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Spotlight: The Latest Architecture and News

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.

Spotlight on Design: Toyo Ito

01:00 - 20 September, 2013
Spotlight on Design: Toyo Ito, Tama Art University Library (Hachioji Campus) / Courtesy Ishiguro Photographic Institute
Tama Art University Library (Hachioji Campus) / Courtesy Ishiguro Photographic Institute

The innovative work of the 2013 Pritzker Prize Laureate Toyo Ito is often driven by an internal critique and struggle towards perfection. In this translated program, the principal of Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects will discuss his design philosophy and remarkable work, which includes the Sendai Mediatheque in Miyagi, Japan, and Tokyo's Tama Art University Library and TOD’S Omotesando Building.

Spotlight on Design: SOM

01:00 - 17 April, 2013
Spotlight on Design: SOM, Al Hamra Firdous Tower by SOM / © Tim Griffith
Al Hamra Firdous Tower by SOM / © Tim Griffith

Taking place at the National Building Museum on May 14 from 6:30-8:00pm, SOM (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Architects) design principal Gary Haney, AIA, RIBA, will present the innovative design process behind the firm’s work, including the recently completed, 1,354-foot tall, Al Hamra Tower in Kuwait City, one of the world’s tallest buildings and the tallest building in Kuwait. Since its founding in 1936, the firm has designed and engineered some of the tallest buildings in the world-notably Chicago's Willis Tower, and New York's One World Trade Center. To register, and for more information, please visit here.