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3 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2011 RSA R19.95 (incl VAT) Other countries R17.50 (excl VAT) ARCHITECTURE JOURNAL OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS SOUTH AFRICA ARCHITECTURE COVER PICTURE: Bird s Nest Studio, Field Architecture Copyright: Picasso Headline and Architecture South Africa. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the publishers. The publishers are not responsible for unsolicited material. Architecture South Africa is published every second month by Picasso Headline Reg: 59/01754/07. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Picasso Headline. All advertisements/advertorials and promotions have been paid for and therefore do not carry any endorsement by the publishers. SUBSCRIPTIONS AND DISTRIBUTION Shihaam Adams Tel: PUBLISHERS: Picasso Headline (Pty) Ltd Hatfield Street, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa Tel: Fax: Head of Editorial and Production Alexis Knipe Editor Julian Cooke Editorial Advisory Committee Walter Peters Ilze Wolff Roger Fisher Paul Kotze Senior Copy Editor Vanessa Rogers Head of Design Studio Rashied Rahbeeni Designers Dalicia Du Plessis Junaid Cottle Content Coordinator Hanifa Swartz Head of Sales Robin Carpenter-Frank Sales Manager John dos Santos Project Manager Hendri Dykman Sales Consultants Maxcen Kapeya Financial Accountant Lodewyk van der Walt Senior General Manager: Newspapers and Magazines Mike Tissong Associate Publisher Jocelyne Bayer Editor s Note DENISE SCOTT BROWN Julian Cooke POST-MODERNISM or at least the version of it known as neoconservative or stylistic, does not have a good press nowadays. Alan Lipman has railed against it for years in this country. And it is true to say, the discourse has spawned and continues to do so some of the most sentimental and tacky pastiches we know, facile, confusing of historical perspective, inappropriate culturally and climatically, and with nothing more to convey, as Frampton wrote, than a gratifying cosiness or an ironic comment on the absurdity of suburban kitsch. Denise Scott Brown, with her husband Robert Venturi, will always be known as progenitors of post-modernism in architecture. They might not like to be pigeon-holed with this tag. However, in my perception, it was primarily through their leadership that the (professionally) acceptable source material for contemporary architectural form was widened from technology, programme, nature and perhaps, in a broad, conceptual sense, traditional architecture-without-architects, to include the whole gamut of architectural history and the ordinary current vernacular epitomised in the commercial strip. Despite the largely negative opinion held of this post-modernism currently, there was much positive that came out of it. First, the broader source of inspiration was extremely liberating. Second, a generation which had become constipated by the late modernist dogma began to appreciate what, for example, Mannerism, the Baroque and especially the 19th century, all rather infra dig for modernists, had to offer. Third, the impetus cut through the elitism of architects as an avant garde, in-the-know, group of experts and made some allowance for ordinary people s likes and dislikes. Although a rampant, commercial populism ensued, it was paralleled by a growing concern for the need for place and identity. There were negatives, but also positives. Even the most ardent critic will admit that there survive from the early heyday, many extremely useful and important ideas for a contemporary architecture. Here are three. Complexity the idea that attacks the modernist syntax as too reductive, and posits that architecture, like language, communicates in many dimensions, has ambiguities and contradictions and layers, that good architecture has meaning in depth. Frontalism the idea that it is important for making coherent urban spaces to differentiate between the fronts and backs of buildings, as opposed to the Modernist obsession with abstraction and space which, from the Schröder house to the Hilversum Town Hall to the Bauhaus buildings, eschewed such distinction. Contextualism the idea that a respectful approach to the existing context is preferable, in the construction of the city, to the typical, object-focused approach of modernism. Although there are few serious-minded architects working today with direct reference to historical forms and motifs in the way Stern or Moore, Krier or Porphyrios did in the 70s and 80s, there are many who would stand by principles such as these. Denise Scott Brown with her husband, has been attacked from many quarters for their position, for their architecture and urbanism and for what they sparked, but they were among the best minds of their generation, observing their world with acuity, pushing new frontiers with imagination, shifting the paradigm. So it is appropriate and especially because she is an ex-south African, that she should be awarded an honorary doctorate by her first alma mater, the University of the Witwatersrand. ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 1




