KMH Architects win Architecture for Social Gain Award

16 September 2015

“Every inch of this development needs to be accessible and user friendly,” says Wayne Mansfield of KMH Architects who spearheaded the design of the new Market Theatre Foundation Multipurpose Facility in Newtown, Johannesburg for which the firm has won the FUTURE Category in the Architecture for Social Gain 2015 Awards.

These Awards, being held for the first time this year, were conceptualized by Saint-Gobain, a world leader in the habitat and construction market, to recognise and reward talent in the design of spaces that promote learning and development, as part of the company’s 350th anniversary celebrations.

Entries received in the FUTURE Category were for proposed future developmental projects, and KMH Architects submission, “The Market Theatre Foundation Multipurpose facility” was judged the best Professional entry.

This Multipurpose Facility, simply named “The Market Square”, is a complex structure with many different components, but the project can be summarised as unifying various buildings and functions into one precinct. The new complex will house three business units: Market Laboratory, Market Photo Workshop (MPW) and the general administration office for corporate services, all of which have until now been situated at different locations within the city.

A fascinating example of how heritage has been preserved and celebrated is the use of what Wayne describes as a room of little architectural significance but immense historical importance. A century old “eatery house” with four simple walls and a roof was part of the abandoned buildings being used for this complex. This small area, which was used to feed migrant workers who were not allowed to be seen in public, has been worked into this magnificent design by becoming a library.

Many green elements were utilised in the design of “The Market Square” including the use of well insulated cavity walls, every room or area being well insulated and the maximum use of natural daylight.

This project, with a total area of 10 500 m2, is currently under construction and will officially be opened in March next year.

For more information about Saint-Gobain, visit

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