Christiaan Mulder ’80, one of South Africa’s top environmental designers and planners and an outstanding alumnus of the Texas A&M College of Architecture received The Association of Former Students Outstanding International Alumnus Award at a ceremony held April 26, 2011 at the Clayton Williams Jr. Alumni Center.
“Dr. Chris Mulder’s innovative approach to managing conservation and development projects has set new global standards for the creation of sustainable living environments,” states the letter from the Texas A&M College of Architecture nominating him for the award. “His outstanding professional leadership in South Africa has broken new ground in the way large, complex projects are delivered using multidisciplinary teams. This work has inspired pioneering development models based on innovative concepts in locally resourced-based and ecologically relevant urban design.”
After earning a Ph.D. in Architecture at Texas A&M, Mulder returned to his native land, launching Chris Mulder and Associates, a multidisciplinary firm employing land and environmental planners, architects, landscape architects and urban designers.
His firm has won multiple international property development awards for its Thesen Islands project, which consists of 19 man-made islands surrounded by tidal waterways linked by 21 arched bridges.
“While land developments have in the past abused the land and its environs, Chris has worked ever diligently to not only correct such failings, but to create new, advanced standards and measurements for development,” said Donald Austin, professor emeritus of the Texas A&M College of Architecture. “His Thesen Islands project is enormounsly successful in that regard. Government entities have used his visions as guides for their review of new works.”
Mulder has lectured extensively in Africa, the U.S. and Russia on multidisciplinary coordination of large-scale property development projects in environmentally sensitive areas, completing such projects in Angola, Kenya, Mozambique and China.
His firm is developing cutting-edge examples of sustainable rural residential developments with a strong agricultural basis in South Africa.
In April 2010, Mulder visited the college, lecturing about Thesen Island as a sustainable development realized through collaborative design, participating in roundtable discussions about interdisciplinary design and education, and delivering lectures in design classes.
Mulder also presented a lecture and led a design charrette with his son, Steff, while on campus to be honored by as an Outstanding International Alumnus. His April 25 presentation focused on Crossways Farm Village, his trend-setting residential development on a dairy farm.