7 News and Notes ANGLO AMERICAN REINVENTION COMPETITION On 16 January 2011 Anglo American, under the corporate entity Anglo Operations Limited (AOL), launched one of the biggest architectural competitions in South Africa: Reinvention A Competition for the modernisation of Anglo American s Johannesburg Campus. Brought about by the new brand strategy and corporate identity introduced by AOL, the competition sought to discover a spatial intervention to reaffirm Anglo American s commitment to the architectural, cultural economic and social future of Johannesburg s Central Business District (JCBD), as well as to reflect the new brand position and visual language adopted by the group. 1 ANGLO AMERICAN S JOHANNESBURG CAMPUS is located in Marshalltown in the heart of the JCBD. Seven buildings constitute the campus, five of which are owned and occupied by Anglo American, and it is these five buildings with which the competition was concerned. The oldest of these is 44 Main Street, which was completed in 1939 and has a strong relationship with the building opposite it 45 Main Street completed in A pedestrianised section of Main Street runs through the campus, terminating in the magistrate s court to the west. The other buildings which required consideration were 47 Main Street, completed in 1960; 55 Marshall Street, completed in 1992; and 42 Marshall Street, completed in The competition brief called for an overall strategy that would redefine Anglo American s office landscape, and outlined the following objectives: Establish a timeless iconic statement in the JCBD; Better integrate the campus with the immediate urban context; 1 First prize winner - a sunken courtyard with a projected viewing box. 2 First prize winner - interior of the atrium space. 2 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 5

8 News and Notes Create a contemporary working environment that provides an inspirational place for innovation and collaboration; and Upgrade the exterior and interior of the campus components in order to: optimise space by increasing occupancy levels by at least twenty percent; introduce environmentally responsive operational, spatial and technical principles; and preserve and enhance the heritage value of its historical components. All South African architects registered with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) were invited to register for the competition, which was accredited by the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA). The entry process was accomplished via a competition website, as was the distribution of all information required by registered competitors, including the brief, existing drawings and photographs of the site. Upon entry competitors submitted a seven-digit alpha-numeric code by which they were identified throughout the competition, keeping the judging process anonymous. All registered competitors, of which there were 97, were invited to attend a non-compulsory site visit, following which questions were submitted and answered via the website. Two stages of the competition were held, each with a preparation period of about two months followed by an adjudication process. The jury was made up of two representatives of Anglo American and five architects, namely Anton Roodt (chairperson), Mira Fassler Kamstra, Ora Joubert, Khotso Moleko and Mthulisi Msimang. The competition was coordinated by Professor Albrecht Herholdt of The Urban Designers and Architects, and he was assisted in this capacity by Miles Hollins and Emily Stanwix, also of the By: Albrecht Herholdt The first stage required four A1 panels showing the key concepts for the design of the campus as a whole, as well as a report on the design of not more than words. Sixty entries were received in April 2011 for the first stage, which is considerably higher than the average submission-to-registration ratio of about one third. All 60 entries were put on display and screened, using the objectives outlined above, and the judges selected projects that they felt were worthy of further scrutiny. Following three days of intense discussion, four finalists were chosen to develop their proposals for the second stage. The finalists remained anonymous throughout the second stage of the competition, and were given copies of the jury s comments and recommendations. Having developed their proposals from the first stage, in June 2011, all four finalists submitted an impressive array of work in terms of the extent of work produced and the high quality of this work. According to the competition requirements, all finalists were required to submit unlimited A1 panels, a physical model, a design report discussing technical and pricing proposals, and a 3D fly-through of their proposal, for which each team received an honorarium of R The jury reconvened for the second stage adjudication process, allowing a half day for the assessment of each proposal, and once again measuring each proposal according to the objectives set out in the brief. Once the jury had explored and evaluated each of the proposals in detail, the jurors were unanimous in awarding the first and second prizes, and resorted to an anonymous vote to determine the third prize. The adjudication process was constructive for the client in that aside from selecting the winning scheme, the jury explored the opportunities which are available on the campus and had not been apparent before, and considered issues that had perhaps not been discussed in the competition brief. 3 6 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA

9 News and Notes An awards evening was held at Anglo American in August 2011, attended by representatives of Anglo American that included Mervyn Walker, the group director of Human Resources and Communications, and Godfrey Gomwe, the executive director of Anglo American South Africa. Also in attendance were representatives of SAIA, representatives of Johannesburg Heritage, members of the jury, the competition coordinators and, of course, the finalists themselves. At this point the identities of the Finalists were revealed. The awards were made as follows, accompanied by some of the jury s comments: First Prize: Kate Otten Architects and Mashabane Rose Associates The successful refurbishment of the atrium of 45 Main Street created a well-considered working environment and an elegant formal and spatial modulation, executed in a discerning range of materials. These internal sensibilities have also been employed in the façade treatment of the historically significant façades. They were also expressed in the dramatic upgrading and expansion of 47 Main Street, to become the new iconic focal point of the campus. The consistency of this timeless and environmentally sound architectural language admirably achieved Anglo American s objective to reflect the contemporary culture of the company. The subterranean linking of buildings was contentious, countering the desired urban design principles. The sunken courtyard added visual interest to the pedestrian precinct. The panel noted that less consideration had been given to other structures, but felt that the successful upgrading of 45 and 47 Main Street would act as convincing catalysts for the gradual phasing in of the upgrading strategy of the Anglo American campus. Second Prize: designworkshop:sa and Urban Solutions The design remodelling of 44 Main Street was thought by the jury to capture the flagship status and heritage importance of the building, and the plaza space was sensitively handled. The development of 55 Marshall Street as the new flagship building of Anglo American, with an entrance on Ferreira Street, may not realise the envisaged corporate entrance. 