2017 Corobrik-ILASA Awards of Excellence


The Corobrik-ILASA Awards of Excellence was held on the 15th September 2017 during a Gala Dinner at the Johannesburg Country Club-Auckland Park. The event was a great success, it was officially sold out with close to 140 people in attendance. The merit awards play a very important role in the industry by showcasing best practice examples for everyone that aspires to add value to the social or natural landscape.

ILASA presented Awards to design offices for fourteen deserving projects, across three categories, during the Gala Dinner, three of which were further recognised for special awards. The ILASA Lifetime Award was presented to Patrick Watson.

2017 Awards of Excellence

Thirteen projects were presented with awards in Category 2: Planning and Design and one award was presented to a student at the University of Pretoria in Category 1: Research, Technology and Publications. Three of the projects also received prestigious awards; the Presidential Award, the Just Trees Award, and the Environmental Sensitivity Award. The 14 projects that received ILASA 2017 Awards are highlighted below. Scroll down for details of the award categories, judges comments and additional images for each of the projects.

Submission Categories

Awards are considered for the following submission categories:


– 2A: Project proposals
– 2B: Fully completed projects – Project value less than R5 million
– 2C: Fully completed projects – Project value greater than R5 million
– 2D: Fully completed projects – Projects older than 10 years


House Erasmus

Hort Couture

1 on Mutual

Insite Landscape Architects

SASOL Head Office

Insite Landscape Architects

Just Trees Award

Westbury Pedestrian Bridge & Park

IYER Urban Design Studio

Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital

GREENinc Landscape Architecture

Discovering Intent

University of PTA (Maryke van der Merwe)

Waterfall City Park & Town Square

Daniel Rebel Landscape Architects

Kings Beach Park


ILASA President Ida Breed


The Gala Dinner is aimed at bringing the industry together. In keeping with this aim ILASA invited several VIP guests from related industries and would like to extend thanks to our industry peers who spent the evening with us. As ILASA President, Ida Breed, coordinated the Gauteng committee, Nadia Funke and Megan Anderson to arrange the regional judging of the projects. Ida together with the LOC and VdW organized a memorable prize giving at the Gala Dinner. We would like to thank every company that entered a project for the Awards and also the regional coordinators and LOC who worked very hard in this venture. This includes the regional judges who set time apart from their work and family to visit and evaluate the projects in a two to three day period. We are proud to announce a new special award, the Tshala Environmental Sensitivity Award, which together with the Just Trees Award makes the awards more meaningful.

ILASA Fellows and Mentors

ILASA Fellows

ILASA members nominated and chose to honour five of our members this year with fellow membership due to their long standing support of the industry and ILASA:

  • Piet Vosloo
  • Graham Young
  • Clare Burgess
  • Menno Klapwijk
  • Deon Bronkhorst


2017 ILASA Award Recipients

Excellence Promoted

The aim of the Corobrik-ILASA Awards of Excellence is to acknowledge and promote excellence in landscape architecture. Promotion is achieved through media coverage of the project entries. ILASA further makes use of the project images on our website and in promotional brochures to prospective students and our peers in other professions. All material that is submitted is retained by the Institute as part of its library.
The projects obtaining Awards of Excellence are acknowledged by means of the presentation of a certificate as well as media coverage. An Award of Excellence is not given on a competition basis but based on merit; and provides for all types of projects from large complete projects to small specialist projects.

ILASA Awards Ethos

Landscape Architecture is more than a profession; it is a basic component of human culture. The ILASA Merit Awards of Excellence aims to exemplify best practice examples that are clear in their intent and relevant to their specific context. We are faced with particular social challenges in a country with extraordinary biodiversity, rich in resources but in need of conserving what we have. Projects should clearly demonstrate how they add value to the landscape, specifically in aspects of social or ecological health and well-being, but preferably encompassing both these aspects.

Presidential Award

Marula Game Ranch

Awarded to: GREENinc Landscape Architecture

Project summary

Poised against the dramatic geology and hilled environment of the Namibian plateau, the gardens of the Marula Game Ranch residence overlook and find their root in the meandering bends of the Schaap river that skirts its edge.

Rather than cover an already beautiful hill with endless lush and ‘exotic’ gardens, a more restrained approach was applied when considering the design. The principal strategy behind the landscape is a linear navigation route informed by the idea of a charm bracelet. The metaphor of the bracelet consists as a primary axis/route or chain that gives order between the residence and the river with secondary elements/jewels that adorn and link up to the central route/chain.

