• Staff writer


Updated: Mar 23, 2021

Landscape architecture continuously negotiates between a wide range of practices involving people, materials and timelines, according to Hayden Malan, winner of the Most Innovative Final Year Landscape Architecture Award. At the 34th Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Awards, he received an R8 000 prize.

Malan says that landscape architecture has meant that he could explore his interest in plant properties, natural systems and spatial concepts.

His winning project is situated in Saldanha Bay, South Africa’s second-busiest port, where surges in human attention and development throughout history have resulted in a complex exchange between living systems. In light of proposals to expand the coastal industrial zone, the main design objective is to mitigate the degradation of the marine environment by filtering ballast water (fresh or salt water held in tanks and cargo holds of ships) to rid it of invasive, non-indigenous species.

The central design proposes to filter ballast water through onshore abalone farming and concurrently generate onshore seaweed feed and farming. The site of the project is an abandoned iron ore factory, well-situated to be repurposed for water filtration. The interdependent industries of ballast water maintenance, fresh water sourcing and aquaculture would work together to make each more resilient and provide opportunities for people to be grounded in their environment.

The project incorporates Corobrik Ironstone paving throughout the redesigned Saldanha Steel factory, with a colour that links to the dominance of iron in the bay and facilitates pedestrian engagement with the site. This is important because the factory and masses of purple dust from the iron ore storage have been environmentally detrimental to the bay, while the slow rejuvenation by the broader design would help remedy this.

In the future, Malan hopes to continue adding to teams and communities where people are supportive of one another.

“I see myself working in the realms of landscape architecture, art, education and research. I believe in the value of outdoor spaces, from pristine coastal areas to artificial playing fields, and plan to give back by adding to their health, accessibility and usability,” he says.

Runner-up Anele Ndawule received a R6 000 prize for his thesis entitled Eli likhaya lam [This is my home]: Re-integrating homeless people into society through re-appropriation of public spaces’, which explores the spatial experiences of homeless people in Cape Town. The project critiques the spatial injustice and social exclusion of ‘unhoused’ communities.

For Ndawule, landscape architecture is a profession that is people, community and environment orientated. He would like to give back to the community by empowering upcoming landscape architects from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.

“I see myself both working as a landscape architect and owning a landscape maintenance company that helps train future landscapers and landscape architects,” he says.

Corobrik has long played a pivotal role in recognising up-and-coming young architects in South Africa.


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