45 Main Street has been suitably reconfigured, with the ground floor now extending to the urban park, housing conference and auditorium facilities. The atrium has been admirably remodelled. Third Prize: Jakupa Architects and Urban Designer and Tsai Design Studios This proposal was commended for the creation of accessible public foyers, an appreciation of the importance of 44 Main Street, the design of a roof-top sports facility and the enhancement of 47 Main Street. The jury was not convinced of the urban carpet which covered some buildings plinths, the ease of pedestrian movement along Main Street, the demolition and reconstruction of the parkade, the removal of the top of 55 Marshall Street, the structure of the crystal box projecting from 45 Main Street and the creation of a subway in Marshall Street. Finalist: Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects The jury commended the dramatic atrium roof in this proposal, as well as the open atrium with projecting meeting boxes, the accessible roof gardens and the general zoning of the campus. There was insufficient information regarding the steel roof structures and glass roofs, the proposed office layouts and the planning of 44 Main Street for better assessment. The closure of the historic entrance doors, due to the underground link, and the consequent withdrawal of the building from the public realm was found to be questionable. 3 Second prize winner interior of the atrium space. 4 Third prize winner aerial view of the campus at night. 4 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 7


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12 Tribute DENISE SCOTT BROWN: HONORARY DOCTORATE In July this year, the University of the Witwatersrand awarded Denise Scott Brown an honorary doctorate. Below is her letter in response to the award, three tributes and a section of the citation of her honorary degree. TO THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND, FROM DENISE SCOTT BROWN: 21 JULY 2011 For Robert Scott Brown 1931 to 1959 GREETINGS TO WITS, ARCHITECTURE STUDENTS, MY FRIENDS. In le Corbusier s Oeuvres Completes, I came across a letter written in 1936 to Rex Martienssen, leader of early Modernist architects in Johannesburg. Corb asked the group to find a way to get him there to work with them. This never happened, but exquisite Early Modern buildings were built and the Africa-based manifestos make poignant reading. In 1936, I was four years old and lived in a Norman Hanson house (42 Kent Rd, Dunkeld; later owners added a pitched roof). Hanson was among my mother s friends in architecture school at Wits in the late 1920s. She dropped out, but retained a passion for Modernism and in 1934 commissioned our sunshine house, as my Dad called it. So I grew up with what Peter Smithson described as a whiff of the powder of Modernism, and with a passion for its architecture plus a presumption that architecture was women s work. Entering Wits first year studio in 1949 I asked, What are all these men doing here? My childhood was enriched by refugees from Hitler. These resourceful people offered us a lively European culture, just as they did in London, New York and Shanghai. But artistically they faced Africa, believing that, as my Dutch-Jewish art teacher put it, to be a creative artist you must paint what s around you. Twenty-five years later, we took her advice in our study of Las Vegas. Then there was the veld. Deeply loved by my mother, and visible in photographs of her Rhodesian childhood and youth, it still decorated her walls when she died at 97. And it drew me northward. As a teenager I went camping frequently, and while at Wits spent Julys at Makapan searching for fossils. ( May we touch you? asked the paleontologists at Philadelphia s Wagner Institute, when I told them I had known James Kitching.) Eventually I came to compare our wilderness landscapes with the city, feeling that both established complex laws with or without our intervention. And I watched my father, a developer, walk Johannesburg looking and learning. Our racial conflicts degraded and dishonored us all. Yet, at Wits, honour and courage lived on. You can be very proud of your heritage. But the clash had another dimension. For me, African folk artists adaptations to Johannesburg outstrip European artists interpretations of Africa, interesting though these are. Debased African folk-pop art was an inspiration for our study of roadside America. Then there was the clash with English, expat, high culture. As an 11-year-old I asked, Why can t the bushveld be considered beautiful in its own right, and not because it looks a little like Surrey? I was only half right (we were, after all, speaking English) but African push-back was a factor in my attempt to develop a more inclusive architectural aesthetic to learn from Las Vegas. Why do I tell you this? Because you will be setting out as I did, 60 years ago not to stay, and your routes will traverse another world perhaps you ll make Africa its centre. But I m betting some things will stay the same. You will have been told by your teachers that nothing will substitute for seeing the real building, in situ. You will also, I hope, have learned to learn from what s around you. And you ll note that these two good things may contradict each