SA architects abroad honored


Handré de la Rey (35) and Inge de Beer (34), two architects working at the firm DG Architects in Pretoria, have three international prizes and a special prize of just over R202 000 in the Jacques Rougerie Foundation and Institut de France won its annual architecture awards.

The Solar Cell, the duo’s pioneering project, has been labeled an “innovative model” for alternative resource provision “which gives priority to environmental conservation”.

The architect duo even received a special laboratory prize for “laboratory architecture and innovation”.

De la Rey says that the Jacques Rougerie Foundation annually offers an international architecture and innovation competition in collaboration with Unesco to recognize “exceptional projects in which nature is imitated as well as multidisciplinary architectural projects” that aim to “carbon neutral designs”. promote.

These challenging projects offer artists, architects, designers, engineers and city planners a unique opportunity to work in multidisciplinary teams and propose architecture projects focused on the climate, ocean and space.

“In 2050, we will be around ten billion people on the planet, three-quarters of whom will live along oceans and rivers. How are we going to make sure that by 2050 we have enough resources and housing available for the expected population? This was the question of this year’s competition and we had to come up with solutions for three scenarios,” says De la Rey.

“We chose to focus on sustainability in the ocean. Our intervention investigates a central city in the sea that generates alternative sources.

“Housing, production and green energy are also central to our project. The project aims to integrate natural elements, utilize the energy-saving potential of salt and sunlight, and offer a self-sustaining living space with fresh water, electricity and crop supply.

“It even aims to leave no carbon footprint at all.”

De la Rey says this is the first time they have received an international award and that they are really incredibly proud of it.

“Since 2011, when the competition was first presented, 12,000 projects have been submitted for consideration, entered by 150 countries worldwide. Only three prizes are awarded each year. We won all three this year, plus a special prize. We are incredibly proud.

“It is a great honor for us to be noticed internationally on an architectural level and we hope that we can take this project much further.”

He says the money received for the special award will be used to realize the project.

“We are going to work with a team in 2024 to design prototypes and hopefully start building.”

De la Rey says they are very excited to see that there are organizations that really want to intervene.

“We already talked to international developers and Unesco on the evening of the awards and everyone is very positive, everyone just wants to know when we will start building.”