Getting creative in the Cool Capital

by Darren
Architecture day Jnl 7 14

Architecture photography and green design were explored at the latest Walls & Roofs Architecture Day.

As part of the Cool Capital Biennale 2014, Walls & Roofs in Africa, in conjunction with the Pretoria Institute for Architecture (PIA) and Gauteng Institute for Architecture, and sister magazine Floors in Africa hosted a two-part Architecture Seminar on Photographing Architecture and Green Building Design. On 19 September 2014, architects, design professionals and students came together for this CPD-accredited event at the Atterbury Theatre in Pretoria.

After a delightful breakfast and warm welcome by Walls & Roofs in Africa editor, Marlene van Rooyen, Chenette Swanepoel from the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Visual Arts Department entertained delegates with a video of the UP students’ Cool Capital 2014 initiatives. The students identified certain urban challenges in Hatfield and came up with interventions such as their “Stop in the name of love” campaign, where they made pink stop signs and laid zebra crossings at robots to get students to cross busy streets safely.

Hugh Fraser, an architect and architectural consultant at Paragon, then shared his experience of photographing architecture around the globe and showcased both international and local examples, while sharing the techniques and practicalities he used to capture certain angles in order to create a specific look or feel.

The topic of photography proved to be a hit amongst the delegates. As photographer and lecturer Carla Crafford noted, architects often make the best photographers since the nature of their work requires them to be aware of how buildings should be integrated and how various materials and textures are juxtaposed. However, she pointed out that even the most seasoned architect may not have all the tricks of the trade to take the best photographs of his/her own work.

She further talked about the importance of texture, shapes and lines, and inspired her audience to look at buildings differently and to realise that one can’t always see what the camera does. “Some buildings can’t be photographed unless they are seen by accident. Climb on roofs and see what you find,” was a piece of her advice.

Rainer Straussner from Safintra discussed the specifications for steel roof sheeting, as well as the benefits of using metal roofs for construction.

On the topic of green building design, Llewellyn van Wyk, principal researcher in building science and technology at the CSIR, focused on the role that green infrastructure plays in building resilience. He warned that the manifestation of extreme weather events will become more and more common and increase in intensity. Therefore humanity’s land use patterns require a new definition of nature conservation. He spoke about environmental resilience, health and well-being, and reduced capital expenditure, all of which support green infrastructure, and mentioned many innovative ideas for water-sensitive urban design.

Showcasing what has been done recently, Lood Welgemoed from Boogertman + Partners presented a case study of the Department of Environmental Affairs’ six-star rated headquarters. He outlined the timescales and the complicated approval processes and described the design development throughout the construction process, as well as the lessons learnt and the impact those had on the company’s current and future designs.

The day was made possible by sponsors Lafarge, Technical Finishes and Safintra.

What did you enjoy about the day?
–    Hermien Klopper: The diversity of the talks.
–    Tienie van Rooyen: Context of the discussions.
–    Stephen Wood: Green building.
–    Steven Crawford: Energy-efficiency.
–    Riaan Visser: Sustainability.
–    Miriam Adebayo: It was interesting and informative.
–    Blackie Swart: Very informative.
–    Schalk van der Merwe: Photography presentations.
–    Marelie Mulder: Hugh’s pictures.
–    Rudi Lubbe: Everything really.
–    GL Buys: Total experience.

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