December 6, 2004
by Canadian Architect
Architecture for Humanity, a non-profit organization that promotes architecture and design solutions to humanitarian crises, announced nine finalists and 16 honourable mentions for Siyathemba, an international design competition to develop a football field and healthcare facility for youth in Somkhele, South Africa. "Siyathemba" is the Zulu word for hope. Finalists included established architects as well as young emerging designers from across the globe. Austria, England, Peru, Portugal, Switzerland and the United States were all represented. A team from South Africa was also selected as an honourable mention.
In many parts of Africa, sporting activities especially football (soccer) are being incorporated into a variety of programs geared toward helping youth address a broad range of issues affecting their lives. By emphasizing a "team" approach, these programs help impart the skills needed by the next generation to overcome the many challenges faced by their countries, from poverty to HIV/AIDS, malnutrition to educational access.
Over the summer Architecture for Humanity challenged the creative world to design the "perfect pitch" in Somkhele, an area with one of the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the world. This facility, run by medical professionals from the Africa Center for Health and Population Studies, will serve as a gathering place for youth between the ages of 9 and 14, and will serve as the home for the first-ever girls football league in the area. The pitch will also act as a place to disseminate information on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and eventually as a service point for mobile health care.
Design teams were to employ sustainable and/or local building materials and using local labour to realize their design. With a budget of $5,000 US, the facility was to include a youth-sized field, sideline benches, and a small changing room. 275 teams from 37 countries answered the call.
This month, the final schemes are being presented via a traveling road show to schools, clinics and community gathering places throughout the Somkhele region. The road show will present the designs to the community explaining each project in depth. At the end of the tour, local representatives and the newly formed Siyathemba girls’ football team will select the winning entry.
Land has been secured with a temporary football field already in place. With funds raised from individual donations and generous support from Interior Design magazine and the Red Rubber Ball Foundation, the chosen concept will be built in the spring of 2005 and the Siyathemba girls’ football team kicking off its first match at the new pitch by the end of next summer.
The finalists are: Steven Sanderson, Carmen Chan, Tyler Goss, Leah Raintree of New York, NY; Jason Bergeron of Vienna, Austria; Marco Cimatti and Justin Gebhard of Philadelphia, PA; Guy Lafranchi and Dietmar Panzenbck of Liebefeld/Bern, Switzerland; Dennis Playdon and Kate Wingert of Philadelphia, PA; PU.a (Gonzalo Cruz, Julio Castellanos and Dante Perez Albela) of Lima, Per; David Mathias and Tim Denis of Basildon, England; Swee Hong Ng of Pittsburgh, PA; and Team Moov (Antonio Louro, Jose Niza and Joao Gato) of Lisbon, Portugal.
Those receiving honourable mentions are: Hiroyuki Niino of Saitama, Japan; Leor Lovinger and John Bela of Berkeley, CA; Emerging Architecture (Eugene da Silva Architects) of Paarl, South Africa; Jeff Gaines and James Lewis, School of Architecture, Washington University in St. Louis of St. Louis, MO; Sharon Harvey of the US; Alejandro Gandarillas of Santiago, Chile; Takuya Onishi of Bangkok, Thailand; Aunali Khimji of Pasadena, CA; N’gillan Faal, Carolin Wrana, Jojoh Faal, Hadi Wadda and Lina Adnan of London, England; Kohki Hiranuma of Osaka, Japan; Ivan R. Flores Villalobos of Chihuahua, Mexico; Matthew Beattie of Dublin, Ireland; Muungano (Kami Petersen, Tomas Niklewski, Martin Hedenstrom and Teres Selberg) of Malmo, Sweden; Quevillon Frederic and Baldassare Valeria of Soisy sur Seine, France; Kumiko Hayashi of Saitama, Japan; and Joaqun Cachn Rodriguez or Spain.