GIFA Awards

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Architecture is the most visible and public of the arts. An important function of all the Regional Institutes and the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) is to recognise and promote excellence in architecture and to create public awareness and debate on architectural issues. The awards programme is in support of these goals, and run in two stages over a two-year period.  

During the first stage, the Regional Institutes invite submissions, appoint and convene a panel of jurors to decide the Regional Awards for Architecture and eligible projects to be submitted for national consideration.  The Regional Awards for Architecture are announced and made at a regional function that takes place during 2017.  

The second stage of the programme starts during 2017 with the submission of entries by the regional panels of assessors for consideration of the SAIA Award of Merit and the SAIA Award for Excellence.  A national panel of jurors, convened by the SAIA president, will convene after receipt of the projects by the National Office.  This will be done to select the projects it wishes to inspect from the submitted entries. During the first few months of 2018, the national panel of jurors will inspect the projects in loco. The SAIA Awards of Merit and the Awards for Excellence will be announced at a national function.


GIFA invites members to submit entries for the regional and SAIA awards programme.  Eligible projects will be forwarded to the national panel of assessors for adjudication of the SAIA Award of Merit and For Excellence. (See Form headed Conditions for Entry: Projects Completed During 2015-2016, Item 2 for more information).

Work may be submitted to the Region by the author or submitted by any member of the Region with the author’s, or other responsible person’s permission.

Projects that fall in an area under jurisdiction of the Regional Institute, and were completed during the period     01 January 2015 to 31 December 2016, are eligible for entry to the GIFA and SAIA’s awards programme 2016-2017.

Please note that all the Regional Institutes are inviting entries for the awards. Members who have done work in an area outside the jurisdiction of the Regional Institute should obtain (and return) entry forms from the relevant Regional Institute in which the project falls. It should be noted that in loco inspection of projects that are situated in remote areas of the Region may not be possible, and additional video material on DVD is required to adjudicate the project by way of a virtual inspection. The submitted project will require the presence of the project Architect (or representative thereof) during the in loco inspections.

Projects outside South Africa may be submitted to the member’s Regional Institute. It should be noted that in loco inspection of these projects may not be possible, and additional video material on DVD is required to adjudicate the project by way of a virtual inspection. Should such projects go forward for national adjudication, and funding is made available by the entrant to cover the costs, every effort will be made by the national panel of assessors to carry out an in loco inspection.

In order to offer equal opportunity throughout the country for members to enter projects, the guidelines apply to all Regions, and a uniform format of the call for entries, conditions for entry and the nomination / submission form has been established for use by all the Regions.

Please read and comply with the attached conditions and kindly submit all the required material in the prescribed format. Members should note that the awards are conferred on the building or project, not on the authors or client, although their names (architectural practice) appear on the certificates. Please note that all documentation must be signed by a principal of the Architectural Practice. (It is critical that if two or more practices are entering their project that this is made very clear on the entry).


This award is made by the Regional Institute to encourage and recognise good design or a noteworthy contribution in the field of architecture in the Region. It may be for:

Entry Form A

  • a new building or group of buildings;
  • a work of technological importance;
  • the conservation, restoration and/or rehabilitation (refurbishment) of existing buildings, historic precincts or areas

There is no restriction on the building type, use or size. It is also intended for small-scale alterations or interiors if they are of exceptional quality and contribute to the current discourse on architecture.  Although the project may contain flaws, it should be clearly identifiable as having specific attributes worthy of recognition.

Entry Form B

  • a work of social importance, other than a building, for which the member or architectural practice was appointed as the architect;
  • Research in the field of architecture.


The national stage of the awards programme is sponsored by Corobrik. All eligible entries which have received a Regional Award for Architecture are submitted for national adjudication:

  • Projects by paid up SAIA practices are eligible for entry.
  • Research, or a work of social importance, by a paid-up SAIA member or SAIA practice is eligible for entry.

The national panel of assessors, appointed and convened by the president of SAIA, will consider all the submissions put forward by the regional committees. This round of national adjudicators comprises, the SAIA President (as Convenor), a prominent architect, an academic, an eminent person with an interest in architecture and a representative from our sponsors Corobrik (names to be advised). The national panel will decide which projects to inspect in loco and upon conclusion which projects (if any) will receive the SAIA Award of Merit and the SAIA Award for Excellence.

In simpler terms, a project may receive a regional Award for Architecture in the first phase and receive no further award, or it may be the recipient of both the regional Award for Architecture during the first year and receive a SAIA Award of Merit during the second phase of the Award programme in 2018. Only projects, research or a work of social importance which have received the SAIA Award of Merit are eligible for the SAIA Award for Excellence.  


An outline programme is recommended with the following deadlines:

  • March / April 2017: Regions call for entries and appoint adjudication panels
  • May / August 2017: Regional adjudication
  • September / October 2017: Regional award functions (to coincide as closely as possible with World Day of Architecture-2017)
  • Tuesday, 31 October 2017: Ensure projects with all elements reach the National Office

Dates around the National Awards will be communicated later in the year.

Please note: Regions are responsible for submitting the list of projects, architects of the projects, names of the regional panel and citations and recommendations to SAIA. Additionally, the regions are also responsible for submitting all projects and required documentation to the national office together with the Awards Project List. (See 6.2 of the Conditions for Entry).






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