Research Outputs (Architechture and Planning)

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Now showing 1 - 17 of 17
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    The role of ritual in Southern African hunter-gatherer environmental adaptation
    (2020) Sechaba Maape
    Twentieth-century Southern African San hunter-gatherer communities are often depicted as a people who are environmentally fluid, adapting to climatic variability through mobility so as to ensure their survival. However, based on environmental psychology and phenomenology of place we also know that all humans possess the propensity to have a deep embodied attachment to place, and that change in place can cause a range of emotions between mild nostalgia to severe psychological and social crisis. Research has also demonstrated the centrality of ritual practices such as the trance dance in San culture and cosmology. This article aims to explore the phenomenological role rituals played in ensuring adaptability in the face of change, as well as providing the fundamental need for existential and psychological emplacement. Using literature from both environmental adaptation and ritual in San communities, as well as cultural neurophenomenology and embodiment as theoretical frameworks, the article will discuss how San rituals mediated people/place relationships as a means of coping with highly variable environments and change.
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    Redlining or renewal? the space-based construction of decay and its contestation through local agency in Brixton, Johannesburg
    (Taylor and Francis, 2017-04-21) Haferburg, Christoph; Huchzermeyer, Marie
    In South Africa, space-based exclusion remains prevalent in many forms. In this paper, we focus on the "redlining" of selected neighbourhoods, a technique applied by banks to structure lending decisions in the property market. As a consequence of redlining, prospective home-owners may find it impossible to secure a bond in such an area. This rationale and its results have been described extensively in urban studies literature: zoning areas as "not credit-worthy" prevents investment and creates a self-fulfilling trajectory towards crime and grime. Residents in these neighbourhoods are subject to a practice of territorial stigmatization. This results in economic insecurity with various negative neighbourhood effects, e.g. individual disinvestment or slumlording. Redlining is currently not in the spotlight of media or research in South Africa. The structural effects of this practice, however, are significant. The translation of socio-spatial perceptions into financially excluding techniques is not prevented in South African legislation. The relevance of dissecting this conundrum is demonstrated in our case study of Brixton, one of Johannesburg’s socio-economically most diverse neighbourhoods. It is precisely in mixed areas such as Brixton on Johannesburg’s east-west axis where redlining is applied, effectively devaluing a process of unplanned socio-economic integration of over two decades. In our case study, however, we observe how some residents respond to this and successfully counter redlining by banks with a combination of individual and collective strategies. However, our case of local agency also demonstrates the huge effort that is needed to challenge the financial institutions’ spatial ideology.
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    The rhetorical devices for marketing and branding Johannesburg as a city: a critical review
    (Sage Publications, 2015) Sihlongonyane, Mfaniseni Fana
    Since the founding of the city of Johannesburg in 1886, the city has taken up the quest to project a modernist image whose meaning has an international reach and a local foundation. In this endeavor, its locational advantages, product (gold), ethnicity (African), race, and class (notwithstanding the interconnections of these factors) has been used as part of the branding narratives of the city. However, the use of these factors has been closely shaped by the political ideologies of the day. While the brand imaginary of the apartheid government was largely Euro-modernist and dependent on the use of locational, product, and racial influences, the post-apartheid vision has been Afro- modern relying on the fusion of global and African images informed by ethnicity and class. Whereas the two governments had political systems that differ widely on ideological grounds, both have had to contend with the indelible influence of the global market in the production of the city’s brand narratives. The paper traces the different trajectories of image/branding narratives of the city from its founding to the present. Consequently, it posits the theoretical argument that a global-African imaginary as a form of African modernity is the driving force for the branding of Johannesburg. The goal of the paper is not to assess the effectiveness of the marketing campaigns but to gain insights into the city’s self-reflective efforts at re-imagining the city’s identity as captured in branding texts through a critical and interpretive approach. The paper presents an Afro-modernity that is relational and inclusively intercultural but perverted by the hegemonic impact of neoliberal policy and its adverse articulations of globalization.
