Nathaniel Wakefield, director at Batley Partners, has joined the judging panel of the 2021 PG Bison 1.618 Education Initiative. The annual design competition, which has been running for 29 years, is aimed at third-year architecture and interior design students around South Africa and is part of the curricula of participating educational institutions.
Lian Markham, communications manager at PG Bison, explains that the 1.618 Education Initiative aims to nurture and recognise young talent, introduce students to real-world briefs and products, and encourage creative thinking.
“We’re thrilled to have Nathaniel Wakefield on board, representing Batley Partners, a design-focused, architecture, interior, and graphic design consultancy headquartered in Johannesburg,” she says. “Nathaniel heads up the practice’s contribution to South Africa’s business empowerment lobbying and bursary funds for architecture students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, and his enthusiasm for working with students is evident. It’s wonderful to welcome him to the judging panel.”
Judging is set to take place during September 2021. Lecturers have already submitted their students’ entries through the online portal, and the judges, who are spread across the country, will begin their multi-stage deliberation process soon.
Every year, students are tasked with meeting a real-world brief, based on a specific site. The site is selected based on the city in which the previous year’s winner is located. The top three students in 2020 were from Cape Town, so the 2021 brief is set there. The brief requires students to create a design to develop the historical Strand Street Quarry as an attractive tourist destination and connection hub along the city’s planned heritage route.
“The site needs to be considered from a physical and cultural contextual perspective and the design solutions must be grounded in reality,” says Madre Marais, creative director and partner at Source Interior Brand Architects, who created the brief. “I’m excited to see how students engage with the site as a gateway into the CBD and how it can connect certain heritage landmarks in the city. Students must understand the location as a cultural hotspot that connects the BoKaap and the Waterfront and responds to the site’s sensitive historical context.”
Prize and opportunities
The winner and their lecturer will each get a R50,000 cash prize, with R25,000 for the runner-up and R10,000 for third place. All remaining top 10 finalists receive a cash prize of R2,000 each.
“Our finalists also enjoy the chance to set themselves apart in the eyes of potential employers,” says Markham. “For example, all of the top three students from the 2020 competition have been employed by ARRCC, an acclaimed multidisciplinary interior design and decor studio based in Cape Town.”
She adds that the PG Bison 1.618 Education Initiative is not only a means to support young South African talent, but also to connect students with industry to help them prepare for successful careers.