Call to architects for expressions of interest in the ‘Alliance Without Walls’ project

Call to architects for expressions of interest in the ‘Alliance Without Walls’ project

The Alliance Française of Durban invites expressions of interest (EOI) from suitably qualified, architects who are keen to propose a novel design for one of Durban’s main cultural organisations. This is the first step in a two-stage process to select an architect, or a firm of architects, to design and oversee the Alliance Without Walls (AWW) project.



22 Sutton Crescent, Morningside, Durban 4001

GPS 29.830083 / 31.021137 


Background to the Alliance without Walls Project

The Alliance Française de Durban (AFDD) is a language education and cultural centre, established in 1936 and based in Morningside. It is a registered NGO and NPO, governed by a South African committee of volunteers and staffed by a French director and a team of international and local teachers, professional staff, interns and volunteers.

The AFDD property has a prime location facing Sutton Park, on Sutton Crescent, at the intersection with Lillian Ngoyi Rd. The centre is open to everyone, members and non-members but is largely hidden from view by high walls.

AFDD has initiated a project to break down the walls, to make the premises more open, visible, welcoming and engaged with the surrounding area. It aims to replace the walls with a boundary that will be an aesthetically appealing landmark while responding to security concerns.

While this project is specific to the AFDD, it has the potential to generate new principles and practices for suburban boundary design.


Requirements/ criteria

A design is required for a boundary to the AFDD premises that responds to the security, aesthetic and functional requirements of the premises. The AFDD is a place of lifelong learning, open to all, celebrating diversity and promoting understanding, tolerance and inclusion and environmental responsible. The new design must take cognisance of the multiple sets of users of the AFDD, for the purposes education, performance, arts and cultural activities, social and official events, and dining. In addition, careful consideration needs to be given to weather, acoustics, noise levels for users and for neighbours, lighting, access and privacy.



  1. Concept note (maximum 3 pages/ 1000 words) describing what could replace the existing wall in line with the principles noted above. This can, but does not have to be, accompanied by a concept drawing. NB, please do not submit a design at this stage.
  2. SACAP registration number
  3. Brief description of 3 recent design projects.


Evaluation of Expressions of Interest

The concept note will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  • Innovation and creative response to the brief
  • Feasibility – being realistically implementable in relation to the scale of the project
  • Consideration of context – understanding of the neighbourhood and geographical space
  • Proposed resolution of the conflict between achieving openness and inclusion and ensuring security
  • Understanding of the purpose, philosophy and multiple functions of the AFDD.


Selection process

The expression of interest is part of a two stage process for selecting an architect/ firm of architects to design and oversee the new boundary of the AFDD.

After the closing date for receipt of expressions of interest, a panel made up of architects, AFDD Board and management, a private security specialist, and an urban scholar will evaluate the concept notes against the stated criteria. The panel will shortlist up to three architects. These applicants will then be asked to develop their concept and prepare sketch designs.

The three architects will compete for the project. The winner of this competition will be awarded a contract for the project, while the second and third runners up will receive a prize. Involvement in the competition will be unpaid.


First prize: Award of contract to undertake the design of the AWW project

Second prize: 80 hours of language instruction at Alliance at Française De Durban

Third prize: 40 hours of language instruction at Alliance Française De Durban


Please submit your concept note and the required documentation, with your name, company (if applicable) and contact details to: using the subject line ‘Alliance Without Walls EOI’.

Please feel free to contact Deborah Ewing if you have any questions or queries on:

Closing date: 13 June (mid-day). No late submissions will be considered.