Posted: 05 October 2017

Two GSA students take top prizes at the inaugural Africa Architecture Awards, held on 28 September 2017 at the newly-opened Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town!

Credit: Ogundare Olawale Israel, Unit 14     

The inaugural Africa Architecture Awards took place at the Thomas Heatherwick-designed Zeitz MOCAA – a building set to become the world's most important exhibition space for African art. As patron for the awards, British architect Sir David Adjaye described the programme as ‘very critical’ in recognising the emergence of architecturally significant projects on the continent.

‘Now is the time to promote excellence and best practice on the continent,’ said Adjaye. ‘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.’

As a testament to this growth, the awards received entries from 307 projects across 32 African countries, far outstripping the original expectations of 150 entries from 20 African countries.

Winners were selected by a jury of architects and academics based across Africa. Chaired by Mark Olweny, it 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. 

Credit: Aissata Balde, Unit 12

Winners were also announced in four categories, recognising conceptual design, emerging talent, built work, as well as projects that engage in critical thinking about architecture.

GSA student Aisha Balde beat 90 other competitors to gain the Speculative award for conceptual design. Called The Territory In-Between, Balde's project imagines a pitstop for immigrants arriving on Cabo Verde, an archipelago off Africa, including a crematorium, a bathhouse, a fish farm and a desalination buoy.

A second GSA student, Ogundare Olawale Israel was given the Emerging Talent 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.

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