other. Yet we do both; that s one of the challenges of being an artist in South Africa. And when I mention this in the United States, someone from Texas usually adds, That s my problem too. But Americans don t have to journey as far. Australians may hold the record for time spent per trip; you may be second; and for each, distance and expense are the reasons. We travel while young, to get further education but also because it will be so much more expensive when we are older. South Africans get around very well and, as they do, must survive excellently on little, and if you don t have the experience of that type of travel, when young, you ll never have it. Robert Scott Brown and I wanted training to make us useful in building a better South Africa (We were definitely going back; his death changed everything, and South Africa and the world lost a brilliant young architect and a great idealist). We also feared that travel in the future might be more restricted than it already was, and we had a strong desire to move around after the limits set by war. So, taking the opportunity when it came, I left in 1952 to work my fourth year in an architect s office in London. Then when the opportunity arose to enter the Final School at the AA, I took that too. Robert finished at Wits and joined me in Travelling beyond the United Kingdom, we met friendly Europeans who knew nothing about South Africa (unbelievable now). To them we were neither English nor American, and they freely expressed their ironic views of both. But in England people at once said, You come from a very bad country. How right. Yet how sad. I would eventually bring up Britain s role in Cyprus, and then those same people would say, You re very young yet; you ll understand one day why we have to do those things. And I am amazed by the apartheid I find everywhere, even today. But you will be welcomed by a world, wider than the one I saw, and it will honour your country for bravery and morality. Then there is the family of architecture. Go almost anywhere and you will find an architect who embraces you as a colleague. And other roles in your life (being Jewish, for me) may bring similar reasons for warm contacts with strangers who count you as family. The friendships I formed while travelling in my early 20s have grown over the years into lasting collegial associations and loving supports. I left Johannesburg feeling lost about architecture that I lacked a framework and criteria for designing. A greater stress on theory at Wits might have helped, but perhaps not much. My best advice came from Manfred Marcus, our structures lecturer, not an architect. He said, Be patient, live a little. And Arthur Korn at the AA helped. But, in retrospect, the three continents of my study made sense together, and lack of structure has transitioned into 10 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA

13 Tribute surprising coherence. Social unrest and social change in 1940s Johannesburg, 1950s London, and late 50s and 60s Philadelphia and Berkeley taught lessons in architecture and planning that helped to structure my years of practice and teaching. Comparing my education in South Africa with that of colleagues and students worldwide, I find it was extraordinarily good and a help wherever I went. But I felt guilty, even as a child, that I had privilege beyond what I deserved in South Africa. So now you owe it to others to teach, said Korn. I have indeed tried to make up, by teaching, and through advocacy and contributions of time and money remember Wits when you leave! This is a long story, but I ll focus here on what happened when Robert Scott Brown and I arrived in America bursting with questions from Africa and Europe. And on how we began to find, not answers, but ways of thinking that could help makers and doers like architects (and including those who want to make beauty but in the presence of morality) to move from observation to action, with energy and imagination. These were big aims. The Smithsons had given up on going from social forces to physical form. Sociologists, according to Peter Smithson, were too backward to work with. But in the vortex of the 1960s, as social scientists invaded architecture schools then turned activist, outlines of methods became apparent. I have used these ever since. Learning from Las Vegas, and almost everything we have written, describes them in one way or another. At Penn s planning school, the training to help architects forge social-physical connections seemed dull, and when we heard that the course on developing areas covered, not cities by le Corbusier but economics, Robert and I pulled out. But David Crane, our advisor, who had spent part of his life in Nigeria said, To work usefully in Africa, you ll need an understanding of how economies develop and grow, and how trade routes give rise to cities. The next year I took the developing areas course and others in regional economics and its theories of urban form. And as Ivan Schlapobersky, at Penn from Wits said, These courses are like strong medicine. You take them and they taste bad, but you get better. He meant you become a better designer. In Crane s studio, we put these ideas to test through redesigning le Corbusier s Chandigarh, from the viewpoint of rural migrants flocking to the city and needing urban infrastructure and self-help housing. As I worked during the 1960s to open architecture s window onto wider worlds of knowledge, I was encouraged by the social planners who taught in architecture then, but I found little sympathy among architects; except for Robert Venturi, whose mother, a socialist and pacifist, went to school as hungry as many black children in America do today. Together Bob and I have tried to take account of social issues in our work and to combine its themes with our deepest expectations as designers and to try for beauty, but of an agonised sort that goes with social urgency. Our shared career has had a long low arc and required much patience. Today, we feel that we have had the opportunity to do