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BUILDING THE FUTURE Beta Holdings Hosts Third Annual Young Architects Award Ceremony

With a motto such as, “build the future,” it is easy to believe that Beta Holdings is committed to not only supply building materials that stand the test of time, but to do so using methods that are both innovative and visionary. In fact, Beta Holdings went one step further in 2016 when they hosted their inaugural Annual Student Design competition for final year architectural students as part of their corporate social investment programme.

Could there be any better way to ensure the future of the construction industry than supporting its future architects? The first two competitions were successful and this year, Beta Holdings hosted the third annual Young Architects Award Ceremony at The Venue in Avondale on the 5th of October. Many distinguished guests were in attendance at the annual gala, which has become a special black tie event that members of the construction industry look forward to.

Speaking on behalf of the Beta Group, Mr. Manhambara, reminded the audience that our nation was named after a building with a strong legacy and because the name of our nation translates back to “house of stone,” building must be somewhere in our DNA and as building is a great part of our identity, we must continue in the way of our forefathers and construct buildings that will stand the test of time with the added advantage of the latest technology and building solutions.

Mr. Manhambara also gave an overview of some of Beta Holding’s latest developments, including their recent acquisition of a claim in the Gwai area which will enable them to produce clay bricks. Another aggregate plant just outside Harare will be commissioned, along with a brick factory near Goromonzi. These developments come amidst procurement challenges in the construction industry as Beta Bricks is committed to ensuring that customers get products “on time, every time.” The Young Architects Award is part of Beta Holdings’ corporate social investment as the Beta management believe that architectural students deserve the industry’s support.

The purpose of the award is to recognise budding talent, nurture future architects, and thus shape the nation’s architectural landscape. It is Beta Holdings’ hope that these efforts will result in monuments that stand the test of time like Great Zimbabwe. Apart from sponsoring the Young Architects’ Competition, Beta Holdings have archived the designs of the young architects in case any developers are interested in bringing these designs to fruition.

The prestigious award, a floating trophy, is given in memory of Vernon Mwamuka, Zimbabwe’s most eminent black architect, who charted the path for many of Zimbabwe’s younger architects. He was keen to establish a school of architecture along with an architectural society. Tinotenda Nyamukapa won the coveted Vernon Mwamuka Award in the National University of Science and Technology category, whilst Prince Benny Chipadza was the winner of the Polytechnic category. Both young men received cheques for two thousand dollars. As this year’s competition was stiff, all graduates received a plaque as a congratulatory gesture. Honourable Jennifer Mhlanga, the guest of honour at the event, also gave a few remarks.

Honourable Mhlanga is the Member of Parliament for Mashonaland West and also the Deputy Minister for Local Government, Public Works, and National Housing. She applauded Beta Holdings’ efforts in helping to nurture Zimbabwe’s future which is in line with the government’s plans in moving to develop housing in Zimbabwe as the nation currently faces a housing deficit of 1.3 million homes, particularly for middle to low-income families. There is also an increased need for buildings to be constructed using sustainable and environmentally friendly materials and techniques. These The two prototype designs of the Low Income and Middle Income Housing Development seeks to make Beta Holdings one the leading providers of contemporary aesthetic dwellings around Zimbabwe. Already established in three main subsidiaries which are Beta Bricks, Beta Concrete and Beta Logistics, it can venture into “Beta Housing” with the main motive being that of providing affordable housing schemes to the people of Zimbabwe. Ø The two prototypes designs are an inspiration from the modern trends around the world particularly Australia where the use of flat roofs as generally known is being used at a cutting edge approach. Mono pitch roofs are cheaper compared to the use of gables, hipped roofs and others. These can also be successfully used to install solar panels which can complement normal electricity supply, this is idea in a developing country like ours. Beside this they produce an interesting view – beautifying the structure at such a low cost if used properly and on a good design like the prototypes designed. These can be in concrete roof tiles which are being produced at Beta Holdings. Ø

The Floor Plan layout for both house is compact and less than 150 square meters already reducing what the total project cost might turn out to be. The only questionable material used are the custom made windows but these are more or less the same amount to normal ND and NE windows as it is just aluminium and glass panels which are found locally and at reasonable prices. The aspiring architectural technician however leaves room for changes if normal windows are to be preferredwere some of the key requirements for the competition. The Government of Zimbabwe’s housing policy is a major project that directly involves many stakeholders including the Institute of Architects in Zimbabwe, engineers, planners, surveyors. The student’s completion reinforces the need for coordination between stakeholders. Along with the construction of new houses, the government is also eager to see the redevelopment of areas that have lost functionality. Honourable Mhlanga emphasised the need for private and government sectors to work together to realise this dream.

Text by S&D,

Photos by Henry Oliver Photography

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