IN: News

Meet the judges - Daniel van der Merwe, 2018

PPC Imaginarium Director Daniel van der Merwe fills us in on changes to SA’s top contest for emerging creatives.


  • What was the highlight of 2017 for you?

The PPC Imaginarium reached further milestones by extending into the art community and maximising the opportunities of the artists who qualified as finalists. More than 87 000 people saw the entrants’ work on display. These visitors include buyers and art lovers. Several designers were given seed money to refine their prototypes and set up commercial production of their products. The initiative has enabled and empowered more artists and designers than any comparable project in South Africa.


  • How is architecture shaping SA in terms of the social, cultural and political landscapes?

Our country is leading in terms of the way architectural interventions can and do help to empower local communities, and the way urban environments are regenerated and reshaped to create better lives and opportunities for all.


  • As the organiser of this prestigious contest, what aspect has been the most rewarding thus far?

The role of the awards in supporting the arts and design disciplines in South Africa, and its importance in the strengthening of design innovation in our country.


  • One of the big changes in 2018 is the replacement of the Des Baker Award for outstanding architectural students with the PPC Imaginarium Award for Architecture. How did that happen?

32 years after its inception, South Africa’s most iconic architectural student design competition was terminated by its sponsors, Murray and Roberts Construction. PPC decided to step in to allow the contest to continue, and to recognize and reward the best architectural project by a Southern African undergraduate.


  • This year’s prize for Architecture forms part of the 2018 Architecture ZA conference. What does that mean for the entrants as well as the awards in general?

There will be an exhibition of projects selected by the various schools of architecture, and which will afford maximum coverage. This exhibition will represent the best design talent and the winner will be seen as the best design student currently enrolled for a degree in architecture. Winners get to choose from a wide range of job opportunities, including at top practices throughout the country.


  • In terms of the awards, what other changes have been planned, or do you hope to see, in the future?

The awards will continue to expand into other African countries and we hope that it will become the most prominent platform for showcasing and supporting African design and art.

Related Articles