what we do best. Ironically, I have used what I learned for South Africa, in France, England, Japan, Morocco, China and America, but I have not taken it to you. Yet it guides the teaching I have done and I have been able to adapt it for use in architecture. So I hope my ideas will go to you along these avenues. Today our work of the 1960s and 1970s, on the impure folkpop culture of cities like Las Vegas, is under restudy by young architects in many countries. We no longer need to tell them that our Postmodernism is not PoMo, but a reassessment of Modernism for changing times that for us, neon, the metaphor of neon, is a vital but thin lining to some sombre clouds. I correspond with many of them and, as no one else seems to want it, I have awarded myself the title of Architecture s Grandmother. As time moves on, I publish as much as I can, writing to leave architecture in serviceable condition for people like you, hoping you will use it for your best purposes. Thank you for remembering me. I hope you will understand, from what I ve said, why your honour is so especially welcome because it comes from you. Go well. Hamba gahle. African pop culture (Denise Scott Brown). ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 11

14 Tribute LEARNING FROM THE VELD When Julian Cooke ed asking if I d write something on Denise Scott Brown for Architecture SA, my mind immediately spiralled back in time to my Third Year, in 1971, when Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi came to Wits and lectured. I can still picture them standing at the lectern in the darkened A1, showing slides of ducks and decorated sheds and drawings and images that were later to become the book Learning from Las Vegas. THE SCHOOL THEN WAS STILL IN THE SHADOW of the heroic modernists Denise mentioned: Hanson, Martienssen, Fassler, Cooke and others, and the head, Duncan Howie, was a direct link to that legacy. But there was a general sense of unrest and dissatisfaction and the whole idea of the counterculture was present. Complexity and Contradiction had begun circulating and raised many questions. Our studio master Reg Rippon first showed me that little white bombshell in Second Year. A few members of our class ended up on a rampage against the leadership of the school. What we did would be hard to imagine for students today, but back then we didn t need to care about grades or getting jobs. By: Stanley Saitowitz The result was that the Urban Action Group, a loose affiliation of young Joburg practitioners led by Ivor Prinsloo and including Julian Cooke, Glen Gallagher, Willie Meyer, Ronnie Levitan, Ivan Schlapobersky and others came to the rescue to teach our class in Third Year. It was amazing. Ivor invited two important couples to visit the school that year, Alison and Peter Smithson, and Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi. They seemed to bear very different messages at first. I was lucky enough to go on a road trip with Ivor and the Smithsons to Lourenço Marques where we visited Pancho Guedes. In the car the Smithsons started talking about a Veld City Parallel. The idea really blew my mind, and from the English Modernism they had showed in their lectures, I got what they were getting at. Then the lecture on Learning from Las Vegas, and there was a method and a lucid example of how to extract architecture from the vernacular! Fourth year came and off I went to Europe with these things rattling around in my brain. From the distance of Paris and London, from Amsterdam and Athens, I began to be able to really see Johannesburg and the Veld. When I got back, the idea of a Transvaal Architecture was already incubating. Julian, Ivor and others were working on it. And I began following the method from Learning from Las Vegas and driving the highveld, photographing the vernacular architecture, especially the N debele, who painted the ultimate decorated sheds, and I started thinking Denise must have known about them. I photographed the same houses again and again watching them bloom each spring with fresh paint, get washed down by the winter rains and then have new patterns appear again, the next spring. For my last years at Wits, these repeated drives in the Veld became my school. This is a long way round to explain my debt to Denise Scott Brown. And then to read her message to Wits, and hear her talk about the Veld, and realise that she had had similar experiences before me experiences that led her to Las Vegas only mine were later, and backwards. Then there is something else for which to say thanks, and that is the role model she was. She was someone who never forgot the Veld; an American Witsie who made a difference. So thank you so much Denise Scott Brown for all you have taught us! Las Vegas 1968 Cesear s Palace (VSBA). Las Vegas car view of strip 19 (VSBA). 12 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA

15 By: Etienne Louw LEARNING FROM DENISE SCOTT BROWN I was introduced to Complexity and Contradiction by Robert Venturi in 1972, as a second-year architecture student. Our studio design master was Nicolaas Maritz, father of acclaimed Namibian architect, Nina Maritz. ARCHITECTURE IN SOUTH AFRICA in the 60s was heavily influenced by what Nic called orthodox modern architecture and we found it as stifling as the apartheid structure that surrounded us. He had attended the seminal lectures given by Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi in Johannesburg the previous year, and through him we learned that an architecture that took clues from a range of influences and precedents was OK. The following year, Learning from Las Vegas was published and this book brought the ideas in Complexity and Contradiction into the reading of urban form and scale. We started to understand issues of speed and scale, symbols and signs, and the idea of the decorated shed. In the preface to the revised edition of Learning from Las Vegas in 1977, Denise Scott Brown wrote, Architecture for the last quarter of our century should be socially less coercive and aesthetically