SAIA rewards prestigious architects at Maropeng

The Malapa Fossil Cave Cover and Visitors’ Platform was inspired by the human skeleton and a number of fossil shapes. Photo: SAIA

Gauteng’s architects have once again proved they can hold their own in national architectural competitions.

The architectural company of Krynauw Nel Associates (Pty) Ltd impressed the judges at this year’s Corobrik-South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) awards, with their Malapa Fossil Cave Cover and Visitors’ Platform structure, built at the Cradle of Humankind.

The structure, which received two awards, ‘effectively designed itself’, according to the architects. They said they took note of the clues the momentously important UNESCO World Heritage Site gave them, and found much of their inspiration in the nature of the scientific work done at Maropeng.

The Malapa Fossil Cave Cover and Visitors’ Platform at Maropeng received two awards from the South African Institute of Architects. Photo: SAIA

The Malapa Fossil Cave Cover and Visitors’ Platform at Maropeng received two awards from the South African Institute of Architects. Photo: SAIA

“The human skeleton became the frame of reference for this insect-like structure. Fossil shapes have been used in the finer detailing of the steel structure. This ensures that the structure offers an educational experience as well,” the architects said on submitting their entry.

A record number of 66 entries were received for this competition, from all over South Africa – the most the awards have had in their 26-year lifespan. According to Kevin Bingham, SAIA vice president, the large number of awards – 31 in total – bore testimony to the high quality of entries. The other award-winning designs included House La Lucia, in Durban, House van der Watt Waterkloof, in Pretoria, and House Pretorius, in Cape Town.

“South Africa may be remote from the world’s major cities, but architectural design in this country can hold its own with the best structures internationally,” Kevin said.

Obert Chakarisa, CEO of SAIA said, “The awards give us a snapshot of the status of architecture in the country … [W]e would have welcomed more entries [depicting] the current social issues [of] affordable housing and the redevelopment of inner cities. It was, however, encouraging to note that a large number met the sustainable design imperative.”

Read more:

Sterkfontein Caves produce two new hominin fossils

Come and meet the Beasts of the Cradle

New species of the human relative discovered in South Africa

Bianca Pindral

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