THIRD-year Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Architecture student Leon van der Westhuizen walked away with the honours in a top student design competition.

His prize for winning the Caesarstone Student Designer of 2013 Competition is a five-day trip overseas to a design fair of his choice. The tutor lecturer is also awarded the same opportunity.

An elated Leon (21), who hails from Piketberg in the Western Cape, says the reality took a while to sink in.

“It took me two days to realise that I had won such a big competition! I am very excited to go overseas to go and learn more about different cultures and architectures.

“It was a big honour to go up on stage and receive my award. Overall the experience was great. I met a number of other designers from different universities in the country as well as professions in the field. The competition has truly motivated me to push myself even harder and become the best architect I can be,” he says

The brief was to design a “forum of excellence” that celebrates individuals and/or groups who have made significant contributions to benefit South African society and the environment.

The centre could house original memorabilia as well as being a physical memory and experience of South African “patriotism”.

Leon’s entry chose to celebrate South Africa’s contribution to the field of the Medical Science of the Heart.

The design resembled an artery and vein like a subterranean experience just under the slopes of Table Mountain, with one’s own heart pounding, to burst out into the view and sky overlooking Cape Town and then find the way back down.

His delighted lecturer Donald Flint praised the student’s “excellent project”.

Article issued by NMMU