Africa architecture awards

The Africa Architecture Awards is the first dedicated Pan-African awards programme of its kind. Launched by Saint-Gobain, the awards aim to recognise and reward worthy projects from across the African continent.


As a discipline, architecture has immense potential to shape, solve and innovate in Africa, in the 21st Century. With 54 countries all varied in culture, geography, climate and societal structure, this diversity enables prospects that can and will shape Africa’s built environments - and in so doing, will provide points of inspiration for the rest of the globe. The aim of the first ever Africa Architecture Awards is to identify and honour projects that are doing precisely that!

Through the Africa Architecture Awards, Saint-Gobain works toward creating a platform that can be used to highlight and expose key work and initiatives that contribute to the architectural landscape on the continent.

The aim is to open dialogue in discussing the needs and future of African architecture in the rapidly changing cultural and socio-economic climate. The awards also provide a sense of cultural reconnaissance in the African built environment.


Following the success of the inaugural 2015 awards, Saint-Gobain continued the ongoing dialogue. Having started with a South African based awards programme, Saint-Gobain saw an enormous opportunity to engage the whole continent in dialogue, bringing together practicing architects, students, architectural professionals, architectural institutions, developers, academics, journalists, writers and film-makers.

The 2017 Africa Architecture Awards seek to acknowledge standout architectural projects that have been conceived of and/or built on the African continent, and invite entries and nominations from the industry. Anyone in the world meeting the entry criteria can enter, or be entered into the awards, as long as the project pertains to Africa.  

The awards programme has key collaborators like global heavyweight Sir David Adjaye OBE of Adjaye Associates as the official Patron, a stellar Steering Panel and Advisory team comprising noteworthy academics and architects, and a formidable Master Jury of award-winning practitioners drawn from across Africa and the diaspora.

There is no cost to enter the awards and entries close on the 30th of June 2017 for all categories except the People's Choice Award, which closes on the 18th of August 2017.

The Master Jury will identify a shortlist of 20 projects, four trophy winners and one Grand Prix. The official awards ceremony is set to take on 28 September 2017 at Cape Town’s much-anticipated Zeitz MOCAA, designed by significant British architect Thomas Heatherwick, which opens to the public that very same week.

The Grand Prix winner will receive a $10 000 cash prize at the awards ceremony – that’s in addition to the recognition and prestige of being named as the overall winner from across the continent. A Lifetime Achiever’s Award is given at the discretion of the Master Jury. It is awarded to an architect or architects who have made a significant contribution to the professions of architecture and/or urban design over a substantial period of time.

The seven members of the Master Jury are:

  • Anna Abengowe (Nigeria);
  • Patti Anahory (Cape Verde);
  • Guillaume Koffi (Cote d’Ivoire);
  • Phill Mashabane (South Africa);
  • Professor Mark Olweny (Uganda);
  • Professor Edgar Pieterse (South Africa);
  • and, Tanzeem Razak (South Africa).

Rather than adopt the more conventional categories of other global awards programmes, the Master Jury will approach the Africa Architecture Awards through a values-based system around the following three criteria: 

  • Innovation – of design, materials, approach, practice, new forms of public space;
  • Identity – projects that deal sensitively and innovatively with heritage and tradition; that embody cultural sensitivity and contextual interpretation; that consider appropriation and repurposing of use; and that attempt to translate traditional ways of building/occupying space into modern and contemporary contexts;
  • Implementation – the energy and inventiveness required in Africa to create and implement projects in markets with varying levels and scales of economic government support and infrastructure.

A dedicated website keeps all interested parties informed of event dates, films, presentations and panel discussions.

Saint-Gobain is committed to bringing change and facilitating assistance in the development of Africa’s cities, for a comfortable and more sustainable future for all.

Further information: