The first Africa Architectural Award (AAA) meant to recognize and reward creative and notable architectural projects from around the continent attracted participation from 32 African countries, with more than 300 projects submitted to contest.
The event was held in Johannesburg, South Africa early October.
The award, which was founded by Saint-Gobain, an international company that designs, manufactures and distributes environmental-friendly construction materials, received international recognition as a way of promoting excellence in architectural development on the continent.
According to David Adjaye, an award-winning architect, the Africa Architecture Awards are very critical and that now is the time to promote excellence and best practice on the continent in order to bring development, in terms of the architecture that is being produced.
A steering panel led by Professor Lesley Lokko, Ambassador Phill Mashabane and advisor Zahira Asmal organized the award ceremony.
Of all the entries, AAA shortlisted 21 projects selected by the competition jury, which comprised of leading African architects and academics, namely; Anna Abengowe (Nigeria), Guillaume Koffi (Côte d’Ivoire), Professor Edgar Pieterse (South Africa), Patti Anahory (Cape Verde), Tanzeem Razak (South Africa), and Phill Mashabane (South Africa).
Evan Lockhart-Barker, MD Saint-Gobain Retail Division noted that though this was the first edition of the AAA, they believe it captured an incredible moment in time for Pan-African architecture. He added that having launched the first-ever awards of its kind, the award has seen the incredible response from architects working across the continent.
From the 21 projects, winners were chosen in 4 categories, with an overall Grand Prix winner taking home the top prize of US$10,000
The overall winner of the inaugural AAA 2017 award was Choromanski Architects, which designed the Umkhumbane Museum in South Africa. It also won a trophy in the Built category.
In the Speculative category, which had 91 entries, the trophy went to Aissata Balde from Unit 12 of the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg. Balde designed the “Territory in-Between”, a project that explores the relationship between physical and fictional spaces through familiarities in migration in Cape Verde.
Oguindare Olawale Israel was awarded a trophy in the Emerging Voices category. Israel is an architecture student at the University of Johannesburg. He submission was a unique project, The Exchange Consulate: Trading Passports for Hyper-Per formative Economic Enclaves, which investigates the economic districts in Johannesburg.
The last award was scooped by Ceica, an Angolan media house that hosts an annual architecture forum trophy in the Critical Dialogue category “Forum de arquitectura” at the Lusiada University of Angola.