Awards Developments

Educating for sustainability: GASS Architecture’s Green School SA scoops industry award

Green School South Africa

Bespoke architectural design studio GASS Architecture Studios won five awards at the Property Development Awards for Innovative Excellence at SAPOA’s 2022 Convention and Property Networking.

The awards recognise excellence in the contributions of developers and built environment professionals through commercial real estate development.

We are proud and honoured to have worked on these remarkable projects and to have had the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to these amazing developments through architecture and design. Well done to the teams that worked together so well to realise the final results,” commented founder and director of GASS Architecture Studios Georg van Gass.

GASS Architecture Studios won the following awards:

  • Winner in the ‘Residential Development’ category for The Onyx at Jewel City, developed by Divercity and designed by GASS Architecture Studios.
  • Winner in the ‘Transformation’ category for Jewel City Precinct, developed by Divercity and designed by GASS Architecture Studios.
  • Winner of the overall award in the ‘Sustainability’ category for the Green School South Africa.
  • Winner in the ‘Other’ category for the Green School South Africa.
  • ‘Overall’ Winner’ for Green School South Africa.

Green School South Africa, which opened in February 2021 in the Drakenstein Valley just outside Paarl in the Western Cape, was developed along sustainable and biophilic principles. GASS Architecture Studios’ regenerative approach to architecture and design on this project was guided by the requirements of the Living Building Challenge (LBC) certification, which is considered the world’s most exacting and advanced sustainable building certification.

Green School South Africa’s principle of “educating for sustainability” means that sustainability is embedded in every aspect of the design, from the materials to the school curriculum, and the learning environment is considered an active pedagogical tool.

The spatial arrangement of the buildings was inspired by the tectonic shapes of the Paarl Rock Boulders which surround the site and mimics the broader geography of the area. Clusters of buildings are nestled amidst orchards, vegetable gardens, walkways, landscaped terraces, and spill-out spaces, emphasising the relationship between interior and exterior spaces. Natural materials were prioritised throughout the campus, and include rammed earth, locally harvested rock, clay, timber, and locally manufactured bricks. While efficient passive design (including thermally massive materials, insulation, orientation, shading, etc) provides abundant natural light and thermal comfort, additional heating and cooling is provided by a Thermally Activated Building Structure (TABS) system.

At present, the campus includes facilities for learners from kindergarten to Grade 8, and construction will begin on second phase in 2023, which will add facilities for learners up to Grade 12.

Van Gass added that these awards not only bring recognition to the best contributions in the field, but spur architects and developers to develop the best built environment that they can. “GASS Architecture Studios is inspired to push the boundaries and extend the possibilities of design in the projects we work on.”

These awards are always the result of team work, and I would like to thank the teams at GASS Architecture Studios who worked on these projects, as well as the developers and other contributors to these projects in achieving this recognition for the work on these projects. We are incredibly proud.”

GASS Architecture Studios project Franks Place won the SAPOA award in the ‘Residential’ category in 2016.

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