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    The legal meaning of Lefebvre’s the right to the city: addressing the gap between global campaign and scholarly debate
    (Springer, 2017-06)
    There is a growing consideration globally of a right to the city in urban policies, strategies and legislation. The mention of this concept in the UN’s New Urban Agenda vision statement, in relation to human rights, both acknowledges and encourages this trend. It is also a result of lobbying and contestation. In the Anglo-American scholarly literature, there has been caution as to whether Henri Lefebvre intended a legal and institutionalized meaning for his ‘right to the city’. This paper reviews these debates and from that perspective examines Lefebvre’s positions on law, rights and the right to the city. It locates this within his wider political strategy and in particular the three-pronged strategy he put forward in The Urban Revolution to address the urban question – political foregrounding of the urban, promotion of self-management, and introduction of the right to the city into a transformed contractual system. By contextualizing and reviewing Everyday Life in the Modern World (published immediately before Right to the City), the paper examines Lefebvre’s thinking on rights formation, within ‘opening’, or the process of inducing change. The paper engages with meanings Lefebvre provides for rights in his concept of the right to the city, including his later conception of a contract of citizenship. The paper suggests that engagement with a fluid role of law and rights, in combination with Lefebvre’s other strategies, is important in opening the pathway he charts for the realization of this right, whether through local or global initiatives.
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    Aiton Court: Relocating Conservation between Poverty and Modern Idealism
    (International committee for documentation and conservation of buildings, sites and neighbourhoods of the modern movement, 2013-01) le Roux, Hannah; Hart, Brendan; Mayat, Yasmin
    Aiton Court, in Johannesburg, is a case study in how heritage and economics clash in economically constrained cities. This iconic and formally innovative Modern apartment block from 1937 is located in an area where the income levels of tenants are now very low. Although the building is protected by legislation, the viability of its restoration is being further tested by a rent boycott. The article covers the building’s history, and questions how to approach its conservation differently, given the strong demand for housing at a cost level that would be excluded by purely market–led gentrification. We propose that locating conservation strategies in relation to the building’s history and to other subsidies aimed at the public good may provide other routes to preserving Aiton Court.
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    Book review: The Architecture of Demas Nwoko, by John Godwin and Gillian Hopwood
    (Farafina, Lagos, 2007) le Roux, Hannah
    Given the challenges of access and archives, it is hard to get down to detail in the documentation of modern African architecture. This architectural monograph by Nigerian based architects John Godwin and Gillian Hopwood is a moving and meticulous catalogue of the designed work of their friend, the artist Demas Nwoko, that is refreshingly full of both architectural and anecdotal details. It begins with two short essays on Nwoko’s creative background and an analysis of his approach to design, but for the most part describes, in drawings, text and photographs, his twelve built and five unexecuted works.
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    New Construction Economics and Management Building, University of the Witwatersrand
    (PICASSO, 2013-07) Kotze, Paul
    Much of the building activity that is currently occurring at South African universities should be seen in the context of the recent growth in student numbers and a backlog of building stock that has accumulated over a considerable period of time. To address this problem, the Department of Higher Education and Training has made the necessary funding available. The result has been the commissioning of new university buildings countrywide at a tempo and scale not seen for a long time.
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    (PICASSO, 2013-11) de Klerk, Nick; Essa, Nabeel; le Roux, Hannah; Salemi, Luigi; Cox, Ryan; Esteves, Ana Maria
    Paulo Esteves, who died unexpectedly of an asthma-related condition at the age of 39 at his home in July, was an architect who maintained a deep intellectual engagement with his practice. Prolific, he produced a vast number of residential projects and nature reserve lodges across South Africa in the brief 15 years that he was active. He studied at the University of Witwatersrand, graduating in 1999. Following graduation, he worked at Mashabane Rose Associates on the Apartheid Museum and at Paragon Architects, before setting up his own practice, Parallax Design Laboratory, in 2002. Throughout this period he was also a gifted pianist and baritone, which proved influential in his career as an architect.
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    WITS JUNCTION – Student Housing and Heritage Adaptation
    (PICASSO, 2013-05) Hart, Brendan; Munro, Katherine
    When it comes to defining what makes a good student residence, cost and square meterage are usually defining standards. The minimum standards contained in the Department of Higher Education and Training’s (DHET) 2011 Review of the Provision of Student Housing at South African Universities adds safety to these requirements. Spatial quality, architectural responses to context, history and a sense of place are often secondary considerations – nice to have but not essential.
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    N G KERK WELKOM WES: REFORMING UNITY TEMPLE Part 2 : The Noble Room for Worship
    (Picasso, 2013-03) Kotze, Paul; Peters, Walter
    Fifty years ago an early design by one of South Africa’s most in uential architects of the 20th Century was accepted for a new church at Welkom in the Free State. Although mired in controversy virtually from inception, the NGK of Welkom-Wes ranks as one of the key Brutalist buildings of South Africa and best known buildings of the late Roelof Uytenbogaardt, yet it is recognised mainly from photographs as he never wrote about the church. The NGK of Welkom-Wes is generally acknowledged as being based on Wright’s Unity Temple and this article will focus on the innate capacity of adapting that concept for a church of another denomination 60 years after the prototype. As an architectural biography, the article aims at de-mystifying the genesis, design and construction of the church, perhaps equally reviled and admired.
