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City varsity scoops another award

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The building is also unique in the way the façade has been structured, particularly the wind-driven louvre on the courtyard façade

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THE SOL Plaatje University building C002 has scooped a Highly Commended award at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin 2017.

Heather Dodd, from Savage and Dodd Architects in Johannesburg, said that the building was shortlisted in the Higher Education and Research Category and also the Best Use of Colour Category.

“Shortlisted entries were invited to Berlin to present their buildings in their categories to a panel of judges,” said Dodd.

She added that the Sol Plaatje University building was shortlisted along with projects from France, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Denmark, America, Japan, China and Germany.

“All the category winners then compete in a further round against each other and the World Building of the Year was chosen.”

Dodd believed that the Sol Plaatje University building reflected the unique culture of Kimberley and the Northern Cape and incorporated features that responded to the climatic influences of the Province.

“The building is a complex multi-functional mixed-use building encompassing a dining hall, kitchen, a variety of teaching spaces, offices, 174-room residence and retail space.

“The building is also unique in the way the façade has been structured, particularly the wind-driven louvre on the courtyard façade.

“We also focused on the user experience of the building where the students attending the university are mostly first-generation university goers and generally come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Therefore the buildings need to provide holistic nurturing environments. Sol Plaatje University is a building block of our young democracy.”

She added that they had to work with limited resources, compared to buildings that were designed in Europe and North America, which had access to more expensive materials and bigger budgets.

“There were only three built entries from Africa in the awards programme, two of these were in South Africa. The other finalist and Health Category winner was a clinic in Westbury Johannesburg.”

Cape Town’s Zeitz MOCAA, designed by Heatherwick Studio, also received a Highly Commended award for Culture – Future Projects.

Dodd stated that Savage and Dodd Architects had won many awards before while Sol Plaatje University recently won a South African Institute of Architects Northern Cape regional merit award for architecture.