Led by a team of dedicated Boogertman+Partners architects working with academic research teams, film producers, sound engineers, product designers, digital and graphic designers the new studio will be seeking alternate design and conceptual opportunities that are not part of traditional architectural practice yet run parallel in the solutions they provide within the built environment.
Clients increasingly demand proposals and solutions within short turnaround times, yet projects have long time frames from brief to occupancy. “So not only do you need to find answers fast, often the ideas you propose are potentially out of date when the project is complete,” says Bob van Bebber (Director at Boogertman+Partners). “To keep ‘future proofed’ and relevant it becomes increasingly crucial for the research and forward-thinking practice within the discipline to have a formalised platform in which time is invested in researching materials and concepts within the built environment.”
Dr Britt Baillie (Honorary Research Fellow for Wits City Institute, Research Associate for the University of Pretoria & Researcher for the Centre for Urban Conflicts Research, University of Cambridge) has joined the team as the Research Lead. For her, “Architectural practices have a unique vantage point from which to identify significant gaps in knowledge that need substantial investigation to meet future needs. They are also able to pick up on instances in which existing paradigms that underpin the spatial disciplines do not adequately respond to shifting realities that they witness on the ground.”
Further, in most architectural practice there is a high level of research and knowledge production done in the completion of projects that is uncaptured. Bob van Bebber and Francois Bredenkamp, (Director at Boogertman+Partners) share the view that the business of architecture is shifting. “A large amount of time and talent is thrown into projects as part of value-added service to clients,” says Francois, “and while we will continue to provide this for clients, FuturePart allows us to open up new opportunities and understanding for clients and ourselves. Research projects like The Future of Inclusionary Housing Design and The Future of Corporate Privately Owned Public Spaces will take a great deal of time and investment in seeking solutions. However, it is a critical piece of work that is pertinent in our South African context yet importantly, also a part of a global dialogue around affordable solutions needed for residential space in growing cities.”
As Nisha Van Der Hoven, Curator of the new studio explains, “FuturePart has a strong focus on process and technology, a considered reflection on how we work and the materials we use, to explore meaning in the making. The rigorous, yet open methodology it explores allows an environment of constant learning. Fresh inputs and insights that will challenge the status quo and contribute to positive change in the way we consider the built environment. FuturePart outputs will range from film to exhibitions, events, and talks to research publications and products.”
While FuturePart is situated within the Boogertman+Partners practice and operates from the Johannesburg and Pretoria offices, it will collaborate on, and spearhead design and research projects throughout Africa.