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    N G KERK WELKOM- WES: REFORMING UNITY TEMPLE. Part 1 : What the building wants to be.
    (Picasso, 2013-01) Kotze, Paul
    Fifty years ago an early design by one of South Africa’s most in influential architects of the 20th Century was accepted for a new church at Welkom in the Free State. Although mired in controversy virtually from inception, the NGK of Welkom-Wes ranks as one of the key Brutalist buildings of South Africa and best known buildings of the late Roelof Uytenbogaardt, yet it is recognised mainly from photographs as he never wrote about the church. The NGK of Welkom-Wes is generally acknowledged as being based on Wright’s Unity Temple and this article will focus on the innate capacity of adapting that concept for a church of another denomination 60 years after the prototype. As an architectural biography, the article aims at de-mystifying the genesis, design and construction of the church, perhaps equally reviled and admired.
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    Alterations to existing House
    (ELLE, 2009) Le Roux, Hannah
    This tiny project added a small, largely indeterminate space to my house. It faces the garden and resolves the difficulty of a house with an existing kitchen on the north. The L shaped sliding doors and windows can be opened in different configurations, and along with the mobile, folding table, allow for winter/summer, indoor/outdoor, public/private variations of eating or just working in this stoep.
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    Architecture from the frontline.
    (Domus, 2008-07-31) le Roux, Hannah; Southwood, David; Duker, Rob
    The photographs of Noero Wolff’s Red Location Museum suggest a post-traumatic state: all debris, dust and raw material, roaming children, and a tight, almost tense order that holds it all together. The building has striking composure, but it is the gritty setting that locates it in a compelling narrative. Noero Wolff won the commission in an open competition in 1998. The brief envisaged a museum and craft centre to celebrate South Africa’s history of struggle at its heart, in Red Location, an old township that had shown strong resistance to apartheid. The post-apartheid government developed such sites as a policy of representation: unable to bring immediate wealth to their vast numbers of impoverished supporters, it invested in symbolic projects for museums and parks that could bring the subsequent benefits of tourism.
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    The Congress as Architecture: modernism and politics in post-war Transvaal
    (Picasso, 2007-01) le Roux, Hannah
    Two significant strands of South Africa’s history - the precocious modern movement architecture of the Transvaal Group, and the political resistance that led up the Congress of the People and the Rivonia trial - remain the research subjects of quite separate disciplinary fieldsb. One of the few pieces of writing to span between the two is Rusty Bernstein’s autobiography, Memory Against Forgetting (), which traces his involvement in the political events of the 1950’s, while alluding how the theory and practice of architecture helped to support him in both material and ideological ways. Despite the optimistic title of Bernstein’s book, there is a real threat of memory loss around the way in which the events of the postwar period related to the ideals of modernity that, in both its spatial and social manifestations, was to inspire South Africa’s political transformations as late as in the 1990’s. This article revisits memories of the earlier period in order to suggest some associations between the apparently diverse areas of architectural utopianism and practice, political theory and activism, and the specific events around the planning of the Congress of the People in 1955. These associations suggest that there is an imaginative vision at the heart of modern architecture that is quite elastic, conceptually: one capable of translation into diverse manifestations, some physical, some unrealisable, and some only to be realised at another time. The article is inspired by the stories of a handful of radicalised white architects in the 1950’s, whose early formation overlaps with the emergence of the Transvaal Group. These architects, including Rusty Bernstein, Ozzy Israel, Alan Lipman, Roy Kantorowich and Clive Chipkin, studied at the University of the Witwatersrand in the late 1930’s, or in the immediate post-war period. These architects are not remembered for their designs but for the influence of their political positions on events. They were drawn to opposition politics as a way of achieving conditions of freedom and equality,conditions that would be necessary in order to implement the progressive modern architecture in foreign journals and books, including discreetly acquired copies of Architektura CCCP , that inspired them. However these conditions were not to be met in their working careers, and political events - the Sharpeville Massacre in 1961 and the Treason Trial - led them variously into exile, imprisonment, writing work and practice within the very limited circle of private clients who shared their ideals. Their most significant building, according to Clive Chipkin, was the ephemeral infrastructure that they designed and built near Soweto with hessian and timber for a political rally, the Congress of the People, in 1955. This event launched the Freedom Charter, a list of fundamental social demands including access to housing, schools and freedom of association, and in turn, in the 1990’s, became the basis for the spatial ideals of the new nation of post-apartheid South Africa. Rusty Bernstein played central roles in organising both the space and the written text of the Freedom Charter. The Congress architects’ political activities contrast with mainstream architectural activity, which was largely supportive of the capitalist apartheid state. To trace this history, it was necessary to use personal narratives as evidence, in the absence of a drawn or built archive: indeed, this may be a rare case in architectural history where the paper archive was swallowed in the face of a police raid. In its motives, this article, as well as paying tribute to a generation whose political choices led to personal hardship, tries to broaden the limits of architectural discourse to include not only built products but also their rebus, their exclusions. It suggests that what is not able to be realised does not necessarily disappear, but rather, might be translated into some other mode. Seeing the Congress as architecture draws attention to the other modernisms of the imagination that cross between transnational boundaries, between conditions of the built and the unbuildable.
