Our Mission

The AfriSam-SAIA Sustainable Design Award recognises contributions that bring sustainable innovation to both urban and rural living environments through an integrated approach to communities, planning, research, architecture, building practice, natural systems and technology. In particular, we advocate for design projects that are responsive to our social complexities, growth requirements and needs of marginalised communities in South Africa and throughout the African diaspora

We believe that in order to achieve sustainable goals across the African continent, transformation needs to be focused on integrated design approaches, teaching, thinking and practice.

Judging Criteria

To mark a decade of the awards programme, all practitioners in the built environment are invited to enter projects that respond to innovative architectural and design thinking in the field of sustainability. 

Project entries should demonstrate how they embody sound sustainable practices, that bear the hallmarks of great architectural or social design and innovative thinking in the field of sustainability, to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

Apart from recognising excellence in Sustainable Architecture and Research in Sustainability, we will also consider entries that make innovative contributions to the fields of Sustainable Products and Technology and Sustainable Social Programmes. The following five criteria will be the basis upon which each project will be judged:


  • Harmonisation
  • People Upliftment
  • New Ways of Thinking
  • Placemaking Performance
  • Leadership




Category A: Sustainable Design

A new building or group of buildings; the conservation, restoration and rehabilitation or refurbishment of existing buildings, historic precincts or areas.


Category B: Research in Sustainability

Practice-based/action research work; project or report of social importance; technical impact or research in the field of sustainability in the built environment are eligible for submission. Information submitted should be empirical in nature.


Category C: Sustainable Product/Technology

A product or technology of social impact and technical significance in the field of sustainability and the living environment with an objective of changing lives.


Category D: Sustainable Social Programmes

A project of social impact the field of sustainability and the living environment.