Architecture Students Win at Regional Corobrik Awards

Three Master’s in Architecture students – Mr. Kreolin Naicker, Mr. Sachin Roy, and Mr. Karan Sunthpaul – were prize winners at the 36th Corobrik Student Architecture awards ceremony held at UKZN.

Naicker, supervised by Mr. Juan Solis, won the top award and will go on to compete nationally in Johannesburg in May against winners from eight other South African universities. ‘Winning this award is a huge achievement for me and I am proud of the work I produced,’ he said.

Naicker’s award-winning research explored water security through architecture, developing architectural principles of a Learning Centre in Durban. The aim was to change public perceptions of water through multi-sensory experiences using the treatment process. The design merges learning with leisure along the harbor to alleviate water scarcity and increase water awareness.

First runner-up Roy, supervised by Professor Yashaen Luckan, said: ‘I am happy all the hard work I put into the project is being recognized. I have a strong sense of accomplishment that my work is able to contribute to new knowledge creation and will be beneficial to others.’

His project explored the impact urban decay has on the contemporary users in the inner city and how decaying spaces that negatively impact these users and the vitality of the inner city can be transformed through architecture to enhance the vitality of the inner-city context. Roy says this is done through inclusive design and reconnecting the urban fabric which has become disconnected through the development of decaying and lost spaces.

Second runner-up Sunthpaul, supervised by Dr. Viloshin Govender, said: ‘Being acknowledged by Corobrik was amazing because the work we do can truly make a difference, and knowing that the industry is behind us gives me the confidence to keep going.’

His project aimed to build a circular economy around waste by incorporating the creation of a composite plastic brick as a brick-making facility. This provided employment for waste pickers and other unemployed individuals from the Umlazi V-Section area. It further created a new waste management system for the area with this facility at its heart.

The project comprised a clinic and crèche as well as a waste management, buy-back center, and brick-making facility, and shops and workshops to sell the various products made from plastic waste. Exhibition and meeting spaces for waste education and general gatherings were also catered for to create a sense of community in the area and provide break-out spaces in the tightly packed urban fabric of the township and hostels.

The class of 2022, facilitated by Luckan and Dr. Majahamahle Mthethwa, completed their studies in record time, despite the challenges of 2022 in KZN.

Dean and Head of the School of Built Environment and Development Studies Professor Ernest Khalema congratulated the winners of the competition and emphasized the long-term collaboration with private sector industry partners. ‘We are proud of all our students who worked long hours to produce these amazing design concepts during the most challenging times. We are thankful to our incredible industry partners, Corobrik, who have been with us from the start. Such impactful industry-institutional collaborations are necessary to make lasting change in our country.’

Corobrik CEO Mr. Chris de Trevou added: ‘Corobrik’s vision for the competition is to give up and coming architecture students a platform to showcase their architectural talent and creativity.’

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