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South African Architecture

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Ecological Control and the Garden City: Utopia for Whom?

At the turn of the 19th century, a British publishing house would release a book written by an English urban planner – a book with an optimistic title. The title of this book was To-morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform, later reprinted as Garden Cities of To-morrow. The English urban planner in question was Ebenezer Howard – and this book would lay the foundations for what would later become known as the Garden City Movement. This movement would go on to produce green suburbs praised for their lofty aims, but it would also produce satellite communities that only catered to a privileged few.

"I Grew Up Where Architecture Was Designed to Oppress": Wandile Mthiyane on Social Impact and Learning from South Africa

Design justice is grounded in personal experience and built through everyday actions. Wandile Mthiyane is an architectural designer that embodies this idea, an activist that grew up in Durban, South Africa during the Apartheid. From an early age he was drawn to building and design, a background directly tied to his childhood. He realized he wanted to build a better future by working to undo the architectural effects of institutionalized racial segregation. Today, Wandile has become recognized for creating social impact, including his work to transform his hometown of Durban.

The Corrugated Iron Roof: Avant-Garde or Unaesthetic?

It’s an essential architectural element, one we tend to immediately take note of when we look at buildings new to us – the roof. The roofs that shelter the buildings we see in our cities today are diverse in their typology. Flat roofs are a common sight in the city centers of urban metropolises, hip roofs are a popular choice for dwellings around the world, and the gable roof is arguably the most common of all, a roof type popular in stylized depictions of what a standard house looks like.

Spatial Education and the Future of African Cities: An Interview with Matri-Archi

Led by architectural designers Khensani de Klerk and Solange Mbanefo, Matri-Archi is a collective based between Switzerland and South Africa that aims to bring African women together for the development of spatial education in African cities. Through design practice, writing, podcasts, and other initiatives, Matri-Archi — one of ArchDaily's Best New Practices of 2021 — focuses on the recognition and empowerment of women in the spatial field and architectural industry.

UIA 2030 Award Finalists Announced

The International Union of Architects (UIA), in partnership with UN-HABITAT, have announced the Regional Finalists of first stage of the UIA 2030 Award. The biennial award, which is in its inaugural edition, honors the work of architects contributing to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and New Urban Agenda through built projects that demonstrate design quality and alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Colonial Connections: The Railway on the African Continent

There’s a well-known catchphrase – “Cape to Cairo” – that has spawned numerous books and piqued the imagination of countless travellers of the African continent. The phrase’s origins are of imperial nature, birthed out of an 1874 proposal by English journalist Edwin Arnold that sought to discover the origins of the Congo River. This project was later taken up by imperialist Cecil Rhodes, who envisioned a continuous railway of British-ruled territories that stretched from the North to the South of the continent.

ArchDaily Selects the Best New Practices of 2021

As our world evolves at an unprecedented pace, the challenges that come with it are becoming more and more complex. The questions faced by the cities and networks of our global world, the physical and virtual environments where our evolution takes place, are making architecture more relevant than ever. 

Urban Sprawl and Ghost Towns: The Impact of Mining on Cities

The urban settlements we inhabit today exist in their present form due to a host of reasons. There are cities that have grown due to their proximity to water – such as the growth of Dar es Salaam to the major port city it is today. There are the planned capital cities scattered around the world, governments of countries such as Brazil and Nigeria building cities from scratch from the input of acclaimed architects. There are also the settlements that exist and grow because of certain industries, such as Silicon Valley in the American state of California being home to giants of the technology industry. There’s an industry, however, that has spawned both pulsating cities and abandoned towns – the mining industry.

World's Greatest Places Include Revitalized Riverfronts, Affordable Artistic Incubators and Superlative City-States

Time magazine has released the World’s Greatest Places Of 2021, selecting 100 destinations from around the globe. With revitalized riverfronts, affordable artistic incubators, and superlative city-states, the list is a tribute to the built and natural environment that found a way “to adapt, build and innovate”, amidst the challenges of the past year.

National Parks: An Architectural Journey

The world is home to thousands and thousands of national parks – spaces allocated for conservation, hosting land usually left in its natural state for people to visit. The term “national park” itself differs in meaning around the world. In the United Kingdom, for example, the phrase simply describes a relatively undeveloped area that attracts tourists. In the United States, this terminology is a lot more rigid, describing 63 protected areas operated by the United States National Park service.