more vital than the striving for bombastic buildings of our recent past. We architects can learn this from Rome and Las Vegas and from looking around wherever you happen to be. [Author s emphasis.] Twelve years ago, I worked with Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown when my firm in California was shortlisted, together with VSBA, for an extension to an art museum in Sacramento. Denise always stressed the opportunities for the project to make connections by tying it back into the urban fabric. This approach is evident in much of VSBA s American university campus work. The buildings encourage circulation routes through the project, with spaces to interact and communicate. Denise has said, Could it be that it is not in the laboratories, but in these spaces that the next research breakthrough is made? In this regard, she exemplified what Aldo van Eyck meant when he said, Whatever space and time mean, place and occasion mean more. In my own work, the reading of place and the expansion of programme and structure to connect space and place has its origins in Denise Scott Brown s thinking. In recent years, Denise revealed the fact that about 12 years ago she purchased an English/Afrikaans dictionary and keeps it on her desk. She has a deep affection for Afrikaans poetry and folk music. As someone who left South Africa as a young woman in the 1950s, I understood that her search for connections in architecture and planning are also to be found in her connections to her African roots. DENISE SENT ME THIS POEM BY JAN FE CELLIERS: Dis al Dis die blond, dis die blou: dis die veld, dis die lug; en n voël draai bowe in eensame vlug - dis al Dis n balling gekom oor die oseaan, dis n graf in die gras, dis n vallende traan - dis al Tribute She commented on this as...the quintessential expat cry. Can I face the grave in the grass? As an ex-pat, Denise Scott Brown s honorary doctorate from Wits, her Alma Mater, is a fitting reward for a pioneering woman, architect, urbanist and, importantly, a proud African who has remained connected to her roots. By: Jenepher James DENISE SCOTT BROWN A PERSONAL MEMOIR I FIRST MET DENISE LAKOFSKI (as she was then) when we were together in 1949, in our first year of architectural study at Wits University. The School of Architecture at that time was scattered about the campus, the John Moffat building not yet built or even envisaged. The first year studio was housed in a pre-fab building (one imagines a leftover from the War, only recently over) along with several others, located on the terraces which progressed down the hill from the central block, including the library terrace and ending at the swimming pool. We, total rookies, counted ourselves lucky to have a home on campus, unlike other undergraduates who just wandered about between lectures, carrying all their stuff with them. Our studio was presided over by studio masters Gilbert Herbert and Jacques Morgenstern, who gave out assignments, oversaw our efforts and ultimately criticised and marked what we had produced. The School, at that time, revered Corb as master, followed closely by Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius, with the spirit of Modernism and the International Style informing Sainsbury Wing National Gallery (Steve Izenour). ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 13

16 Tribute and dominating most of our design thoughts and projects. An enduring legacy of that time was our introduction to the History of Architecture, which left a life-time interest and love for what man had achieved in the past. One of my co-students in this class was Denise, a shy red-headed girl who brought a certain intensity of purpose and cachet into this disparate group of aspiring architects. Another notable personality, whose image remains with me, was Robert Scott Brown. This was the context within which friendships developed, friendships which also gained through expeditions we undertook together into the veld, including enjoying camping and fossil-hunting at Makapan. At the end of our third year at Wits, Denise left South Africa to continue her studies at the AA in London, from which she graduated in She and I maintained contact when we both lived in London, and then after her marriage to Robert Scott Brown when they both worked with the Smithsons, and also for a year studying Urban Design and City Planning in the United States. After the untimely death of Robert Scott Brown, Denise continued working in the United States doing academic teaching and practical work at the Universities of Penn, California and Los Angeles, and in the office she shared with Robert Venturi. During this time and right up to the present, her association with, and subsequent marriage to Robert Venturi, has been very fruitful in the way of architectural, urban design projects and completed works, academic lecturing and writing. As I see it, and this is corroborated by Robert Venturi in the introduction to their book, Learning from Las Vegas, the collaboration between them has been so intertwined in our joint development that it is impossible to define where her thought leaves off and mine begins and in the office her design contribution spans from the conceptual level to the aesthetics of details with emphasis on site planning for the larger projects. Further, I have been aware of her social concerns and humanist dimensions, the broad and warm-hearted social ideas which have manifested themselves in her work. I have only actually seen one of Denise and Robert s joint buildings the Sainsbury Wing, additions to the National Gallery in London which clearly demonstrates their thesis of being aware of and paying respect to surrounding buildings and earlier times, while still achieving the required functions of the building. The imposing stairway with its flanking wall, into which are heavily carved the names of artists and architects, is one enduring image which I continue to savour when visiting London. For geographical reasons, my links with Denise have been rather stretched, although I have followed her progress, have copies of Learning from Las Vegas, their joint publication Houses and Housing and her fairly recent AA publication Having Words. I value very much our association and friendship, and heartily endorse the honour conferred on her by Wits University s Architectural Department. CITATION Denise Scott Brown is an architect, planner and urban designer, as well as a theorist, writer and educator whose work and ideas have influenced architects and planners worldwide. SCOTT BROWN PARTICIPATES in the broad range of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates projects in architecture, and is principalin-charge for many projects in urban planning, urban design, and campus planning. Her years of experience in interdisciplinary work and teaching contribute to the firm s unusual breadth and depth in architectural design. Scott Brown s recent projects include campus planning for Brown and Tsinghua universities in Beijing. She directed precinct planning and pre-schematic design of a new Biomedical/Biological Sciences Research Building at the University of Kentucky; she also directed the University of Michigan campus master plan, plans for several of its sub-campuses, and site planning and pre-schematic design of the University s Life Sciences Institute, Undergraduate Science Building and Palmer Commons complex. Further, Scott Brown has also directed campus plans for the University of Pennsylvania, Williams College and the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies at Harvard University. In the last decade, Scott Brown worked on the University of Pennsylvania s Perelman Quadrangle; the Mielparque Nikko Kirifuri resort in Kirifuri National Park near Nikko, Japan; and the French Département de la Haute-Garonne provincial Capitol Building in Toulouse, France. She has written and advised on urban planning issues related to New York s World Trade Center site, Philadelphia s Penn s Landing and New Orleans. Her other projects include developing programme requirements for the Smithsonian Institute s National Museum of the American Indian; urban plans for South Street, Philadelphia, Miami Beach, Florida and Memphis, Tennessee; and advising on a regional plan for the Bouregreg Valley in Morocco. Scott Brown was born in Nkama (Kitwe), Zambia. She grew up in Dunkeld, Johannesburg and studied architecture at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, from 1948 to During her year out she travelled to London to work in an architect s office. She decided to continue her studies at the Architectural Association in London and she graduated in While at the University of the Witwatersrand, she met fellow architectural student, Robert Scott Brown. He followed her to London and they were married in They returned to South Africa in 1957 for a few months, and during this time they studied and photographed Cape Dutch architecture, colonial architecture in KwaZulu-Natal and African vernacular architecture. In 1958 they left South Africa for the United States to commence with post-graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Scott Brown grew up in a house in Dunkeld, Johannesburg that was designed by Hanson, Tomkin and Finkelstein. These were friends of her mother, who had abandoned her own architectural studies due to insufficient funds. The house was built in 1943 and was designed by a practice that was closely aligned with, and made a major contribution to, the International Style and establishment of modernism in Johannesburg. The School of Architecture at the University of the Witwatersrand received international recognition at the time, due to its promotion of, and adherence to, the tenets of the International Style. In Scott Brown s own mind, this set up a personal relationship with the early ideas of Modernism. The other main theme of her work was also inspired by her experiences in the Johannesburg during the 1940s; then, as now, a relatively cosmopolitan and multicultural society. Among the city s population at the time were many who had had to flee Nazi prosecution in Europe. Rosa van Gelderen, a Dutch 14 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA

17 Tribute Jewish refugee who came to Johannesburg in this way, was the 10-year-old Scott Brown s art teacher. She was the one to encourage her young pupil to look at the ordinary, everyday life around her for inspiration, as well as for subject matter. This suggestion encouraged Scott Brown to look at the informal activities in the public spaces and streets of Johannesburg, as well as towards popular culture. This was clearly contradictory in a largely colonial society, which still looked towards the core or metropolitan society for its clues to find value or direction. This brought another issue to the fore that she would deal with for the rest of her career how to find an expression for the local, or how to relate the immediate circumstances to broader traditions that might transcend political, cultural or geographical factors. In 1965 she became co-chair of the Urban Design programme of the University of California, Los Angeles, after teaching briefly at the Berkeley campus of the same University. She became established as an influential scholar in urban planning. It was during this time that she became interested in cities like Las Vegas (spurred on by her mother s enthusiasm for the city, which she visited in the 1950s) and Los Angeles. She invited Venturi to her classes at UCLA and together they visited Las Vegas for research on that city. They married in 1967 and she moved to Philadelphia to join her husband s architectural practice of Venturi and Rauch. This internationally acclaimed firm became Venturi, Rauch and Scott Brown in 1980 and has, since 1989, been known as Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates. Robert Venturi has remarked, Denise Scott Brown s work and discoveries in architecture and planning have had a global and historical impact. They have enriched the world intellectually and socially, changing