UJ student snatches regional architecture award with a clay brick-making thesis

What if the power of thought could power solutions? At a click of a button, information or data is gathered and analysed to reveal unique patterns. These unique patterns are harnessed to provide innovative solutions that could lay the foundation of a smart city- a city that works efficiently for its people. Tunohole Mungoba Elao Martin, a Masters graduate from the Faculty of Arts, Design and Architecture (FADA), at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has layered this foundation as the regional winner of the Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Award 2019 on 16 January 2019.

In this annual competition, the country’s best architectural students from major universities are identified based on their final thesis and presented with awards throughout the year. Martin received R10 000 and will be among eight young architects from key universities around the country who will be recognised for their talent and innovation throughout this year.

“The award has been running for 32 years and my masters’ thesis titled ‘Re-imagining Kitintale’s landscape through clay brick making’, won the regional Corobrik award,” said Martin. Kitintale is situated in Kampala, Uganda.

“I hope my award will attract the interest of top architecture firms in Namibia and South Africa, possibly even further beyond. After completing the required training and statutory examinations to register as a professional architect, I hope to make a positive mark on the building environment,” he said.

“I also want to work to create an international reputation in order to contribute to the export of Namibian skills and services, and potentially create job opportunities for other young Namibians in the field.”

According to Martin, the biggest challenges he faced during his journey were the same faced by most young people pursuing a career in architecture, such as the high costs of education, and more recently, the negative growth in the economy.

“This will mean fewer opportunities for graduates and young professionals. I do, however, look to the future with optimism and look forward to a fulfilling and rewarding career in the field, for myself and others,” concluded Martin.

Martin will represent UJ at the national awards against the other South African universities’ top students later this year in Johannesburg. The winners of each regional competition will then go head-to-head for the national Architectural Student of the Year Award and prize money of R70 000. The national winner will be announced in Johannesburg on 8 May.

Born in Anamulenge village in northern Namibia, Martin was raised by his single mother in Windhoek. He completed his secondary education at Concordia College in Windhoek, before beginning his studies in architecture at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust), where he obtained bachelors and honours degrees. Martin then relocated to South Africa to pursue a masters’ degree in architecture at the University of Johannesburg’s prestigious Graduate School of Architecture.

UJ congratulates Martin and his supervisors, who constructed the impressive stand at this year’s awards.

Uj Students Awards
Pictured at the award ceremony, from left to right: In third place, Jean-Mari Steyn, the winner Elao Martin, Ruby Mungoshi who received the award for the best use of clay brick and Steven Moore who received second place.
Photo Credit: Photo obtained from iAfrica website.
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