Morris wins regional finals of architectural student awards

2018-01-17 06:01
; From left are Adri Oliphant (Corobrik), Matthew Morris and Mike Willard (Corobrik). Morris has won the NMU regional finals of the Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year competition and will represent his university at the finals in May.                  Photo:SUPPLIED

; From left are Adri Oliphant (Corobrik), Matthew Morris and Mike Willard (Corobrik). Morris has won the NMU regional finals of the Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year competition and will represent his university at the finals in May. Photo:SUPPLIED

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LOCAL student Matthew Morris recently won the Nelson Mandela University regional finals of the Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year competition.

In this annual competition, the country’s best architectural students from eight major universities are identified based on their final thesis and presented with awards throughout the year.

The winners of each of the regional competitions then go on to compete for the national title and a prize of R50 000 at the Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Awards which will be held in Johannesburg in May.

Morris’s winning entry was entitled The Design of a Decentralised Sewage Treatment Facility for a Settlement Within Bethelsdorp, Port Elizabeth.

The project concerns itself with the heavily polluted river valley system of Swartkops, where the edges are settled by people and a lack of adequate service infrastructure has led to high levels of pollution.

This unbalanced relationship between the urban and natural environments has resulted in the severe destruction of critical biodiversity zones and endangered keystone species and subsequently impacting the quality of life for the residents of the area.

The absence of formal public buildings and spaces within the community are a result of a structure supporting a minimum standard of living.

With this, the potential to address both the ecological problem as well as improving the living environments was seen through designing infrastructure with an explicit architectural intent.

The design works towards addressing settlement edge and its connection to the natural valley system while building on the underutilised congregational points within the community.

In so doing, it provides infrastructure for processing the pollution while concentrating and providing an appropriate place for community activities, making good people places and healthier and happier environments.

Speaking at the Port Elizabeth regional awards ceremony for the 31st Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Award, Corobrik area sales manager Mike Willard said that winners, such as Morris from the Nelson Mandela University (NMU), would shape the future in a world that was already transforming.

“In South Africa, the architects of tomorrow will be tasked with taking an already challenging past into a mind-boggling future that many of us have not yet even begun to understand.

“They will be the pathfinders who map out a built environment that uses the sophisticated technologies of the future to address the challenges of today that have been compounded by the shortcomings of the past,” he said.

Willard added that Corobrik was extremely proud to recognise works of excellence that would be the mainstays of the architectural map of the future.

Morris received a cheque for R8 500, while Rust van der Merwe, Chelcie Akom and Simone Joubert shared the runners-up places. A R4 500 prize for the best use of clay masonry was also presented to Ian Woolard.

Morris will represent NMU at the finals to be held in May.

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