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Pan-African architecture prize up for grabs

Pan-African architecture prize up for grabs

The first Pan-African architecture prize, the Africa Architecture Awards, will give away US$10000 to its Grand Prix winner.

The inaugural Africa Architecture Awards is noteworthy as the first dedicated Pan-African awards programme of its kind. Launched by founder Saint-Gobain, the awards aim to recognise and reward worthy projects from across the African continent.

The 2017 Africa Architecture Awards seek to acknowledge standout architectural projects that have been conceived of and/or built on the African continent, and invite entries and nominations from the industry. Anyone in the world meeting the entry criteria can enter, or be entered into the awards, as long as the project pertains to Africa.

The Grand Prix winner will receive a the money at the awards ceremony – that is in addition to the recognition and prestige of being named as the overall winner from across the continent.

A Lifetime Achiever’s Award is given at the discretion of the Master Jury. It is awarded to an architect or architects who have made a significant contribution to the professions of architecture and/or urban design over a substantial period of time.

According to Professor Lesley Lokko, who chairs the Africa Architecture Awards Steering Panel and is head of the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg, the awards present an opportunity to be an integral part of building an architectural culture that is Pan-African in its scope and ambition, but one that looks firmly towards the future.

The seven members of the Master Jury are: Anna Abengowe (Nigeria); Patti Anahory (Cape Verde); Guillaume Koffi (Cote d’Ivoire); Phill Mashabane (South Africa); Professor Mark Olweny (Uganda); Professor Edgar Pieterse (South Africa); and, Tanzeem Razak (South Africa).

“Saint-Gobain very simply wants to be the catalyst that brings African architecture and its diaspora into the global conversation, in response to the clear need for such dialogue,” said Evan Lockhart-Barker, the Managing Director of the Saint-Gobain Retail Business Development Initiative.

There is no cost to enter the awards and entries close on 30 June for all categories except the People’s Choice Award, which closes on 18 August. The Master Jury will identify a shortlist of 20 projects, four trophy winners and one Grand Prix.

The official awards ceremony is set to take on 28 September at Cape Town’s much-anticipated Zeitz MOCAA, designed by significant British architect Thomas Heatherwick, which opens to the public that very same week.

Rather than adopt the more conventional categories of other global awards programmes, the Master Jury will approach the Africa Architecture Awards through a values-based system around innovation– identity and implementation.

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SADC Correspondent

SADC correspondents are independent contributors whose work covers regional issues of southern Africa outside the immediate Namibian ambit. Ed.