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THE EMERGE Competition calls Zimbabwean architecture students across the globe to offer innovative architectural solutions that meet the current issues of the Zimbabwean context. This competition gives students a platform to exhibit ideas that address and improve living conditions in Zimbabwe through design.

Following the launch of the Emerge competition in 2015, they received registrations from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Cyprus, Spain, India, Singapore, Egypt, Togo, Switzerland, Tunisia, UK and Mexico. The feedback was inspiring, using social media as their main tool for advertising. The architecture schools in Zimbabwe have also shown interest in incorporating future competition briefs in their curriculum, making it easier for students to submit a proposal without impacting their school work schedule.

The 2015 theme ‘Living Tomorrow’ challenged students to apply their design skills to the issue of sustainability. The students were required to define the home of the future and to explore an architectural program that challenges environmental and agricultural solutions, cultural barriers, building technology and addressing affordability.

The jury comprised of an international panel of professionals including Architects and Designers:






The Jury used the guideline below in judging the projects:

Originality & Relevance /20marks

The judges consider the Design Intent, concept and originality of the participant’s idea, the relevance in the future context along with the issues raised in the participant’s Design Intent.

Spatial organisation and Function /20marks

The judges consider the planning and spatial layout of the proposed building.
This also includes the participant’s chosen brief and how it responds to the concept and design intent.

‘Living Tomorrow’ /20marks

The judges consider the participant’s response to the 2015 theme ‘Living Tomorrow’. The participants were given leeway in connecting with issues that interest them, for example, socioeconomic, cultural, environmental (sustainability) or agricultural influences. Their interests were to guide their schemes and offer a solution for the future context of Zimbabwe.

Resolution /20marks

The judges consider the form, materiality, detailing, usability and technology used (especially of the future context), innovation and expression of the project.

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Overall Submission Overview /20marks

The judges consider the participant’s submission as a whole. This includes quality, aesthetics (presentation and building form), response to the brief, innovation, creative solutions, ideas brought forward and clear stance taken. The winning project by Michael Hobbs met the challenge posed by the brief with maturity and imagination, producing a buildable response. It would be interesting to see the market idea divorced from the existing site and adapted in other neglected areas across the country. The judges thought the project responded successfully to the brief and held the ideals the competition wishes to uphold.

1st place proposal by MICHAEL HOBBS, University of Cape Town (4th Year)

In second place, the proposal by Tinotenda Ncube had a nature conservation as the driving force behind the project. More data on the context and need of this intervention would have aided in making this a more successful submission and supported the choice of the location and given a measurable prediction of its transformational impact to give this design intent more substance. Another species more indigenous and common to the area at the forefront of the project would have added to the legitimacy of the proposal.

In third place, the proposal by Marvin Ncube makes good use of existing technology and offers beautiful interior solutions with a design intent that shows an understanding of the brief. The proposal would have been more successful if it addressed the economic reality of the majority of Zimbabweans.

We are looking forward to EMERGE’s upcoming 2016 “Rising Youth’ themed edition.


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