University of Johannesburg (UJ) Architecture Masters student, Dirk Coetser, is the winner of the fourth annual Carl and Emily Fuchs Foundation Prestige Prize in Architecture for 2011.
The Fuchs Foundation focuses much of its funding on the promotion of excellence – in this particular instance, on academic excellence within the field of architectural education. The Fuchs Prestige Prize in Architecture recognises sustained academic excellence of currently registered architectural students while simultaneously building future professional leadership in the field.
Dirk Coetser was one of three students awarded R50 000 towards tuition and related expenses. As the highest performing student throughout his undergraduate studies, Dirk was selected as the University of Johannesburg’s Department of Architecture nominee. Each University may only enter one postgraduate architectural student, and with UJ’s introduction of the MTech: Architectural Technology degree, this was the first year UJ was eligible to enter the competition.
The winners were selected by a panel consisting of well-respected architects, academics and representatives of the Fuchs Foundation. Nominees were assessed on their portfolio, academic record, a presentation and interview as well as a 24-hour design task.
The design task was related to a specific site, brief and problem statement; the participants had limited time to conduct a collective site analysis and mapping to inform their final design submission. Dirk Coetser says: “I built a huge model for my task. This methodology of design is one I often use, and it worked very well in this instance to conceptualise and fully develop an idea in 24 hours.”
UJ’s Dirk Coetser participating in the 24-hour design task as part of the 2011 Fuchs Prestige Prize in Architecture.
Dirk continues: “The portfolio I presented comprised a 160 page booklet showing my design abilities from my first to fourth year of study at the University of Johannesburg.”
Dr Finzi Saidi, Head of the UJ Department of Architecture, says: “We were not surprised that Mr Coetser won this prestigious prize. He has always been a dedicated student and the Fuchs Prize is one of many awards he has won.”
Sample portfolio pages from Dirk Coetser, as submitted for the 2011 Fuchs Prestige Prize in Architecture.