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New presidency to enrich the architectural community

by Darren
KZNIA Jnl 4 15

New President elected at the KwaZulu-Natal Institute for Architecture (KZNIA) will continue to enhance the vision of ‘City’, ‘Town’ and ‘Village’.

Recently, Ruben Reddy, owner of a nationally based practice, was inducted as the new President of the KwaZulu-Natal Institute for Architecture (KZNIA) at an inauguration ceremony in the Presidential Suite at the Sahara Stadium Kingsmead in Durban.

The ceremony was attended by a large number of architects and civic dignitaries. Ruben paid tribute to outgoing president Kevin Bingham, who, according to Ruben, had served his two-year term of office with distinction.

Ruben says that his two-year presidency will be informed by the already accepted vision of ‘City’, ‘Town’ and ‘Village’ and thus will focus primarily on programmes that would contribute to the NDP, in particular job creation, equality and the eradication of poverty.

“This will drive public debate on density, diversity, connectivity and the promotion of public space as solutions to our crisis,” he highlights. “None of these are personal but rather led by Andrew Makin and George Elphick – both recipients of a Corobrik-SAIA Award of Excellence – and adopted by members of the KZNIA committee as a means to broaden membership and promote the relevance of the institute in our current context.”

Also central to his presidency will be the drive to strengthen links with public authorities and universities. Currently, the practice of architecture is at the mercy of various authorities and the training of architects is hugely under threat because of the lack of funding to Departments of Architecture. As such, it is vital to bring those who practise the profession closer together with those that judge architects’ work and with those who hope to follow architects into practising this career.

“This regional committee will not be scared to speak its mind,” states Ruben. “It will challenge authorities to be efficient in dealing with matters of our built form. It would re-engage Issues of Heritage. It is this profession that is central to the current debate on symbols of heritage. We need to take the lead!”

Ruben began his own practice, Ruben Reddy Architects, shortly after graduating from the University of Natal (Durban), now the University of KZN, in 1988. He soon became an active participant in forums debating the transformation of the built environment professions in a fledgling democracy. Ruben was appointed by the Ministry of Public Works to formulate these strategies in 1994.

Over the years, he has become a specialist in sports architecture and is currently working on the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and Durban’s Bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The KZNIA, founded in 1901, is one of the oldest architectural institutes in South Africa. It now has more than 500 members comprising architects, technicians, draughtsmen and students. The aim of the institute is to connect and enrich the local architectural community, to foster a working environment in which they can pursue excellence, and to provide a professional support system.

“Ruben brings a unique energy to the Institute and with his revolutionary approach and ideas he’s one of the best people to usher in our focus of ‘city, town and village’,” concludes Lauren Haiden, KZNIA Vice-President. “A big effort will be made in strengthening relationships between the City, academic institutions and architectural practice over the next two years.”

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