Meet the 2021 finalists

It’s almost time for the PG Bison 1.618 Education Initiative 2021 awards ceremony, where our talented winner will be announced on 28 October!

Here are our top 10 finalists (in alphabetical order of institution), and a little about each one:

Alexia Ausserhoffer from CAD4ALL Institute of Applied Architecture

“I’m currently in the final theory year of the National Diploma course in Architectural Technology at CAD4ALL Institute of Applied Architecture. I enjoy the fact that the course allows me to be creative as well as analytical at the same time. I enjoy coming up with concept designs and thereon applying appropriate presentation techniques that showcase the designs. Another perk is that I am always energised as with every new project, a new challenge to creatively engage with, is presented.

“Zaha Hadid has always been one of my favourite designers/architects. Her designs beautifully showcase how certain factors have influenced the way it looks and functions and everything just flows together harmoniously.”

Mikayla Louw from CAD4ALL Institute of Applied Architecture

“As a creative individual, studying architecture has given me a chance to express my thoughts and ideas in a creative manner that I never imagined was even possible.

“My design entry is entitled Inyaniso (Truth/ Waarheid) and was premised on exploring the notions of what has given Cape Town, and in particular the Strand Street Quarry, its unique soul. The design aims to bare truth and revelations through paying homage to the past. Inyaniso, through its use of materials (both the original soul of cobblestone and the new essence of the modern) aims to produce a truthful and authentic experience for local and foreign visitors. The design connects them to the rest of Cape Town’s heritage route as well as the city’s past.”

Bianca de Villiers from Design Time School of Interior Design

“I am studying Interior Design at Design Time (PTY) Ltd, School of Interior Design based in Observatory, Cape Town and enjoy conceptualising and designing spaces and objects that are original in form and function – pushing myself to imagine and design for the future; a world that does not yet exist. 

The hardest challenge I faced with my entry was the urban planning aspect of the project, as this is something totally foreign to me. After engaging in lots of research, site visits, and finding archive photographs I managed to gain an understanding of the site, which fed into the design process and project respectively.

“My dream job is becoming an interior architectural designer. I am passionate and excited to learn a lot more about architecture broadly.”

Dewan Kemp from IIE Vega Cape Town

“I’m studying a BA in interior design at Vega School in Cape Town. Winning this competition would help me kickstart my career as a young interior designer and it would also be an honour to be able to put such an accomplishment behind my name. 

“For fun I like to get out of the apartment and give myself time and space to think about anything design-related and watch shows that deal with design and architecture. I also enjoy exploring different architecture styles in local areas of Cape Town whenever I have the time.”

“My favourite architect is Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for the way he approached designing spaces and buildings. I also have a passion for modernist architecture and what it stands for. My favourite interior designer is Axel Vervoordt for his raw style and how his designs intend to express the soul and identity of the user.”

Tasmin Fourie from IIE Vega Cape Town

“My entry was inspired by the African aloe, I grew up in the Transkei, Nelson Mandela’s homeland, which is filled with rolling hills and an abundance of aloes. When researching all destinations along the heritage route, aloes seemed to be a recurring element. This led me to explore designing a structure inspired by an aloe.

“The aloe linking to all destinations on the heritage route, I thought could make an incredible concept for the connection node. The aloe is known to bring life to dry, barren, deserted spaces, which is fitting due to the current state of the Strand Street Quarry. In nature, an aloe represents the golden ratio of design, 1:618, which was ironic because of the PG Bison Education Initiative name. An aloe is green and orange in colour, which represents SANParks’ company colours. An aloe in nature is a plant with immense healing properties, which I thought could be a metaphorical symbol of South African economic revival through infrastructure, tourism and employment for the Bo-Kaap community. The aloe is also a succulent, meaning the building is a representation of sustainability, strength and stability.

“I therefore imagined the aloe and its pivotal orange flower that protrudes beyond the spikes into the air and linked that to the design, allowing for the structure to resemble the spiky leaves of an aloe and the cable car being the pivotal centre flower that protrudes into the air.”

