Nestled in the leafy area of Bishops Court is House Burnett Prinsloo, a structure that won acclaim in the Afrisam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture and Innovation for 2017/18.

The building is one of two pieces of architecture in the Western Cape acknowledged for their sustainability efforts at the Afrisam-SAIA Awards held at the Zeitz MOCAA. The awards focus on environmentally-conscious infrastructure and design.

Afrisam Raw Materials and Sustainability Manager Niraksha Singh explains the awards have showcased  the possibility of moving towards an eco-friendly infrastructure.

“The recipients of the various awards have demonstrated that if we each take responsibility in shifting our own behaviour, we can trigger the type of change that is necessary to achieve sustainability for human other organisms on our planet. They have taught us that we can change our planet, our environment and our humanity every day, every year, every decade, and every millennium,” Singh says. 

House Burnett Prinsloo was designed by Robert de Jager architects and received recognition in category A for its sustainable architecture. The house forms a balance between the contrast of concrete and nature.

Afrisam/ Robert de Jager architects

Owner and founder of the architecture firm, de Jager himself, speaks about the idea behind the structure’s design.

“As humans are we part of nature and the answer is obviously yes. You realize there is a disjunction in current consciousness about us not being part of nature and it is just to make that small mental adjustment to realise that everything needs to be sustainable,” says de Jager.

Afrisam/ Robert de Jager architects

The building is optimized to be light on energy use as well as comfortable through all seasons.

Afrisam/ Robert de Jager architects

The home offers a serene escape from the city.

Afrisam/ Robert de Jager architects

The other structure commended highly for its sustainable design is located in Khayelitsha and was further recognised for bringing a governmental service to the local community, uplifting people and providing easy access to information.

Designed by ACG architects and development planners in partnership with Ngonyama Okpanum associates, the structure offers a sustainable mechanism within a area considered ‘rural’.

Afrisam/ ACG architects

Architect and Development planner Ilham Gabier explains the building goes beyond societal norms.

“The idea or the notion that sustainability is for the rich, is I think negated in this building,” says Gabier.

40% of the budget spent on the construction was used to employ local suppliers and contractors to create more job opportunities in the area.

A total of nine projects were awarded from a shortlist of 14 entrants who were required to follow a dictated criteria covering harmonisation, upliftment of people, evolutionary paradigm and place-making performance.

Entrants also had to demonstrate viable practices that display innovative architecture design in the field of sustainability.

The president of the South African Institute of Architecture Maryke Cronje, comments on the importance of being ecologically conscious and how it is developing in society.

“In 2009 when the award program was conceived, sustainability still seemed like an architectural style. Today, no development can happen without it,” said Cronje.

 

Picture: Afrisam Sustainable Architecture awards

Article written by

Ishani Chetty

Ishani is a vegetarian who is passionate about social issues, the environment and current affairs.