Design energy and focus was placed on the charms of the bracelet, moments scattered along the main navigation routes, providing respite from the harsh environment. These include arched walkway structures, curiosity courtyards, deep rock pools and terraced spaces that replicate the rocky ridges and open river bed that characterize the site. Courtyard structures are designed to provide cool retreat and depth of shade from the desert heat while providing protection to plants from cold winter winds. Pathways and structures alike are respectfully designed and sculpted to fit around and into existing rocks and trees, treading lightly in places while solidly grounding themselves in others. The approach to materials is simple and layered, mimicking textures of the immediate environment while proving a backdrop to the delightful play of shadow and light that bring life to each of the spaces.

Judges’ comments:

A project executed with excellence on a site with the challenges of both water scarcity and extremes of temperature. Plants suited to the site conditions, including rare species, were sourced from near and far. The project received excellent scores in all the award criteria categories. The judges commended the sensitivity achieved throughout the design elements, which are visually and technically integrated with the natural environment and creative context. The project was considered to be at or beyond a level of prime excellence.

Just Trees Award

Sasol Head Office

Awarded to: Insite Landscape Architects

Project summary

The landscape design encompasses a number of different spaces; ground level, the interior and exterior spaces of the podium level on top of the super-basement, the 5th floor, and the 10th floor. Fluid paths lead the visitor out onto the Podium Level landscape, serene and encompassing, allowing for the thoughtful absorption of current and future art pieces and sculptural elements. Winding pathways guide visitors through the full and rich biome vegetation displays, that celebrate and showcase carefully selected indigenous trees and shrubs that are specifically known for their bird and butterfly attracting characteristics, allowing for the display of information from the Sasol Birding Collection.

Judges’ Comments

The project demonstrates excellent integration with the architecture and provides a variety of desirable outdoor spaces for use by office occupants. A wonderful variety of large trees and plant species were introduced. The initiative, particularly to attract birds, in line with the Sasol series of Field Guides, is commendable. The project achieved a general high average in all the award criteria categories.

Environmental Sensitivity Award

The Towers at Merriman Square

Awarded to: Square One Landscape Architects

Judges’ Comments

This landscape project responds well to the contextual planning and to its environment. The design is innovative, aesthetically pleasing and functional. The stormwater harvesting is exemplary. User safety has been considered and the project is accessible to all. The landscaping is well integrated with the architecture and urban design. The technical detailing is durable and of a very high quality. Plant mix selection is good and thriving in this time of drought and water restrictions. Ecological value is added through the seasonal wetland, which provides diverse experiences and educational value in the inner city. This landscape is enjoyed by many on a daily basis and contributes highly to its environment.

This world-class landscape project has a coherent design philosophy which has been exquisitely detailed. It has been well integrated with the building, uses the space well and invites people in. It has an exemplary stormwater strategy which has resulted in healthy planting in times of water restriction. It provides good desire lines, seating and pergolas, and puts people in touch with water and natural systems in the city centre. This project enriches South African Landscape Architecture and the many people who move into it and through it.

The project is innovative and has been very well implemented, and is a new benchmark for the development of urban spaces in the City of Cape Town, including stormwater management, water harvesting and providing both passive recreation and education for pedestrians. It makes a valuable contribution to the Foreshore of Cape Town, touching numerous people on a daily basis and is a world-class project, which will enrich South African Landscape Architecture.

ILASA Award presented to

Warren Lange of Hort Couture

Category 2B: House Erasmus – Concrete House

Awarded to Hort Couture

Judges’ Comments

The design provides a series of spatial enclaves on a site with limited space due to a steep slope. The landscape architects have achieved a successful integration with the architecture, and shown excellence in design and execution of a series of elements: elevated metal catwalk, stairs, atrium water feature, green walls, climbing wall, concrete panel feature wall and the landscape lighting. The judges regretted the overlooked opportunities to plant the rooftop and to integrate the planting palette with the intriguing native vegetation of the ridge, but trust that this might have been the client’s choice. For this reason the project fared less well in terms of contextual response and sustainability. However, in general the project is of noteworthy quality and seen as a best practice example. Congratulations!

ILASA Award presented to

Cornelia King and Ferdie Häefele of Insite Group

Category 2B: 1 on Mutual

Awarded to Insite Group

Judges’ Comments

The project manifests an original response to the theme for inner-city living by creating an intimate space with critical visual links to the city’s renowned Church Square. This residential project fared very well in terms of its intent, its contextual response and design excellence. It could have been further improved in terms of ecosystem services, sustainability and resilience. The judges also found the functionality of some of the play equipment slightly doubtful. Regardless, the judges agreed that this was a creative best practice example. The design is robust, confidently built and responds well to the needs of the residents, while the plants are well selected for the courtyard environment, and excellent maturity is evident. Congratulations!

