At #AZA18, the theme ‘WeTheCity: Memory & Resilience’ engages head on the changing role of architects in the built environment and architects’ obligations to the public – through a flexible and affordable programme that includes keynote presentations by renowned local and international speakers, professional practice sessions, student design sessions, films, workshops, walking tours, and a series of inspiring exhibitions and awards – all at Pretoria’s most exciting inner-city venue, 012central.
Says Marguerite Pienaar of the University of Pretoria’s Department of Architecture, “The right to adequate housing, as one of the most important of all basic human rights, is recognised in a number of international human rights instruments and treaties, yet we have made very little progress in the delivery of new approaches to housing densities and resultant typologies.
“Ultimately, we must choose to make cities sustainable and resilient, and it is within this context that architecture should address basic human rights. Through issues of resilience focussed on the larger discussion of the socio-economic implications of housing provision, WeTheCity considers that the future of our cities is practically the future of our humanity.”
As a highly participatory platform for envisioning scenarios of change, #AZA18 will host several activities that will question the nature of architecture in contributing to society and sustainable city development.
Reimagining the Pretoria Inner City
The relationship between modernist architectural and urban heritage, the legacy of apartheid planning, inner city revitalisation and public space will be presented by Marianne de Klerk Architects & Urban Designers and Holm Jordaan through four integrated events – an exhibition titled ‘Pretoria Inner City: Formation and Transformation’; a Seminar Session titled ‘Modernist Heritage and Reimagining of the Inner City’; a walking tour and a Master Class.
“Vital urban issues such as the right to the city, the richly layered and often contested heritage of key sites, and the impact of informality and more inclusive use of spaces will be explored through these integrated experiences,” explains Marianne de Klerk.
The seminar session will be chaired by Professor Hannah le Roux of the Wits School of Architecture & Planning, and participants include keynote speaker Professor Maria-Fernanda Derntl from the University of Brasilia as well as Dr Kees Somer and Professor Marieke Kuipers from the Delft University of Technology, Dr Emmanuel Nkambule from TUT and Johannesburg-based architect, Tanzeem Razak.
Masterclass: The 495 CITY
The “The 495 CITY” masterclass, presented by 26’10 South Architects with renowned international guest speakers Sameep Padora and Peter Barber, will explore and expand the architect’s role in how cities develop through the provision of affordable housing. Both Padora and Barber have been recognised for pushing typological boundaries in terms of affordable housing within their respective contexts.
The programme is rooted in the current reality of Johannesburg and its inner-ring suburbs in which low land prices and an increasing demand for affordable accommodation are making possible the re-building of large parts of these neighbourhoods. The 495m² plot is proposed as a basic building block to imagine the city to come – a city that is walkable, liveable, affordable and safe.
“The Masterclass looks at making a quality urban environment more accessible to a range of income groups,” notes Thorsten Deckler of 26’10 South Architects. “The workshop will explore new spatial strategies that offer choice and flexibility with the specific intent of transcending the poverty trap that many of these suburbs have become. Such an approach insists that the city is an enabling space in which people’s basic human rights are recognized and where hope can take root.”
WeTheCity: Whose identity, what identity?
The 75th Birthday Exhibition of the Department of Architecture at the University of Pretoria was crafted around the embedded intersections between identity, space, context and politics. The agenda was to explore the disciplinary design constructs of space and identity within the context of the city as the place of social and economic exchange that constitutes the political life of its citizens. Built by Boukunde’s third year design factory, the exhibition creates “places” from which arguments can be discovered or even invented with regards to the idea of identity. Ultimately, it enabled the School to ask: what should the architecture of our city be at this time?
Local Talent on Memory & Resilience
#AZA18 is proud to present a line-up of high-profile South African speakers, all of whom believe that architecture has the power to catalyse positive urban change and make a better life for all city dwellers. Amongst these are:
Ntsika Architects’ Nadia Tromp, who feels strongly that architecture should be catalytic, extending beyond the boundaries of a single building, with a focussed impact on the urban environment;
Heather Dodd of the award-winning practice Savage + Dodd Architects who, with a particular interest in social housing and urban regeneration, will address the importance of designing buildings and places that put people first, and cities that are resilient to change;
Serenal Nadar, Senior Technical Manager at Ruben Reddy Architects, and Caron Schnaid, Associate at GAPP Architects and Urban Designers, who will share the journey of the conception, design and implementation of the inimitable Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital; and the vision that allowed this project to successfully integrate into the surrounding heritage precinct.
Showcasing Architectural Talent in Concrete
In 2014, PPC extended its existing sculpture, fine art and industrial design competition to include the creative disciplines of jewellery, fashion and film – and the PPC Imaginarium Awards were born. In 2018, the new PPC Imaginarium Awards for Architecture were launched, and all architecture schools in South Africa were invited to take part. The work of all entrants will be displayed at #AZA18, and the winner and runner-up will be announced on 3 May 2018.
Continuing Professional Development at #AZA18
Hosted by the South African Institute of Architects and co-hosted by the University of Pretoria (UP) and the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), #AZA18 is a not-to-be-missed event. Registered Architectural Professionals attending the two-day Conference will be awarded one Category One CPD Credit for each full day of attendance. Master Classes and Tours will carry additional Category One CPD Credits.