Ashleigh Bennett from IIE Vega Durban

“I’m studying a BA Interior Design at VEGA Durban. When I first began this project, I decided that beginning with a 3D model would be a good start. I grabbed the most ideal objects closest to me, staples, and began modelling. I quickly realised the meaning behind staple: joining, connecting, binding and healing, this was the perfect concept for the brief. This concept gave me inspiration to create a space that connects the past with the present, the locals with the tourists and brings people as well as heritage destinations together. The goal was to create a space which is an experience within itself. This was done with experiential draw cards such as Malay cuisine cooking classes and Teppanyaki style restaurant tables. Incorporating local Malay traders and making use of colour, pattern and a Cape Dutch architecture style in a contemporary way merged the past with the present. The building design is reflective of the quarry site by making use of raw stone to merge with the land. My ideas centre around uplifting, healing and breathing new life to Bo-Kaap, the community and the heritage route.

“Being chosen as a top 10 finalist is already such an honour and opens so many doors. If I do win, I look forward to the exposure from PG Bison and the opportunities to work in a well- respected firm. I would invest the prize money in either furthering my education or using it as seed money for a young start-up interior design firm that offers user-centred design while taking sustainability into consideration.”

Ivan Bester from Nelson Mandela University

“I am currently a third-year student studying a Bachelor of Architectural Studies at Nelson Mandela University. The part that I enjoy the most, is the fact that architecture is a never-ending exploration of new ideas and un-answered questions. It allows total creative freedom for you to express yourself through design.

“I really admire the work of British architect, Will Alsop. He believed that design should not be unimaginative, it should be an exploration of new possibilities.

To me, a dream job is quite difficult to determine because it is more about the aim you want to achieve in your job. Personally, this aim is to influence others to explore creativity and un-answered questions, always pushing the boundaries with ideas. If I could ever achieve this in the slightest form, it would be equivalent to my dream job.”

Joshua Baynes from Nelson Mandela University

“I am currently studying my Advanced Diploma in Architectural Design at Nelson Mandela University. 

“My entry tackles the circumstances of Strand Street Quarry’s despair. I explore how architecture can become the solution for the Quarry and the community by encouraging flexibly for the future. I am aware that there have been proposals for the quarry that has not been welcomed by the Bo- Kaap community. Therefore, the hardest part was to design a proposal that would win the community’s approval. In my mind, adaptability for the community was the answer to this concern. 

“I think my entry stands out as it directly addresses the future of the Quarry and does not come to a halt when realised. My entry falls in line with an ever-changing world which in essence becomes a proposal that prioritises itself to adapt to the Bo-Kaap and not the other way around. “

Zander Etienne Deysel from Nelson Mandela University 

“Currently I am studying Advanced Diploma in Architectural Design at Nelson Mandela University. Personally, I enjoy the course the most when receiving an interesting design brief that allows for the designing of a unique and innovative building that challenges us as students to complete the project to the best of our capabilities. 

“The hardest part of the brief for me was that I am not from Cape Town and because of this I was not able to physically see the context and understand the local heritage. This made it tricky to design a functional building that was sensitive to its context and integrated the local Bo-Kaap heritage and community.

“My dream job one day is to be the director of my own firm, but to start off I would like to have a job that allows me to build up experience and then allow me to manage a team. It would also be amazing to increase my own knowledge of designing by learning from architects who have been in the field of study a lot longer than I have.”

Lucky Tsotetsi from University of Johannesburg

“I’m an Architecture student at the University of Johannesburg. Apart from the obvious creative aspects of design and architecture, creating pretty drawings and the physicality of making models, I like that you learn something new every day.  And architecture more specifically touches on politics, economics, nature, science, history, the current and future… you need to know a little about everything really. 

“As someone in Joburg, that hasn’t been to the site or Cape Town for that matter, designing for the site required quite a bit of research about the city, the quarry’s importance and history. But also, the culture of the surrounding area, which I thought was important, because when the tourists are gone and the cable car is parked, those are the people that will interact with place on a daily basis. So, it was important to design for the community too, probably even first.

“I strongly believe we need to learn to build around nature. We can’t keep building concrete boxes everywhere that displace nature. With my entry I tried to pay respect to the quarry and what it’s done for the city, and asking it for one last favour (the buildings are meant to be built with stone excavated from the quarry). And by making the roof an accessible park or garden, I tried to not only embrace nature but also what people have built by giving the public access to views of the city, Table Mountain. Something which only the quarry can do due to its relatively high position.”