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    Colonial conceptions and space in the evolution of a city: Evidence from the city of Bloemfontein, 1846-1946
    (The South African Journal of Art History, 2012) van der Westhuizen, Diaan
    Mainstream understanding of how the urban form of South African cities developed over the past century and a half is often traced back to the colonial town plan. Writers argue that the gridiron and axial arrangement were the most important ordering devices. For example, in Bloemfontein—one of the smaller colonial capitals in South Africa— it has been suggested that the axial arrangement became an important device to anchor “the generalist structure of the gridiron within the landscape to create a specific sense of place”. Over the years, the intentional positioning of institutions contributed to a coherent legibility of the city structure in support of British, Dutch, and later apartheid government socio-political goals. During these eras, it was the colonial conceptions of space that influenced the morphological evolution of the city. This paper suggests that an alternative process guided the expansion of Bloemfontein. Drawing on the theory of natural movement, I suggest that Bloemfontein grew mainly as a result of its spatial configurational properties. Using longitudinal spatial mapping of the city from 1846 - 1946, empirical data from a Space Syntax analysis will be used to construct an argument for the primacy of space as a robust generator of development. The paper offers an alternative interpretation of the interaction between urban morphology and the process of placemaking in a South African city.
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    Contributions of Accessibility and Visibility Characteristics to Neighborhood Typologies and their Predictions of Physical Activity and Health
    (7th International Space Syntax Symposium, 2009) van der Westhuizen, Diaan
    In recent years, numerous studies have examined the effects of the built environment on physical activity and health outcomes. While much of this research has focused on discrete environmental measures, such as housing density, land use, or the presence or absence of sidewalks, recent studies have addressed the combined effects of ‘bundles’ of environmental measures. As part of a program of research aimed at understanding neighborhood effects on the physical activity and health of residents in three Detroit MI (USA) neighborhoods, this paper describes the process of creating micro-neighborhood types and their hypothesized affects on local physical activity and health outcomes. In particular, we consider the additive predictive significance of incorporating into our micro-neighborhood types measures of street network characteristics (connectivity and accessibility) and objective measures that capture aspects of design quality (based on visibility measures) along walking paths. Based on the theoretical significance of sets of variables from previous studies, and an analysis of the environmental characteristics of our study neighborhoods, we propose nine 'bundles' of neighborhood characteristics or micro-neighborhood types to be assessed as potential factorsaffecting our outcome variables of physical activity and health. Our intent was to identify a reasonable number (<10) of neighborhood types that shared readily observable differences that could be easily adopted by planners and designers.Patterns of residential density and land use were examined across all study neighborhoods and used to create our basic set of nine types. For the purposes of our data analysis, we further divide our typologies into sub-categories to examine the impact of different types of land uses and their projected multiplying effects as enhancers or deterrents to destination walking. Using aerial photographs and syntax analysis, we consider measures of street network characteristics (connectivity and accessibility), and the role of objective measures that capture aspects of design quality (based on measures of visibility: visual access, visual control and visual interest) along walking paths. Contributions of this study include the identification of critical 'bundles' of physical environmental characteristics that play a role in the creation of neighborhoods that support physical activity. Our current analyses are quite suggestive in postulating the contribution of syntax measures in capturing aspects of the design quality (path characteristics) and ease of reaching destinations (network characteristics) that shape respondents’ perceptions of their environment and contribute to physical activity outcomes. In future analyses we will examine the role of these characteristics in augmenting the predictive power of our neighborhood typologies.
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    Earth, sky. ancestors
    (Smithsonian Institution, 2012) Bird, Randall