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University of Cape Town, Chemical Engineering Building
Cape Town, Western Cape

2006SAIA Award of Merit

Award Citation

The close interaction between a creative client and an inventive architect has culminated in a noteworthy addition to University of Cape Town campus.

The client’s brief that the architect preserve the close-knit interactive ambience that had characterised their original building has been elegantly achieved. A central, light-filled atrium invites chance meetings between students and teachers, post- and undergraduates, administrative staff and academics. This is because, according to the client, it is in these encounters that engender innovative thinking across disciplinary boundaries. Facilities largely face into the central atrium space. This affords the building a transparency and legibility rarely experienced in the large bureaucracies of academia.

Clearly visible specialised services and piping contributed to the excitement of the architecture. At the same time, this active interior space is complemented by the restrained and elegant treatment of the exterior.

The building sits comfortably alongside its more traditional neighbours on the campus.

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.