ILASA Award presented to

Darryl Pryce Lewis and Chris de Beer of OVP

Category 2B: New Lecture Theatre at UCT

Awarded to OvP Associates cc

Judges’ Comments

Criteria: The landscape design of this project successfully integrates the landscape with the building, heritage issues, spatial continuity and landscape character of the existing UCT campus.
The landscape includes ‘greening’ principles such as temperature controlled screens and SuDS, and provides for students to sit on lawns and seating steps, while providing slope retention. The technical detail design is of a high quality with paving and plant materials being functional and contemporary.

Recommendation: This first contemporary landscape at the UCT Upper Campus has been a good addition to the street landscape and its termination point. The space is successful in achieving a Sense of Place and is complemented by green aspects such as a SuDS wetland pond, temperature screening trellis and the preservation of an existing large oak tree. The selection of both sloping lawn and seating steps, providing both retention of the slope as well as seating for students, is nicely detailed. This contemporary reference at the end of a central and historic axis at UCT is world-class.

ILASA Award presented to

Jaco Jordaan of Planning Partners

Category 2B: Quays Development: Quays, Quays North, Quayside

Awarded to Planning Partners

Judges’ Comments

Criteria: The intent of the project has been accomplished and the landscape responds well to its context. The landscape architecture design integrates well with the architecture and urban design of this project. The detail design, both soft and hard, has been very well excecuted. The water flow provides an aesthetic, ecological and sustainability function to the project, with the water polishing being to the benefit of the greater area. The soft landscaping complements the development, providing green relief and pedestrian scale to the development.

Recommendation: The rain garden and water harvesting, in particular the weirs with their appropriate indigenous plantings, has been created with care. This enhances not only the project but the greater area, both visually and ecologically. The soft landscaping does well to integrate the built landscape into the surroundings and at a human scale. The variety of water features (from formal to gabion weirs), secluded seating areas, suitably selected planting and paving pallettes provide layers which enrich the landscape of the Quays Development. Landscaping details, hard, soft and water features, are of an accomplished standard.

Category 2B: The Skycatcher at Northgate Island

Awarded to Square One

Judges’ Comments

Criteria: The design is interesting, functional and unique. The ‘upcycling’ of a vehicular ramp into a pedestrian feature, provides access, passive recreation space and entertainment for workers in the building, visitors to the building and the public in general. The hard landscape material selection is suitably varied, in spite of budget and structural limitations. The plant pallette is coping with the water and sunlight restrictions.
Recommendation: The Landscape Architects have taken the initiative to improve and provide the building with an attractive and unique green landmark. The landscape architectural intervention is ambitious and unique, and has ‘upcycled’ a vehicular ramp to a multifunctional pedestrian facility, entertainment area for enjoyment by tenants, workers, shoppers and the public in general.

ILASA Award presented to

Sarah Chang of OVP

Category 2B: Criteria: Vergelegen Rose Garden

Awarded to OvP Associates cc

Judges’ Comments

Criteria: : The intent was well formulated, interpreted and accomplished. The rose garden responds well to the historical context and contextual planning of the farm. The layout was good with the technical details being of a high quality. The plant selection was creative and relevant. The standard of this project is world-class and enriches South Africa’s Landscape Architecture.
Recommendation: The redevelopment of a rose garden at the historic estate of Vergelegen has been highly succesful in its layout, which reflects its historic context in numerous ways. The careful consideration of design informants from the existing historic gardens and homestead has resulted in this garden settling well into its magnificent setting. The detailed design of pathways and pergolas have been very well constructed. The selection of rose varieties, which included numerous criteria, adds to the highly successful charm of this garden which has created its own Sense of Place in an already renowned garden.

Category 2B: Kings Beach, Port Elizabeth

Awarded to Earthworks Landscape Architects

Judges’ Comments

Criteria: This landscape project responds well to its environment and ties in well with its contextual planning. The design is coherent and functional and uses sound principles to enhance safety. The landscape integrates well with the urban design and provides access to all. The detailing is good and the plant material selection suitable for the harsh coastal conditions. Ecological value is added through the wetlands and stormwater polishing. The landscape is diverse and provides many varied recreational activities and experiences. The storwater harvesting for irrigation is exemplary. This project makes a good contribution to peoples lives and to the urban environment of Port Elizabeth.
Recommendation: This is a significant urban park for Port Elizabeth, and South Africa, and is being well-utilised due to the much improved safety/security design, and the wide range of activities provided. The design is coherent and the stormwater innovations are to be applauded.

