Debating Memory and Meaning at AZA18

by Ofentse Sefolo
Debating Memory and Meaning at AZA18

Speaking to the AZA18 theme, ‘WeTheCity: Memory & Resilience’, some of architecture’s key thinkers and practitioners will engage around the often contentious topics of Heritage and Memory.

Architecture ZA 2018, Africa’s premier urban cultural festival focused on architecture, will be held from 3-5 May 2018 at the multi-faceted, vibrant 012central in the Pretoria inner city. Hosted by the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) and co-hosted by the University of Pretoria (UP) and the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), AZA18 is sponsored by the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP), the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC), PPC, Boogertman + Partners, and Geberit SA.

Space and Culture

Peter Barber is one of the UK’s leading urbanists and head of an award-winning, design-orientated practice with a portfolio of prestigious projects in Europe and the Middle East that includes a series of radical urban housing projects which have variously won Housing Design Awards, RIBA Awards and AIA Awards. Barber is driven by the people he works with and by the opportunity to do meaningful work. Concerned with global capitalism and the commodification of space and housing, he says, “At #AZA18, I will be discussing the importance attached to streets and public space, and the relationship between space and culture.”

Phill Mashabane will share insights under the topic ‘Architecture and Art Co-fusion’

Also concerned with advancing the morality of Architecture, co-founding Director of Mashabane Rose & Associates, Phill Mashabane, will share his considerable insights under the topic ‘Architecture and Art Co-fusion’. With a broad variety of prestigious projects completed over a thirty-year career, Mashabane has demonstrated expertise in the fields of master planning, urban design and development planning; architecture; museum design; storyline development and exhibit design; interior architecture; and research and development in heritage and conservation. The practice’s work includes the award-winning
Apartheid Museum, Hector Pieterson Memorial Museum, Robben Island Millenium Museum, Liliesleaf Legacy Project, Origins Centre and Freedom Park.

New Approaches to Heritage

The efficient and sustainable use of existing resources applies as much to existing building stock as it does to energy and water.

Marieke Kuipers is Professor Emeritus of Cultural Heritage at the Delft University of Technology, and Senior Specialist in Recent Built Heritage at the Dutch Agency for Cultural Heritage. She says, “The major challenge for the architectural profession is to adopt strategies for more inclusive thinking and designing, by integrating old and new buildings; to look for new potential in existing buildings; to reduce waste and to design with long-term perspectives and sustainability in mind.” Her message at #AZA18 will be that buildings are the carriers of memories, sometimes even a burdened past, but that they can be reloaded with new cultural energy by intelligent reprogramming.

Albrecht Herholdt will explore ‘New approaches to conservation in the context of the new South Africa’

Award-winning architect, academic, writer and founding director of The Matrix Urban Designers and Architects in Port Elizabeth, Albrecht Herholdt affirms that Architecture is both the most permanent of all the arts, and the one that affects the lives of people the most directly. At #AZA18 he will present ‘New approaches to conservation in the context of the new South Africa’ with a particular focus on how to make colonial buildings assets for all – a process that requires persistence, inspiration and determination. References will include the Campanile Restoration, the alterations and renovations to the Port Elizabeth Opera House, and the Mendi Multi-Purpose Centre.

Young, dynamic practice, Mayat Hart Architects, focuses on creating and understanding architectural and spatial interventions rooted in both context and historical narratives. Driven by a passion for the city, history and the practice of architecture, Brendan Hart and Yasmin Mayat believe in demonstrating that history and heritage are assets that can drive and add to the creative process. In ‘Marking Memory: Shaping the Architecture of Memorialisation’, they will convey that heritage and history should be used as tools for looking forward, to drive positive growth and change.

Memory and Meaning

AZA18 will not only focus on the content of architecture, but the way in which messages and meaning are conveyed.

URBA Architects and Urban Designers uses design to actively demonstrate what is possible by engaging in a world of ideas and retaining a sense of wonder. At #AZA18, founding partner, Henri Comrie, will explore architectural interventions as layers in time that have the capacity to both respond and project within a wider context; and he looks forward to exchanging and implementing ideas by listening to the stories of others.

Looking at the process of thinking, drawing and making in ‘Constructing Narratives’ with Nabeel Essa

Looking at the process of thinking, drawing and making is principal of the award-winning exhibition and heritage specialist architectural practice OFFICE 24|7 ARCHITECTURE, Nabeel Essa, who will communicate that space and space-making are not neutral but are imbued with narratives and memory. Through his talk, ‘Constructing Narratives’, he will look at the role that narrative memory has played in some of his work.

A strong conceptual thinker and designer, Philip du Toit from Osmond Lange Architects & Planners in Cape Town will present ‘Palimpsest: Abstract Art and Memory’, a project that was partly inspired by the long-term search for what the next step in photographic art could be. He says, “At first, images were extracted from videos. Then individual photographs were layered with enhancements to highlight the edges, colours, textures, shadows and shapes. After the first Palimpsests were created, the theory was developed alongside the art works.”

Must-see Exhibitions

Using various media, a series of inspiring exhibitions will provide the foreground to 012central’s vibrant urban backdrop. Earlier this year, 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.

Daniel van der Merwe, Innovation Architect at PPC Group Services, says, “As the market leader in South Africa, PPC has tracked the growth and development of the local built environment, and the PPC iconic brand is closely linked to the growth and development of South Africa itself. It could even be said that PPC cement has helped with the construction of South Africa’s cities as we know them today. PPC is therefore extremely proud to be associated with #AZA18 around the theme ‘WeTheCity’, both as key sponsor and exhibitor.”

Other exhibitions that will be showcased include the Corobrik SAIA Awards of Merit and Excellence; UP’s Department of Architecture 75th birth year exhibition, ‘WeTheCity: Whose identity, what identity?’; TUT’s Street Furniture Installation in Concrete; and a Miniatures Exhibition by UP’s second year History of the Environment students.

Continuing Professional Development at #AZA18

Owned and hosted by the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA), Architecture ZA furthers SAIA’s vision of providing a collective voice serving the interests of architectural professionals in pursuit of excellence and responsible design; and of positioning South African architectural professionals as authoritative leaders in the built environment.

Co-hosted by the University of Pretoria (UP) and the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), #AZA18 is a not-to-be-missed event with a highly flexible and affordable programme. 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.

Book your place at www.architectureza.org.

@architectureZA ‏

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