UIA World Congress Reveals Architecture's Other Side

00:00 - 1 September, 2014
Rahul Mehrotra's designs for an office building in Hyderabad exemplify the social agenda of architecture which dominated discussions at this year's UIA World Congress. Image © Carlos Chen
Rahul Mehrotra's designs for an office building in Hyderabad exemplify the social agenda of architecture which dominated discussions at this year's UIA World Congress. Image © Carlos Chen

With the International Union of Architects (UIA)'s World Congress taking place last month, the eyes of the architecture world were on South Africa where - according to Phineas Harper of the Architectural Review - the conference was full of architects of all backgrounds with "irrepressible energy," sharing ideas on how architecture can be used for social good with an urgency that is somewhat unfamiliar in the Western world. "Whoever said architecture was stale, male and pale should have been in Durban," says Harper. You can read the full review of the event here.

Morvest Headquarters / Anthrop Architects

01:00 - 30 August, 2014

Hillside / GASS Architecture Studios

01:00 - 27 August, 2014
© Kate Del Fante Scott
© Kate Del Fante Scott

© Kate Del Fante Scott © Kate Del Fante Scott © Kate Del Fante Scott © Kate Del Fante Scott +23

Pearl Bay residence / Gavin Maddock Design Studio

01:00 - 5 August, 2014

Kirstenbosch Centenary tree canopy walkway / Mark Thomas Architects

01:00 - 28 July, 2014
© Adam Harrower
© Adam Harrower

© Adam Harrower © Adam Harrower © Adam Harrower © Adam Harrower +31

House Liebmann / Daffonchio and Associates

01:00 - 27 July, 2014
Courtesy of Daffonchio and Associates
Courtesy of Daffonchio and Associates

Courtesy of Daffonchio and Associates Courtesy of Daffonchio and Associates Courtesy of Daffonchio and Associates Courtesy of Daffonchio and Associates +16

House 02, Hyde Park / Daffonchio & Associates Architects

01:00 - 24 July, 2014
© Adam Letch
© Adam Letch

© Adam Letch © Adam Letch © Adam Letch © Adam Letch +15

House 01, Hyde Park / Daffonchio & Associates Architects

01:00 - 21 July, 2014
© Adam Letch
© Adam Letch

© Adam Letch © Adam Letch © Adam Letch © Adam Letch +14

Aloe Ridge House / Metropole Architects

01:00 - 10 July, 2014
© Grant Pitcher
© Grant Pitcher

© Grant Pitcher © Grant Pitcher © Grant Pitcher © Grant Pitcher +34

Students and Community Members Come Together to Construct Theater in Cape Town Township

00:00 - 28 June, 2014
Courtesy of Future Cape Town
Courtesy of Future Cape Town

The Guga S’Thebe Arts and Cultural Centre in Langa, Cape Town's oldest township, is expanding to include a theatre exclusively for children and adolescents. The main component of the theatre, set for completion this fall, will be a large, multi-functional space for hosting performances. The project, a collaborative effort between future users and international architecture students, is aimed at stimulating sustainable development while widening the possibilities for the target demographic. To check out more project images, continue after the break.   

In Images: South Africa's Stunning Treetop Walkway

00:00 - 28 June, 2014
© Adam Harrower
© Adam Harrower

The much anticipated Treetop Walkway through the Arboretum in Cape Town's Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden is now open to the public. Located 11 metres above the ground, the galvanised steel and timber structure offers breathtaking views from the treetops. The project, a collaboration between Mark Thomas Architects and Henry Fagan & Partners consulting engineers, has been nicknamed Boomslang - a large, highly venomous African tree snake - due to its elevated, twisting form. Check out the stunning photographs by Adam Harrower, a horticulturist at the garden, after the break. 

© Adam Harrower © Adam Harrower © Adam Harrower © Adam Harrower +10

Spotlight South Africa: Three Designs Instilling Dignity & Defeating Stigma

01:00 - 6 June, 2014
Mamelodi Pod, a home and temporary soccer club with solar electricity and rain water harvesting. Image Courtesy of Architecture for a Change
Mamelodi Pod, a home and temporary soccer club with solar electricity and rain water harvesting. Image Courtesy of Architecture for a Change

How do you undo centuries of inequality? How do you overturn an inequality so ingrained in a culture that it manifests itself physically - in the architecture of its homes and in the misshapen nature of its cities? 

This is the question post-apartheid South Africa has been struggling to answer for the past twenty years. And while the government has made many concerted efforts, for far too many the situation has remained largely the same. 

However, there are currents of change afoot. Many who have been marginalized are now working to defeat the stigma and legitimize their communities, and they are enlisting architects to the fray. From an organization in Capetown that aims to transform the role of the South African designer, to another in Johannesburg that uses design to legitimize informal architecture, to a project in one of the most violent townships in South Africa that has transformed a community, the following three projects are making a difference for the users who have the most to gain from their designs and design-thinking. All three represent not only the power of design to defeat stigma and instill dignity, but also the power of communities to incite these projects, make them their own, and enable them to thrive.

Vame / SAOTA

01:00 - 6 May, 2014
Courtesy of SAOTA
Courtesy of SAOTA
  • Architects

  • Location

    Yzerfontein, South Africa
  • Architect in Charge

    Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen
  • Area

    828.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2006
  • Photographs

    Courtesy of SAOTA

Courtesy of SAOTA Courtesy of SAOTA Courtesy of SAOTA Courtesy of SAOTA +14

Inside Johannesburg's Infamous Ponte City Tower

00:00 - 11 April, 2014

The history of Johannesburg's Ponte City Apartments is a provocative one: built in 1975 and designed by Manfred Hermer as the height of luxurious (white-only) living in South Africa, the continent's tallest residential building soon became a notorious vertical slum, filled with crime and poverty, its signature hollow core re-purposed as a trash dump and a suicide drop.

AISJ Aquatic Center / Flansburgh Architects

01:00 - 26 March, 2014
© Stephen O'Raw
© Stephen O'Raw

© Stephen O'Raw © Stephen O'Raw © Stephen O'Raw © Stephen O'Raw +16

Urban Think Tank Takes on Housing in South Africa's Townships

00:00 - 20 March, 2014

Despite 20 years of government promises to improve the quality of housing following the end of apartheid, for many in South Africa's townships there has been little noticeable change. This is not to say that the South African government has not been working to meet these goals; however, the scale of the problem is so large, and with population growth and migration, the challenge is only getting greater.

That's why Urban Think Tank, in collaboration with ETH Zurich and South African NGO Ikhayalami, have worked together on a design for a more immediate, incremental solution called "Empower Shack."

Heatherwick to Transform Cape Town's Grain Silo into Contemporary Art Museum

00:00 - 15 March, 2014
Interior. Image Courtesy of Heatherwick Studio
Interior. Image Courtesy of Heatherwick Studio

Imagine forty-two, 33 meter high concrete tubes each with a diameter of 5.5 meters, with no open space to experience the volume from within. The brief from the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) for London-based Heatherwick Studio was to "reimagine the Grain Silo Complex at Cape Town's V&A Waterfront with an architectural intervention inspired by its own historic character," calling for a "solution unique for Africa" in order to create "the highest possible quality of exhibition space for the work displayed inside." Heatherwick's response will be the creation of a "a new kind of museum in an African context."

Floating in Space / W design architecture studio

01:00 - 13 March, 2014
© Jamie Thom
© Jamie Thom

© DOOK © DOOK © DOOK © DOOK +12