Pushing the boundaries of design, rethinking our relationship with the environment and delivering sustainable built solutions for a future world population of 8 billion will be top of the agenda as architects from across the globe mark World Architecture Day on Monday 7 October.

To coincide with World Architecture Day the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) and AfriSam will launch the third bi -annual Award for Sustainable Architecture.

“In South Africa the number of sustainable buildings going up is alarmingly low compared to the general number of buildings being erected,” says Sindile Ngonyama, the new president of SAIA and one of the jurors for this years awards. “However in the corporate and commercial arena there is a noticeable move in this direction.”

His view is supported by last years award winners, two rural schools (Lebone II College in the North West and Vele Secondary School in Limpopo), that illustrate a way forward for sustainable design in SA.

“I am positive that, with teamwork amongst the trend setters in the built environment, and with constant education, the next decade is going to show drastic changes in our landscape, leaning towards sustainable methods of design and construction, which will lead to delightful architecture.”

The AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture recognises outstanding achievement in sustainable architecture as well as creating public awareness and debate on architectural issues. There are two entry categories – one for built work and the other for works of social importance, including research. Entries are evaluated against a range of criteria including people upliftment and planet rejuvenation.

Commented fellow juror, and one of South Africa’s foremost sustainability thinkers, Gita Goven, “We are on the threshold of huge shifts in the way development works. These require us all to raise our awareness of both human development and settlement requirements and foster a deeper understanding of how the environment can be regenerated, rather than depleted or degraded, as we address our developmental needs.”

Joining Ngonyama and Goven on the juror panel for this year’s awards are Llewellyn van Wyk, principal researcher in the built environment at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Daniel K. Irurah, senior lecturer at Wits University, Philippa Tumubweinee, senior lecturer at the Department of Architecture at the University of the Free State, Vincent Blackbeard and AfriSam’s Mike McDonald.

For AfriSam’s CEO Stephan Olivier the Awards are an important platform to drive broad issues around sustainability. “We recognise that the next decade is going to see major changes and innovations in architectural approaches to the built environment, largely driven by social development needs. Our sponsorship of these awards is our way of encouraging both established and emerging architects to focus on building in an authentically sustainable way, in both the consumer and commercial arenas.”

Entry forms for the AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture can be downloaded from www.4tmrw.co.za

Videos of last year’s finalists and winning projects can also be viewed at www.4tmrw.co.za