Durban’s Masters in Architecture student Mr Yousuf Vawda, is one of eight bright young minds who is in line for a R50 000 prize which is due to be announced in Johannesburg during May. All of them achievers in their respective universities from throughout South Africa and Vawda are the only candidates from KwaZulu-Natal. Vawda collected R8 500 for winning the regional architecture competition, which has been running for 30 years and is aimed at promoting excellence in the profession. His peers have described Vawda, “as a talent.” Apart from collecting the top accolade in the province, he collected another R4 500 in the “best use of clay” section.
The soft spoken, hard working student said he was surprised when he was declared the winner. “I am very pleased to have won, considering the quality of some of the other students’ work,” he said. According to the University of KwaZulu-Natal website, his entry comprised work from his internship during which time he concentrated primarily on residential projects as well as selected student projects from his undergraduate and masters studies.
His winning project is based on his thesis titled: Exploring the Relationship Between Sacred Space and the Memory of the Dead, in Christianity, through Mnemonics: A Proposed Interment Complex for Durban. The main concept for the design is based on the medieval term: “Memento Mori”, which means “remember your death”.
Architecture lecturer Mr Juan Solis said 20 examiners – 10 external and 10 UKZN staff members – evaluated entries from 27 students over three days. “It was a great evening for students, parents, external examiners, professional architects, staff, and our Dean, Professor Ernest Khalema. They could all see the projects on display. Congratulations to our students,” said Solis. The second prize went to Joshua Montile who received R6 500 and Thabo Cele secured third place of R4 500.
Architecture has always been of special interest to Vawda and he feels that buildings are bound to change dramatically and the use of clean energy would see the growth in eco-friendly buildings.