Bumper judging panel for 30th year of PG Bison 1.618 Education Initiative

For the 30th year of the PG Bison 1.618 Education Initiative, the competition will be judged by a panel of seven industry experts, with two new judges joining the panel. The competition, first launched in 1992, aims to showcase the work of up-and-coming third-year South African architecture and interior design students and offer them the opportunity to tackle a real-world brief, competing for a cash prize of R50 000 for the winner and their lecturer.

“Reaching 30 years is a major milestone, and we have increased our judging panel from five industry experts to seven this year,” says Lian Markham, Communications Manager at PG Bison. “We believe that it’s important for the educational institutions who partner with us to have feedback on their students’ work, and we deliver this to them in our lecturers’ debriefing session after the competition awards ceremony. The judges also have the opportunity to be exposed to emerging talents, while the students – particularly the top 10 finalists – enjoy industry exposure as they prepare to embark on their professional careers.”

New judges

Joining the panel in 2022 are Carla Soudien and Nelson Kubheka.

Soudien is a project architect and urban planner for studioMAS Architects and Urban Designers, based in the company’s Johannesburg office. She completed her architecture degrees at UCT (in 2003 and 2006 respectively) and in 2019 completed her Masters in Urban and Regional Planning.

“I am involved in a range of projects at studioMAS that include social housing, commercial offices, mixed-use, and urban design precincts,” she says. “My Masters research dealt with urbanism and gender with a focus on women’s experiences of doing business in the city. I am looking forward to hearing from the energetic, young voices and being surprised and inspired by their design problem-solving. I look forward to meeting and interacting with my peers in the industry and creating new professional connections.”

Nelson Kubheka obtained his National Diploma in Interior Design in 2008 at Cape Peninsula University of Technology and began working as a junior designer at Source Interior Brand Architects (Source IBA), with projects including high-end hospitality and workplaces.  He worked his way up to becoming an associate and then partner at Source IBA, working on key hospitality and office projects locally and across Africa.

After eight years, he founded his own company, Ommni Design, in 2016. The company offers a full turnkey tailored design solution, from conceptual design to technical documentation and site implementation in the workplace, hospitality and residential sectors.

“We aim to uniquely create and redefine spaces that best reflect peoples’ narrative and their brand identity, thus focusing on the practical and functional aspects layered with aesthetics,” Kubheka explains.

He is excited to be involved with the PG Bison 1.618 Education Initiative. “It’s been 13 years since I left school and I believe so much has changed. I’m excited to see new talent with fresh ideas and a different approach to design,” he says. “I’m also looking forward to meeting my fellow judges and industry colleagues and learning from them in terms of what they have contributed in the past years towards this initiative. I am hoping to discover and meet passionate creatives and see where I could assist in mentoring or explore opportunities for future work collaborations and job opportunities.”

Returning judges

Once again returning to help judge the winning entries are:

  • Phill Mashabane: founder and principal architect at Mashabane Rose Associates. Mashabane is an esteemed architect who has been in the business for more than three decades, and is the longest-serving judge of the PG Bison 1.618 Education Initiative.
  • Nathaniel Wakefield: director at Batley Partners. Wakefield helped to compile the 2022 brief, themed “Living Big”, which requires students to develop a proposal for a mixed-use residential and retail space for the Coega Development Corporation, with residential units of various sizes.
  • Livia Coetzee-Stein: creative executive at DHQ Interior Brand Architects.
  • Mardre Meyer: creative director and partner at Source Interior Brand Architects.
  • Henk Marais: founding member and director at Connect Architects.

 “We thank all our judges for giving of their valuable time and expertise to help make our initiative a success,” says Markham.