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Mission possible: find the new face of the Naspers Centre

The curators’ panel that will select the winner of Design24 has been selected from within the design, architecture and construction communities.

Media24 today announced the curators’ panel that will select the winner of Design24, a competition seeking proposals for the redesign of the Naspers Centre on Cape Town’s Foreshore. “With two weeks to go, today is a milestone in our journey to use design to transform this great building”, said Esmaré Weideman, CEO of Media24. “We have much to celebrate this year. As a country, we celebrate 20 years of democracy. As a city we celebrate a year of design as the fourth World Design Capital. And as a company, we celebrate 100 years of being part of a great city, with our mother company Naspers turning 100 in December – a century since Die Burger, that very proud newspaper in the Media24 stable, was first published.” The competition closes on 28 February.

The curators were selected from within the design, architecture and construction communities. The list includes architect Luyanda Mpahlwa; Rashiq Fataar, CEO of urbanism think tank Future Cape Town; Paul Duncan, Editorial Director, World Design Capital 2014; Simon Gill, associate director and Buildings sector leader at the Cape Town office of multidisciplinary engineering consultancy Arup; and Sean Cowgill, quantity surveyor and director of the De Leeuw Group.

Design24 is an official project on the World Design Capital 2014 programme and is open to everyone in South Africa, whether a design professional or not.

The competition closes at midnight on Friday 28 February 2014. The curators’ role will be to assess every entry against a list of weighted criteria including aesthetic qualities, sustainability, cost and construction viability. The curators will make recommendations to a second panel of judges from the senior leadership of both Media24 and Naspers, the media company’s holding company. A main winner will be awarded R200,000 and two runners-up will receive R80,000 and R40,000 respectively.

Anika Ebrahim, head of Corporate Communications at Media24 said: “The appointed curators have been selected for their deep understanding of design thinking, sustainability and construction processes. We are confident that their combined opinions will help us to find the most striking, most imaginative and most inspirational design from the many competition entries we are expecting to receive. And the winning design will help to reinforce Media24’s deep roots in our city through a new, contemporary, inspiring and beautiful façade for our headquarters.”

When it was built by Sanlam in 1962, the Naspers Centre was the tallest commercial building in Africa and the tallest in Cape Town. Nicky Swartz, Programme Director for World Design Capital 2014, said that “the outcome of the Design24 challenge could literally change the landscape of our city, especially as it sits within the wider context of a redesigned Foreshore precinct. I hope the submitted designs cause consternation, raise questions, spark debate and conversation, and hope it engages all of Cape Town, providing a platform for discussion about urban design and development. Through Design24 and other projects, the envisaged changes to our urban landscape will represent the substance of the legacy of our year as the world’s design capital.”

Despite the changing cityscape, Cape Town’s central business district has not always been on an upward trajectory. Decades of decline meant that ongoing development in areas like the Foreshore is relatively new: the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) was built in 2003. But future developments are set to change the area completely. These include the expansion of the CTICC, the construction of the new Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital and the redevelopment of the ArtsCape precinct project.

Design24 comes with an implementation budget of R15million, which will be used to realise the winning design as the Naspers Centre joins its neighbours in changing the face of the city through sustainable design.

“We love being here” said Weideman, “we love being part of a city – and a country – that is so full of creativity, imagination and innovation. And we especially love the idea of drawing on that creativity, imagination and innovation to shape our future here. That was the driving force behind the decision to bring Design24 to life through the World Design Capital programme.”

Picture caption -From left to right: Rashiq Fataar (CEO, Future Cape Town), Anika Ebrahim (Head of Corporate Communications, Media24), Hilary Alexander (project manager, Design24), Esmare Weidemann (CEO, Media24), Nicky Swartz (Programme Director, World Design Capital 2014), Sean Cowgill (Director, De Leeuw Group Cape Town), Simon Gill (Buildings Sector leader, Arup Cape Town).

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