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Another architectural award for Wits Rural Facility

- Wits University

Some 480 kilometres from the Wits campus in Johannesburg, bordering a national nature reserve, lies the Wits Rural Facility.

This gem between the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo is attracting world admiration for its architectural design.

The Wits Rural Facility won first prize in Category A at the Fourth International Baku Architecture Awards held in Baku, Azerbaijan. This category recognises implemented projects in the architecture of tourist facilities and outshone entries from China, Egypt and Russia. 

The facility has previously won the Africa Union of Architects Award of Excellence, the South African Institute of Architects Limpopo Regional Award for Architecture and the South African Institute of Architects Commendation for Architecture.  

Created in 1989 and upgraded in 2016, the campus provides an internationally recognised, alternative teaching platform for in situ research into indigenous fauna and flora, conservation, and socio-economic policy and practice for rural communities.

As a tourist facility it provides affordable accommodation and is an ideal base located near important tourist attractions including the Kruger National Park. Designed to link with the surroundings, the beautiful seminar and conference venues are named after wildlife in the area.

Architect Katherine Mareé Otten, who led the upgrade which resulted the world-class facility, believes that the judges were impressed by the facility’s utmost respect for the natural environment and fostering a continued connection to the surrounding bush.

“We are pleased with this award and the legacy of the project”, she says.

The Wits Rural Facility is a multipurpose facility suited for teaching, conferencing and tourist needs.