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Supporting the future

BETA Holdings held their second Students Architectural Competition this year. The brief was for students to design a building for an Institute for the Built Environment sector. The proposed site would be Borrowdale and the facility was to cater for the various consultants in that sector including: architects, engineers, quantity and surveyors, realtors, urban and regional designers and environmental management. Students had to incorporate the Beta Clay Brick and Beta Concrete Roof Tiles as economic and aesthetically pleasing building materials, whilst focusing on environmental sustainability as well as green-building technology of the future.

After months of ideation, submission and judgement, the winners were announced at a premier gala in Harare. The event had a very good build up towards the presentation ceremony where the top architectural student would clinch the $3000 prize and the prestigious Vernon Mwamuka Floating Trophy – so named after the late visionary architect. All the students were from NUST University, an institution whose establishment credits the likes of Mr Mwamuka, who was also its designer. Mr Musa Sangase, who is the president of the Southern Africa Clay Brick Association, graced the occasion as guest of honour and commended the wonderful work Beta Bricks is doing to inspire and excite young minds as the second largest high quality brick-maker in Southern Africa.

The winner was Tichaona Gondo, who haltingly expressed his gratitude towards Beta Holdings as well as his mentors and fellow students. The first and second runner up were Tatenda Jambaya and Yamurai Chibayanzara respectively, a commendation awarded to Takudzwa Musonza. All the participants received shields as Beta Holdings felt they had done really stellar work overall, making the judging very difficult. The adjudication was presided over by Zimbabwe Institute of Architects and was represented on the night by its President, Architect Arthur Matondo, who applauded the level of skill the students had shown. He remarked how the country’s architectural future in Zimbabwe is clearly in safe hands. Professor Gudyanga from the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary education, who was part of the proceedings, told the young architectural students that one day they could be called by the government to design buildings similar to their concepts that are environmentally sound and futuristic.

VERNON BENELE Mwamuka, the first black architect, still stands out as one of the foremost and most prominent architects Zimbabwe ever produced. In his architectural portfolio, he has to his name the imposing Southampton Life Centre (now ZB Life Towers), Construction House, Kopje Plaza, Old Mutual Centre, the Four Ways Mall in Johannesburg and the Joina City (Harare) which became the largest city development in years. Other significant projects that brought him praise and respect include Africa University (Mutare),the National University of Science and Technology (Bulawayo), Harare Domestic Airport, Bulawayo International Airport,

FOURWAYS MALL in Johannesburg (South Africa) the School of Hotel and Catering (Bulawayo) and a chain of post offices strewn across the country. All these completed commissions attest to Mwamuka’s creative identity. His works have left a very unique aesthetic impact on the immediate environment of the structures revitalising the surrounding urban expanse as in the case of the Kopje Plaza (West of Harare’s skyline). The Kopje Plaza changed the sky of the Kopje area where a number of neglected buildings had become an eyesore and a sign of urban decay. Source: 100 Greatest Zimbabweans

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