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Southern Africa’s Top Architecture Student Crowned for New Vision for District Six!

At a dedicated event held at the Architecture ZA (AZA) Conference at 012 Central, Pretoria, on Friday 4 May 2018, 22-year-old student Roark Robinson was crowned the winner of this year’s PPC Imaginarium Award for Architecture and received a R50 000 cash prize! The PPC Imaginarium Award for Architecture has replaced the Des Baker Award for outstanding student design, making Robinson – who hails from the University of Cape Town – the top architecture student in Southern Africa. Robinson’s winning project envisages a “public, connective architecture” for a District Six of the future.

In addition to sponsoring the PPC Imaginarium Awards, PPC is also a long-standing key sponsor of AZA, Africa’s premier urban festival of architecture. The focus of this year’s AZA included issues related to culture, human settlement and environmental potential. It was thus a fitting backdrop on which to bestow the PPC Imaginarium Award for Architecture.

Architecture schools across Southern Africa were invited to submit works by final-year students for consideration. All 21 finalists’ projects were on exhibition at the 012 Central Gallery as part of the AZA programme. In keeping with the AZA’s theme of resilience and memory, entrants were asked to locate a ‘hole’ in urban infrastructure caused by rapid growth and change, and to contribute to spatial transformation by addressing connections between the community’s memory and resilience.

The entries were judged at the AZA by an international panel of architects, some of whom formed part of the AZA speaker line-up. The judges included:

  • Hermann Kamte, Cameroonian architect and founder of the award-winning firm HKA | Herman Kamte & Associates;
  • Prolific Chilean architect Enrique Browne, who co-founded Browne & Swett Arquitectos and is a respected writer and designer;
  • Maria Fernanda Derntl, author and professor at the University of Brasilia;
  • Award-winning architect Nadia Tromp of Ntsika Architecture; and,
  • Award-winning studioMAS architect Heidi Boulanger (van Eeden)

The judges chose Robinson’s proposed Artisan Centre for District Six in Cape Town as the overall winner. According to this budding young architect: “District Six stands vacant and scarred as one of the greatest exhibitions of Apartheid era planning reinforcement. As one of the pioneering redevelopments of the area, the building aims to set a precedent for future developments, encouraging acts of public, connective architecture and creating the first framed public space in the area.”

Fellow UCT students Anna Stelzner and Ilaena Napier were declared the runners-up and received a cash prize of R20 000. Two additional commendations were bestowed on the entries of Nelson Mandela University students Robert Duvenage and GP Greyvenstein.

Now that the AZA has concluded, Robinson’s winning project will join the national travelling exhibition of the PPC Imaginarium Awards, which includes all category winners across fashion, sculpture, jewellery, film and industrial design. The PPC Imaginarium Awards travelling exhibition will be at the AVA Gallery in Cape Town from 17 May – 6 June 2018. Thereafter, the show will visit the Turbine Art Fair (12-15 July 2018) and 100% Design South Africa (8-13 August 2018).

The PPC Imaginarium Awards is South Africa’s most supportive arts and design competition for emerging creatives. The BASA award-winning initiative encourages up-and-coming creatives to produce innovative designs from concrete. The 2018 round of the competition witnessed a record number of finalists chosen out of the six entry categories, namely, film, fashion, sculpture, jewellery, industrial design and architecture. The PPC Imaginarium Awards has now extended its reach from South Africa to Zimbabwe, and is running its first PPC Imaginarium Awards in Zimbabwe in 2018.

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