South African Architecture

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Exploring African Vernacular Huts: Weaving as a Climatic and Social Architecture

Weaving is not only a technical craft but also a way to design material experiences. Engaging in the process of weaving allows us to structure, communicate, reflect on, and connect with our designs. By experimenting with different fabric structures, we gain insight into how materials behave under tension and compression. This understanding helps us push the boundaries of textiles and their limitations, resulting in designs that stretch and test the properties of the materials.

Reactivating Residual Public Spaces with Community-Led Design

Contemporary cities and urban settlements manifest as intricate structures that demand deep reflection and a careful approach. The social models and spatial layouts within them are in constant evolution, transforming over time. In this context, a crucial question arises: What is the predominant model for cities today? Many contemporary cities result from a paradigm that reached its apogee in the 19th century, characterized by intensive densification and urbanization in response to needs that weren't always reflective of its inhabitants.

The Second Studio Podcast: Interview with Mark Bullivant

The Second Studio (formerly The Midnight Charette) is an explicit podcast about design, architecture, and the everyday. Hosted by Architects David Lee and Marina Bourderonnet, it features different creative professionals in unscripted conversations that allow for thoughtful takes and personal discussions.

Motifs and Ornamentations: Inspirations Behind the Colors of African Traditional Architecture

African societies' cultures are intrinsically linked to color. From fabrics to clothing, products, sculptures, and architecture, various societies explore rich and vibrant colors that are vivid, expressive, and joyful. Through different shades, hues, contrasts, motifs, and ornamentations, colors are embraced as an unspoken language, a palette for storytelling, and a sense of cultural identity. Although the use of color in African societies may seem decorative on the surface, it is extremely symbolic, with a deep sense of history behind it. Traditional African architecture is a prime example. Ethnic societies have endowed their homes with color through ornaments and motifs, expressed it with religious and cultural patterns, employed it on facades to tell familial stories, and created labyrinths of communal architecture that not only celebrate color but explore its ethnic meaning.

Shininess Explored: Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation's Installation at the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale

The Office for Political Innovation, led by Andrés Jaque, collaborated with a network of activists and community representatives from Xholobeni (South Africa), experts in seismographs and transduction from Poland, researchers, sound editors, and prop makers to bring a research-based installation at the Arsenale of the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale. Titled ‘XHOLOBENI YARDS. Titanium and the Planetary Making of SHININESS / DUSTINESS,’ the intervention addresses architecture’s problematic fascination with shininess.

What are the Spatial Possibilities for Enclosures Within the Highway Interchange?

Highway interchanges have evolved from important infrastructures that help distribute traffic to unique landmarks that define cities. As multiple road networks embrace and form distinctive sculptures, these road intersections range from singular bridge connections and roundabouts to numerous, layered and multi-layered interchanges. They twist, turn, loop, and wrap around sparse land, vegetation, or existing structures in a bid to transfer travelers from one roadway to another. However, they also create a moment of enclosure, forming partially bounded areas and a sense of space. These spaces could be viewed as liminal and transitional, with no fixed typology able to be hosted. But that blurring character calls for ideas of urban intervention to disrupt the notion of what these spaces can be. They can be readapted from car-dominant sculptures into more human-friendly places and re-integrated as extended schemes of the city's architecture.

The Structure of a People: The South African Pavilion Explores Architectural Representations at the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale

For the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, the South African Pavilion explores the architectural representation of social structures through an exhibition titled “The Structure of a People.” Prior to the exhibition, the pavilion curators, Mr. Stephen Steyn, Dr. Emmanuel Nkambule, and Dr. Sechaba Maape, conducted a national architecture competition titled “Political Animals,” aimed at gathering artifacts crafted by lecturers and architecture students to represent the structures of their schools or universities. The resulting models and miniature architectures, produced by ModelArt, will be exhibited within Zone III, Political Animals, as part of the South African Pavilion.

Utilitarian Creativity: Reinventing and Reading the Silo

Hulking, imposing, and utilitarian, silos are an enduring urban feature, structures typically used for the storage of materials in bulk. They are important physical elements of the agricultural industry, storing grain, fermented feed, and other foodstuffs. These tall, typically cylindrical forms remain the subject of architectural fascination — from being symbols of technological progress for Modernist architectural figures of the early 20th century, to in contemporary times, instigating inventive approaches to adaptive reuse.

A Living Capsule on The Moon and a Garden Home in Colombia: 10 Unbuilt Visionary Houses Submitted to ArchDaily

This week's curated selection of Best Unbuilt Architecture highlights visionary homes by the ArchDaily community. From a prefabricated house to supporting Ukraine war victims, a modular multi-story house highlighted during the Dutch Design Week, and a villa "shaped" by the Dubai coastline wind flow, this round-up of unbuilt projects showcases how architects move forward from the conventional residence concept to project alternative habitational standards in responding to harsh environments, nature, and technology.

URB Reveals Design for Africa’s Largest Sustainable City

URB has unveiled plans to develop Africa's most sustainable city, a development that can host 150,000 residents. Known as The Parks, the city plans to produce 100% of its energy, water & food on-site through biodomes, solar-powered air-to-water generators, and biogas production. The 1,700-hectare project will feature residential, medical, ecotourism, and educational hubs to become one of the significant contributors to the growing green and tech economy in South Africa.