Fourth win in five years for the Department of Architecture! Luzuko Funda is the 36th recipient of the prestigious national Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year for his treatise presented in 2022. Luzuko marks the fourth win in five years for Nelson Mandela University's Department of Architecture. 


BUILDING HIS FUTURE: Luzuko Funda has won the 36th Corobrick Student Architecture Award and R70,000 cash


A candidate architect from Gqeberha has cemented his place as one of the best in SA after claiming top honours at the 36th Corobrick Student Architecture Award.

Luzuko Funda’s master’s thesis, inspired by his late grandfather, saw the 27-yearold bag R70,000 after his design impressed judges and was chosen as the best when it was pitted against other master’s theses from students in universities across SA.

The thesis, which focuses on the infrastructure relationship between Fort Hare University in Dikeni, the city and its natural edges, saw him graduate cum laude at Nelson Mandela University (NMU) last month.

“The programme looks at vertical farming, testing whether it would work in a city, helping local seed suppliers to have their stock purchased and creating jobs for local vendors who can buy products cheaply and quickly,” Funda said.

“The project would use water tanks as a means of providing water for the vegetables, wind power would be used to generate electricity for LED lights which would provide UV for the plants for quicker growth.”

He said he thought of his thesis and module topic after reflecting on his late grandfather, Ntungululu Phakophi, who died last year at the age of 78.

Funda said his grandfather had a large farm in East London with cows and they never needed to buy vegetables such as butternut, beetroot or fruit such as bananas.

“When I wanted to do the project I thought about the influence of my grandfather in my life. This subconsciously led me to realise how agriculture can influence farming in a city and research which are linked with learning and education.”

He said he was excited when his project had been selected to represent NMU and was in a state of disbelief when he was announced the overall winner on May 17.

“The competition was tough — there were eight contestants, the judges said there were two top contestants where their marks were equal in terms of judging scores.

“They had to go to each project to look at everything in detail, they saw my project was practical, buildable and it was a project that tackles current issues of society which can be used as a framework of architects in SA.”

He thanked his classmates, family and staff at NMU who supported him as well as local businesses that assisted him during the development stages of his model.

NMU architecture head of department and co-ordinator of the M.Arch fifth year studio, Andrew Palframan, said Funda was a disciplined student.

“He has a good character I am not surprised he won the award.

“I was also not surprised by his choice for his model and thesis.

“He followed both his head and heart.

“In developing his topic, the process throughout his master’s was rigorous and I am extremely proud of him,” Palframan said.