times – yearning to make sense of how to engage our urban future as architects. Through Israel’s insightful and ground-breaking research, he reveals just what (and importantly how) the rogue undercurrents of our cities operate in order for us to get a glimpse of both problem and opportunity to foster a more grounded architectural engagement. This is the kind of pioneering project that shapes an architectural and political consciousness for generations to come.”

Winners were selected by a jury of architects and academics based across Africa. Chaired by Dr Mark Olweny, the Master Jury included Anna Abengowe from Nigeria, Guillaume Koffi from Côte d’Ivoire, Patti Anahory from Cape Verde, and Tanzeem Razak, Edgar Pieterse and Phill Mashabane who are all from South Africa.

The Africa Architecture Awards is the first dedicated Pan-African awards programme of its kind. Launched by Saint-Gobain, the awards aim to recognise and reward worthy projects from across the African continent and to create a broader awareness of the issues and opportunities inherent in the built environment through dialogue, analysis and critique.

The Africa Architecture Awards is a biennial award programme with the window for entries open for 6 months in a 24-month cycle. Throughout this biennial cycle, the Awards platform will actively promote and host opportunities for dialogue in order to build much-needed cultural capital on architecture in Africa.

Watch Mr Israel Ogundare Olawale’s presentation

Watch Ms Aissata Balde’s presentation

Emerging Voices Prize
Mr Ogundare Olawale Israel (centre) receives the Emerging Voices prize.


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