The University of the Free State’s (UFS) Modular Lecture Building on its Bloemfontein Campus recently received a National Merit Award from the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA). The awards were announced at the 2021/2022 Corobrik SAIA Awards of Merit and Awards for Excellence ceremony in Johannesburg.
The multi-functional Modular Lecture Building, considered a hub for innovative learning, was designed by Roodt Architects in partnership with GXY Architects.
The adjudication panel received a total of 42 architectural projects from around the country, including infrastructure developments in the public and private sector. The SAIA Awards programme is structured over a two-year period and is conducted in two stages. In stage one regional awards for architecture are presented by the nine regional institutes affiliated to SAIA. In stage two the winning regional projects that are consequently entered into the national awards receive either a Commendation, an Award of Merit, and/or an Award for Excellence, which recognises exceptional achievement in the field of architecture.
In their citation the adjudicators noted that the Modular Lecture Building sets a benchmark for rational planning and technical efficiency and helps complete the campus urban framework through its placing and material choices.
Multi-functional spaces for students
Nico Janse van Rensburg, Senior Director at UFS University Estates, said the recognition is a testament to the UFS’s aspirations to renew, rejuvenate, regenerate, and revisit facilities and infrastructure.
“This award proves that excellence can be achieved with a reasonable set budget,” Janse van Rensburg said. “Energy efficiency and green building principles can be achieved by careful planning and teamwork.”
The Modular Lecture Building offers a variety of much-needed flexible teaching and learning spaces. “I have been using the facilities in this building for two years now, and I can say the building is much more spacious and conducive to studying,” said Hymne Spies, a third-year BSc student majoring in biochemistry and genetics. “The many plugs make it more efficient for studying, as one can plug in his or her laptop. There is also a nice computer lab for us to make use of.”
The UFS is proud that the construction of this facility forms part of a bigger endeavour – to create a cohesive campus identity that improves core business and to further extend its innovation and excellence as per its Vision 130.
Take a tour of the new Modular Lecturing Space and Assessment Centre Building: