We are proud to announce that Barend Spies from the University of Pretoria is the winner of the Boogertman + Partners Design Scholarship Award Africa 2018.

The scholarship award consists of R160 000 for further architectural study over a period of 2 years including mentorship from the team at the Boogertman+Partners practice. This year 61 portfolios were received from 11 different tertiary institutions from 6 African countries; Uganda, Kenya, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. A panel of architects within the Boogertman+Partners practice filtered through the 61 portfolios to select the 5 finalists who were then brought together in Pretoria, South Africa to compete in a 36-hour design challenge for the final award. “The real test of the 36 hour design challenge is the students ability to develop an innovative design proposal while under pressure. While consideration is given to presentation and how students work with the materials supplied, we are really seeking to award individuals who demonstrate the ability to research, conceptualise and present their ideas within a tight timeframe” says Bob van Bebber (Director, Boogertman + Partners)

The five finalists, Lorraine Cronje (Cape Peninsula University of Technology) Alexandra Edmayr, (Nelson Mandela University) Mark Kiarie (University of Nairobi) Paolo Kirsten (University of Pretoria) and Barend Spies (University of Pretoria) began their challenge on the morning of the 26th of September. The design brief they responded to was themed Afro-Loop and required for them to a design a solution that resolved a specific contextual issue linked to one of five different African train stations. The winning entry by Barend Spies had been given the Congo as location of intervention, with Health as the issue to address. After doing some research, Barend discovered that River Blindness caused by parasites in the rivers, are a major concern in Congo.His approach was to address the problem at the source - a diseased forest (Onchocersiasis) - and instead of trying to heal the people, he would try to Heal the Landscape as a preventative measure, by filtering the water and distributing uninfected water to the people to prevent the parasite from infecting more inhabitants. The idea was that his design would become one train cart in a larger system, where each cart would have a different function, be it filtering and cleaning water, treatment of people with river blindness, or carts for collection clean water. The design also interacts with its surroundings. Once they had submitted their work the students had a brief evenings rest before they presented their solutions to a panel of judges and the mentors who worked with them through the challenge, the following morning. The final decision is based on individual scores and the winner was announced on the 28th of September at an awards luncheon attended by numerous higher education institutions, representatives from architectural associations such as SACAP, SAIA, PIA and the IID, directors of Boogertman + Partners plus partners and parents of the students. “Now in it’s 5th year this Design Scholarship Awards is at a stage where it is ready to grow and potentially encompass more disciplines within the broader scope of practice within the built environment. We congratulate Barend Spies on his well won award this year and look forward to working not only with him, but other talented young professionals, as we develop the future of African cities” Dewar van Antwerpen (Director, Boogertman+Partners)