African Hydropower Project receives 2017 Award for Architecture
The Stortemelk Hydropower Project recently received the 2017 Award for Architecture from the South African Institute of Architects for the Free State Region. The thought and planning that went into the Stortemelk plant demonstrated what can be achieved when careful design and innovations are brought into the housing of a power station.
The hydropower project is the implementation of one of the three projects included in the Botterkloof and Merino II feasibility study by global engineering and infrastructure advisory company Aurecon for Stortemelk Hydro (Pty) Ltd, with Renewable Energy Holdings (REH) as the project developers.
As the EPCM (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction Management) contractor, Aurecon was responsible for the detailed design, construction supervision, ECO monitoring, contract administration and programming, as well as the Health & Safety oversight. Earthworld Architects was subcontracted by Aurecon for the architectural design of the upper part of the power station.
The client wanted a building that blended seamlessly with the landscape while also celebrating the responsible production of electricity. It comprises a number of building skins, including Corten weathering steel and polycarbonate sheeting, to create different experiences of the plant from the exterior and from within the interior. Upon completion, the project team managed to create a space that showcases spectacular light quality and successfully blends into the landscape, while celebrating the plant’s functions.
The 4.4 MW hydropower plant near Clarens was constructed between two existing dams without affecting their operations and stability, which is also a notable achievement for the project team. The construction commenced in October 2014 and, 22 months later, reached commercial operations date in July 2016, on time and within the project budget, without using any of the project contingencies.
“It is rewarding to be involved in a project that delivered many firsts for hydropower stations in South Africa. I would like to thank the client, my team, our architects and everyone involved this project that inspires Africans and enhances the sustainability of the region,” concludes Bertrand Rochecouste Collet, Aurecon Project Director.
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