ILASA Award presented to

Daniel Rebel of Daniel Rebel Landscape Architects

Category 2C: Waterfall City Park and Town Square

Awarded to Daniel Rebel Landscape Architects

Judges’ Comments

The landscape shows an innovation in the design of shopping malls with ample space that is accessible to the public. This project fared very well in terms of intent, context and design excellence but could have been improved upon in the sustainability and ecosystem services categories. However, very good practices like recycling and water harvesting have been applied. An ample number of trees (albeit exotic) blends in with the architecture surrounding the park and town square. There is some room for improvement concerning groundcover planting combinations. The square and park are well used by all age groups, along with the interactive fountains and their multi-coloured lights for the nightscape. There is good surveillance over the lawn area for parents from the sculptural seating on the square. Altogether, the judges felt it was a worthy example of best practice. Congratulations!

ILASA Award presented to

Annamari Comrie of Green Inc Landscape Architects

Category 2C: Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital

Awarded to Green Inc Landscape Architects

Judges’ Comments

The project displays creative design of courtyard spaces that interact with the corridors of the hospital making these visually accessible and appealing to children, particularly through the delightful use of colour. The project received an excellent score in all the award criteria categories: especially intent, design excellence, ecosystem services and as a best practice example. The contextual response and sustainability criteria were less highly rated but still to be commended. The integration of playful concepts, art, plants and water features into all the various spaces for therapeutic effect, along with good technical resolution, makes this a very original and an exemplary project. Congratulations!

ILASA Award presented to

Nathan Iyer and colleagues of IYER Urban Design Studio

Category 2C: Westbury Pedestrian Bridge and Park

Awarded to IYER Urban Design Studio

Judges’ Comments

A significant attempt to link new public transportation routes with public open space, and particularly being one of the first, it should be celebrated. The project has potential to transform the relationship of spaces with surrounding dwellings, thereby making it a safer environment for the public. The project did very well in terms of its intent and its contextual response. The project could, however, have shown improvement in terms of ecosystem services and sustainability criteria. The judges considered the design excellence to be of a very high standard and it is seen as a best practice example. Congratulations!


Category 1: Discovering Intent

Awarded to Maryke van der Merwe Student University of Pretoria

Judges’ Comments

A commendable research project that received an overall high score in analytical aspects, reflection and layout. That being said, the presentation that accompanied the submission was not clear or easy for the judges to access. For example, the proposal should have better indicated existing facilities and uses on the site, and how the present popular community market could be integrated. The judges, however, found the research above industry norm and a great example.


Life time Award

Awarded to Patrick Watson

Patrick Watson is a self-made man. At the age of six he starts studying and collecting plants, a habit that has kept him fascinated till this very day. After working as an intern in a nursery and in an architectural practice for two years, he starts taking on his own commissions. At the age of 26 he is awarded and runs the design and implementation of the extended gardens of the Sun City Casino Project. Growing from strength to strength, in 1991 Patrick, with no formal training, was awarded honorary membership of ILASA in appreciation of his contribution to many of South Africa’s finest gardens. This award has never been repeated.
Patrick’s work is not limited to gardens and gardening. Over more than 50 years he has been involved with a variety of organizations in the creation of and for the protection of Parks, River Trails, Natural Ridges, Rock Formations, Trees and Iron Age Sites. He is a founding member of the South African National Trust for gardens and landscapes.
His work covers immense range of projects; from tiny private gardens to vast industrial estates, hotel complexes, golf courses, farms and even entire islands. He has designed projects in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland and the D.R.C. He has also worked in Malaysia, India, Mauritius, Seychelles, Saudi Arabia, Malta and Australia.
Patrick largely works by himself and with selected clients and contractors. He has no equal in landscape design, his extensive plant knowledge combined with immense design creativity and sensitivity outshines our best efforts. He has served as an ILASA judge on various occasions and is always available to share his passion and work with students and peers when approached. His work has appeared in many books and trade magazines throughout the years, but lamentably the industry is in dire need of a worthy compilation of the examples that he is still feverishly producing these days. In admiration of his work and his inspirational design achievements, we would like to honour him with the highest award in our industry, the life time award of outstanding practice in landscape design.