3 min

South African duo off to Helsinki to make the world a better home

ASC winners

Two final-year architecture students from South Africa’s Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) are headed to Helsinki, Finland, to take part in the international stage of Saint-Gobain’s 19-year-old Architecture Student Contest.

African students have often placed well in this prestigious competition since they first entered it in 2006. Each year the competition sees students from around the world design a project based on sustainability for people and the planet. 

The master jury picked Devlin Sharp and Keaghan de la Mare’s winning design from submissions from students across South Africa, which transformed an existing retail building into an exciting residential building, complete with landscaped gardens, because they felt it neatly met all the competition requirements.

To set the task each year, Saint-Gobain selects a different country that has an architectural challenge and works closely with a local municipality to develop a task that will address real social and cultural issues. This year the country chosen was Finland. Contestants must design buildings that are highly energy-efficient and low-carbon, provide a comfortable environment for their occupants, and show how Saint-Gobain’s innovative, climate-friendly building materials can contribute to the project’s realisation. The goal is to create better living, working and leisure spaces everywhere.

The master jury was impressed by Sharp and De la Mare’s concept and its architectural detailing and careful energy calculations, all of which align well with the competition requirements to produce a project they believe would best represent South Africa on the international stage.

The jury said the two students, both from Gauteng, came up with an exciting concept that bled through to their design and efficient use of space. They also managed to create an aesthetically pleasing solution all while incorporating Saint-Gobain products and systems.

Sharp and De la Mare developed a beautiful redesign, turning a building dedicated to retail into a new residential complex complete with gardens and other social gathering areas. The complex is for an educational institution in Helsinki and includes housing for students and academics, a library and archive room, and ground-floor exhibition space.

Why the Architecture Student Contest?

Saint-Gobain established the Architecture Student Contest 19 years ago, although back then it was called the Isover Multi-Comfort House Student Contest. In 2006 South African students entered the competition for the first time, coming second internationally. In 2018, students from South Africa placed first in the international competition.

The competition is intended to inspire young people to make the world a better home. For us, making the world a better home means ensuring that we are at our partners’ and customers’ sides all the time, helping them innovate and design, construct and renovate so that the buildings we all live and work in are more sustainable.

We do this by ensuring that our products reduce humanity’s impact on the planet, enhance people’s health and well-being, and deliver reduced costs and increased value. What’s more, we keep innovating so that we’re able to provide our partners and customers with new solutions that improve their infrastructures’ performance and support their journey towards better sustainability.

Saint-Gobain also cares about the younger generations. We enjoy their fresh ways of thinking and their enthusiasm for life, and we want to encourage them to keep shooting for the stars.

Details of the contest Architecture Student Contest