Global engineering and infrastructure advisory company Aurecon walked away with two coveted accolades at this year’s Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) Aon Engineering Excellence Awards.
The Sol Plaatje University Library and Student Resources Centre was the winner in the category ‘Projects with a value between R50 million and R250 million’, and Aurecon civil engineer, Shamiso Kumbirai, won the Young Engineer of the Year Award.
“2018 marks the fourth year in a row that Aurecon has won or received a commendation in the Young Engineer of the Year Award category, which is a testament to the talent our company attracts and their ability to excel within the engineering sector,” says Ferdi Nell, Aurecon Managing Director, Africa.
The prestigious awards function was held on 15 August at Vodaworld, Midrand, and aims to celebrate “innovation, quality, outstanding workmanship and professionalism in engineering”. The prominent event is one of the highlights in the consulting engineering industry, with companies showcasing their most complex and innovative projects.
About the Sol Plaatje University Library and Student Resources Centre
Situated in Kimberley, the traditional diamond capital of Africa, the building’s spectacular three-dimensional concrete envelope mimics the faceted surface of a diamond. The entire envelope of the Sol Plaatje University Library and Student Resources Building is supported by slender eccentric steel columns to create the impression of a floating, hollowed-out diamond.
The striking, origami-like roof is both attention-grabbing and yet perfectly blended with the surrounding buildings. This bold and original project pushes the boundaries of architectural and engineering design, requiring high expectations of the concrete to perform not only as a structural element but also as an aesthetic material.
In addition, it was awarded an Innovation in Concrete Fulton Award for ‘Buildings Greater than 3-storeys’, as well as a Commendation in the ‘Architectural Concrete’ category at this prestigious biennial event, which recognises excellence and innovation in the use of concrete.
“I would like to thank our client, the Sol Plaatje University, for giving the architect the brief of designing something that has never been seen in South Africa. It is a testament to what can be achieved when design-led thinkers and visionaries are combined in a single project team,” said Nicholas Bester, Aurecon Structural Engineer.
About Shamiso Kumbirai, winner of the CESA Young Engineer of the Year Award
Kumbirai is a 29-year-old civil engineer at Aurecon’s Tshwane Office. She specialises in water engineering and has worked on projects in South Africa, Uganda, Swaziland and Rwanda involving hydropower schemes, pipelines and irrigation works.
She holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the University of Cape Town and has recently completed her Master’s degree in Civil Engineering.
She was selected to represent the voice of the Southern African youth at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2018, and she is a member of the first class of the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa – a programme for young leaders from across Africa.
As part of her prize from CESA, Kumbirai will be attending the FIDIC (International Federation of Consulting Engineers) International Infrastructure Conference in Berlin in September. This year’s conference theme is Mobility and Smart Infrastructure, and thought leaders from across the globe will examine how these changes and the increased digital interconnectivity will impact the future of our infrastructure, offices and homes.
“I’m deeply honoured to receive this award. Standing on stage, witnessing a dream actualised was nothing short of an incredible moment. To say this recognition belongs to me alone would be unjust. Thank you to my family, mentors and colleagues who help me grow, innovate and continually force me to think in new, creative ways,” says Kumbirai.
“Aurecon’s track record at the CESA awards demonstrates our commitment to fostering achievement for both our clients and for our people. Congratulations to all the winners at this year’s event.”