24/11/2017 12:56 SAST | Updated 24/11/2017 12:56 SAST

Ntsika Architects Wins Big At World Architecture Festival

Their amazing hospital design has been hailed as a game-changer.

Michael Shmucker, Ryan Leukis and Ntsika Architects.

The world's largest architectural award programme, the World Architecture Festival Awards, this year saw its biggest pool yet, with a total of 924 entries received from projects located in 68 countries across the world –– and South Africa's Ntsika Architects walked away with one of the big prizes.

The firm's Westbury Clinic in Johannesburg won in the the awards' Health category.

The new facility, which opened in December 2016, is designed to mitigate and reduce the transmission of airborne disease (like TB) through various innovative systems, while also eliminating stigmas attached to being ill –– which have become stereotypically synonymous with public healthcare facilities.

Westbury Clinic, the architects explain, also demonstrates that social, economic and environmental value can be generated for local communities through a holistic approach to development.

"To build capacity within the community, the project used local labour and provided opportunities for training in safe, high-quality construction skills. It is a building that is of the people and for the people," they say in the rationale for the design.

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"The building creates an environment that heals –– one that promotes health, human dignity and justice through simple design solutions. It creates a civic presence in an environment that is otherwise indistinct."

Ntsika Architects is one of the country's first 100% black-owned architecture firms, and their award-winning building follows in the footsteps of other iconic South African architecture –– like the Mapungubwe Museum, designed by Johannesburg-based Peter Rich Associates, which won the overall World Architecture Festival Award upon its completion.