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PIA reflects on an exciting 2014

by Darren
PIA Jnl 1 15

Two President’s Awards were presented at the PIA year-end function.

The Pretoria Institute for Architecture (PIA) concluded a very exciting year for the profession, which included the Cool Capital 2014 Biennale, by presenting two President’s Awards at its Cocktails and Jazz! year-end function on 7 November 2014 at the Voortrekker Monument.

Before announcing the awards, PIA president Faan Nel admitted that it was inside that majestic granite structure that he, as a small boy, decided he wanted to become an architect.

The first 2014 PIA President’s Award for Heritage was given to Prof. Karel Bakker, Nicholas Clarke and Prof. Roger Fisher for their publication Eclectic ZA Wilhelmiens: A shared Dutch built heritage in SA.

“This publication redefines the shared architectural heritage of the Netherlands and South Africa,” commented Nel. “The buildings in this publication were traditionally referred to under the blanket category of Victorian architecture and this publication aims to set the record straight. It comprises various essays by researchers and academics, revealing a wealth of previously hidden sources and insights about Dutch-related architecture. This monumental work would ensure not only a better understanding of the built environment, but also of our shared Dutch heritage.”

Another President’s Award for Special Initiative was awarded to Pieter Mathews for being the brain behind and the champion of the 2014 Cool Capital Biennale initiative.

Nel pointed out that it was the world’s first un-curated, DIY, guerrilla biennale. “Pieter pursued a vision of living in a city where creativity reigns and the initiative joined the efforts of creative professionals, the general public and city management, and resulted in a more creative capital for all,” he says. “I think it was magic and I hope it is the first of many to come.”

Accepting the award, Mathews said he never thought the project would grow so much and thanked all the sponsors and role players. He mentioned that they are currently busy with a 300-page catalogue of all the projects, and people are still asking to join, even at this late stage.

“Just to reflect on what this biennale meant: We built bridges, created platforms, potential was shown, networks built, boundaries pushed, and people, businesses, film graduates and schools all got valuable exposure,” Mathews adds. “Urban furniture and simple interventions enriched our urban spaces and we created an awareness of our built heritage.

We showed another side of Pretoria and its people and we changed perceptions. Cool Capital held up a mirror and I like what I see.”

Memorable Bus Tour

Pretoria has an indisputably magnetic charm that is surrounded by a diverse culture and a prominent heritage, offering visitors and inhabitants alike an array of sites that highlight the Capital’s history while adding to its lasting legacy.

For these reasons, and as a result of the 2014 Cool Capital Biennale initiative, the PIA commenced with a resourceful bus tour to highlight and showcase just some of several sites situated in Pretoria.

Some of the gems en route included:
•    Pretoria Art Museum;
•    Union Buildings and Mandela Statue (STOP);
•    State Theatre;
•    Church Square (STOP);
•    Pretoria Station and Gautrain Station;
•    Pretoria Central Prison;
•    Voortrekker Monument;
•    Fountains Circle;
•    Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary; and several other memorable sites.

A bid farewell

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Prof. Karel Bakker on the evening of 19 November 2014 after a long battle with cancer. The team at FLOORS in Africa, Walls & Roofs in Africa, and all respective industry players offer their sincerest condolences to his family and colleagues. His successful career, demonstrated by his achievements, will not be forgotten.

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