The well-crafted restoration of the Buffalo Volunteer Rifles building has earned an East London architect firm the top gong in the Border-Kei Regional Award for Architecture.
The biennial award ceremony, organised by the regional office of the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA), was held last week, with a judging panel headed by celebrated East London architect Al Stratford.
The regional award is conferred on a building which the jury considers to be exemplary architecture.
The award is made by the regional institute to encourage and recognise good design or a noteworthy contribution to architecture in the region.
It may be awarded for a new building or group of buildings, a work of technological importance or the conservation and restoration of existing buildings or historic precincts.
There is no restriction on the building type, use or size and the award is also intended for small-scale alterations or interiors of exceptional quality.
The specialised restoration of the Buffalo Volunteer Rifles building on the corner of Fleet and Buffalo Streets was undertaken by Smale & Partners, East London, and was the only regional award presented.
The building, which dates back to 1906, was treated to a “detailed, carefully supervised and well-contracted” restoration by the contracting team, the SAIA stated.
“The entry was considered a commendable initiative of the state to fund the specialised restoration of a significant heritage building,” said Stratford.
He said the restoration had ensured an enhanced lifespan for the building, made good the significant erosion of the original building fabric and that the modifications and additions to the existing structure were made in a matching style.
The award-winner will now be escalated to the national SAIA awards in Johannesburg next month and, if it receives further merit, will also be up for a national award of excellence.
The adjudicators, who besides Stratford included William Martinson, Lisa Durell, Ntisindiso Nduku and Kreason Naidoo, also awarded commendations to four Eastern Cape architectural projects including the Triple Point, Beacon Bay, premises of the Daily Dispatch.
The contemporary building by Architects in Africa (AIA), was commended for “well researched principals of planning applied to the functional activities of journalism and newspaper publication”.
Also commended were the alterations and additions to Eastern Cape Motors by Intsika Architects who integrated a group of disparate existing buildings and resolved problematic level changes.
The fourth phase of St Patrick’s Hospital by TJ Architects South Coast (Pty) Ltd was praised for well-detailed pedestrian public spaces, while TCN Architects were also commended for the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (Asidi) school building projects.
Judges complimented the project for providing a large number of schools situated on extremely varied site conditions over a vast and remote rural area