The World Architecture Festival (WAF) is the largest interactive architectural awards programme and festival globally. Three SAOTA designed projects – Buffelsdrift, in Ladismith, South Africa, Starlight in Arizona, USA and project One in Dakar, Senegal – have been shortlisted as finalists for WAF 2022.

Buffelsdrift is a working farm that includes the restoration of Cape heritage buildings, consisting of the main house, two barns, and a wine store converted into a guest house. Buffelsdrift is a collaborative project between SAOTA and Jaco Booyens Architect, a specialist in clay buildings, and the project has been shortlisted in the Completed Building – Old & New category. The client wanted the cluster of heritage buildings to express the qualities they originally had; simple, well-proportioned spaces, a profound connection to place, simple use of materials and a building suited to its climate. In 2019, this project won the gold medal at the seventh edition of the international Domus Restoration and Conservation Award ( in Italy. The award recognises “excellence in the field of restoration, redevelopment and architectural and landscape recovery at an international level”.

Located on Camelback Mountain in Paradise Valley, Arizona, Starlight is inspired by its mountainous desert context. Shortlisted in the Future Projects – House category, the geology of the desert landscape; and the erosion which gives the surroundings its distinctive character become the basis for the sculptural representation of the building. Rammed earth walls further connect the architecture to the site, sliding out of the mountain and the strong cantilevering horizontal planes echoing the structural heroics of the rock formations. The primary space enjoys views across the paradise valley basin and back towards the mountain across a courtyard nestled into the rocky embankment.

Shortlisted as a finalist in the Future Projects – Residential category, project One, a luxury residential apartment situated along the coastal line of Dakar, draws a strong conceptual connection with its surrounding environment. The outstretched coast lies meters from the dusty site lined with iconic dark granite stone. The design methodology is comparable to metamorphism, the process a precious stone undergoes during its lifetime. The natural phenomenon sculpts the stone during metamorphism to express its value and beauty.

WAF has been bringing together the global architecture community for over a decade. The festival – including live presentations, exhibitions, and an awards ceremony – will be held in Lisbon, Portugal, from 30 November – 2 December 2022.