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NMU student wins annual design competition

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Zander Etienne Deysel, an architecture student at NMU, was announced the winner of the prestigious 2021 PG Bison Education Initiative.
Zander Etienne Deysel, an architecture student at NMU, was announced the winner of the prestigious 2021 PG Bison Education Initiative.

Zander Etienne Deysel, an architecture student at Nelson Mandela University, has been announced as the winner of the prestigious 2021 PG Bison Education Initiative, winning a cash prize of R50 000, and R50 000 for his lecturer, too.

This annual design competition, aimed at third-year architecture and interior design students around South Africa, has been running for 29 years and the entries are judged by a panel of industry experts.

This year’s brief was set in Cape Town and required students to create a design to develop the historical Strand Street Quarry as an attractive tourist destination and connection hub along the city’s planned Heritage Route.

Second place was scooped by Ashleigh Bennett, interior design student at IIE Vega, Durban, taking home R25 000. After intense deliberation, the 2021 judging panel decided not to award a third place this year.

“Congratulations to Zander and Ashleigh, as well as their lecturers,” said Lian Markham, communications manager at PG Bison. “We were very impressed with their submissions, which focused on creating a tourism-centred solution for the Strand Street Quarry in Cape Town. The judges felt that beyond the design elements, the winning and second-place entries also took into account the unique cultural, historical and community context of the site, which was a critical part of the brief.

“We wish them, and the rest of the finalists, well-deserved congratulations and all the best for their budding careers in architecture and interior design. We look forward to seeing the work they will produce as they enter the workplace. We hope this competition has provided a showcase for their skills and that it will unlock new opportunities for each one of them.”

An image of Zander Etienne Deysel's design, called Four Pillar Terminal – Revitalizing the Quarry.

The winning entry

Deysel is thrilled at taking the win.

“It is the highest honour that I have received up to this point and will help me to build and develop my career in architecture,” he enthused. “In terms of the cash prize, a certain amount will go towards helping with my studies and the rest will be kept for future use.”

His winning submission is called Four Pillar Terminal – Revitalizing the Quarry.

“It is specifically designed to create social spaces for human interaction, while still incorporating the terminal aspect of the building and the environment around it. The local Bo-Kaap heritage is represented by four large pillars, each colour coded in a different colour. With beautiful views to Table Mountain, Signal Hill, Lion’s Head, and the ocean, this would be a building for everyone to visit.”

Deysel said the hardest part of the brief was not being from Cape Town, which meant he was unable to physically visit the site. Nelson Mandela University has enjoyed many successes in the 1.618 Education Initiative over the years, with architecture lecturers, Donald Flint and Barry Bradley, having assisted many of their students to develop top submissions, including 2019 winner, Sanette de Villiers.

The awards experience

While the 2020 edition of the PG Bison 1.618 Education Initiative had to move online, due to COVID-19, the 2021 edition was a hybrid event.

Finalists were brought to Johannesburg for the filming of the awards ceremony, which was streamed live. Each finalist will receive a cash prize of R2 000.

The remaining eight finalists were:

  • Alexia Ausserhoffer from CAD4ALL Institute of Applied Architecture (interior design)
  • Mikayla Louw from CAD4ALL Institute of Applied Architecture (interior design)
  • Bianca de Villiers from Design Time School of Interior Design (interior design)
  • Dewan Kemp from IIE Vega Cape Town (interior design)
  • Tasmin Fourie from IIE Vega Cape Town (interior design)
  • Ivan Bester from Nelson Mandela University (architecture)
  • Joshua Baynes from Nelson Mandela University (architecture)
  • Lucky Tsotetsi from University of Johannesburg (architecture)

“Every year, the location of the winning institution becomes the location for the next year’s brief, so we are already hard at work on the 2022 brief, which will be set in Gqeberha. We look forward to announcing the new brief soon,” concluded Markham.

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