how people learn and how they design, how they nurture great works of art and nurture each other. Scott Brown, with Venturi and Steven Izenour (a partner in their architectural and planning practice) came to international prominence with the publication of the book Learning from Las Vegas, in This book was the result of a research project that she and Venturi undertook with students at the School of Architecture and Planning at Yale University. It formed part of the argument of a growing body of discontent against the central tenets of Modernism, International Style and elitism in the architectural profession. In their research on Las Vegas, they used the latest available analytical tools with which to understand and describe urban complexity. The place of Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi was now assured in the international arena. In some ways their work coincides with the concepts of the Postmodern movement. The work of Scott Brown and Venturi is part of the Postmodernist debate only in that their work sees architecture as a language of meaningful signs, in their respect for the ordinary viewer and in their rejection of the so-called master narratives of history. Their work never wavers from its social purpose and they have always worked hard to re-connect architecture on a more humane footing. Scott Brown and Venturi embraced both the authority of history and the vitality of the real and the visible. Denise Scott Brown is viewed as someone who has changed the course of contemporary architecture. She is perhaps the most important woman architect to have traversed the world stage in recent years. As her career and accolades attest, she has received many awards, honorary doctorates and other forms of recognition. It is well known that Scott Brown feels she owes her views to her childhood, and initial architectural training at Wits in the 1940s and early 1950s. It is highly appropriate that this globally influential architect be awarded an honorary doctorate in architecture by the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. University of Michigan - Palmer Drive 2 (Matt Wargo). ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 15


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21 By: Roger C Fisher & Nicholas J Clarke, Department of Architecture, University of Pretoria Refereed Article RED IN ARCHITECTURE AN ECOTROPIC APPROACH 1. INTRODUCTION The Department of Architecture at the University of Pretoria received an invitation from the offices of the UIA to submit a poster on the teaching of sustainability, to be exhibited at the UIA World Congress of Architecture held in Turin, Italy, during June/July This was one of 20 such invitations extended to identified institutions internationally and one of three to institutions on the African continent. The invitation caused us to reflect on what it was that we wished students to in the parlance of the department think, feel and do (we have transliterated the cognitive, emotive and psycho-motorial domains which are the lingo of educators into this simpler language). This essay expands on texts published in these posters, quoted below in italics. 2. THE TRADITION The teaching of sustainability in the Department of Architecture is founded in the tradition of studies in energy, and particularly thermal performance, which have been conducted by members of staff in the department since the 1970s. Persons involved in this include Holm 1, Kemp 2, Wegelin 3 and Irurah 4. Under the tuition of Professor Dieter Holm in the 1980s, a curriculum was developed in the field of sustainability in the Fourth Year Building Technology course. Roger Fisher, appointed to the staff in 1986, took over this course and developed it further in the 1990s. With the curriculum development of the restructured degree courses in 1999, a specific quarter was allocated to the teaching of appropriate and sustainable technologies at honours level. The expertise of Dr Jeremy Gibberd was called in from the Council for Scientific and Industrial research (CSIR) to teach in this course. He presented in his coursework the Sustainable Building Assessment Tool (SBAT), which also formed the basis of his doctoral studies 5. The inclusion of the SBAT tool in the teaching of the course has made it self-evident that sustainability is nothing more than good and appropriate design. A design that has a good fit with its brief strategises around the essence of the problem, and responds in a resource-efficient way that has led to our use of the term Resource Efficient Design or RED. It is important to note that RED is not only presented to students of architecture, but to students of three of the design disciplines in the built environment architecture, interior architecture and landscape architecture. Fig.1 The poster presented at the 2008 UIA Turin Conference. Authors: Fisher, RC, Clarke, NJ, Osman, A and Pienaar, L. ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 19

22 Refereed Article 3. THINK We think ecosystemically. Ecosystemic thinking is an approach which has emerged from the field of psychology, particularly as it is reflected in the writings of Jordaan and Jordaan 6. In South Africa it has a long tradition and probably can be traced back to Smuts Holism and Evolution (1926) 7 and John Phillips (1931) The Biotic Community (See end note 9). To think ecosytemically is to think of systems as nested, each as part of a larger system; made up of sub-systems and in turn as a part of a supra-system. These sub-systems can develop properties that are emergent and are thus uniquely properties of the supra-system and not found in the sub-systems. We can thus speak of the ecology of building materials as biologists would use the term, and understand the term and see each element as part of a larger whole which impacts on other sub- and supra-systems. We propose that design that has such a fit be termed ecotropic, rather than green or sustainable. Properties of the subsystems do not predict those of the suprasystem, nor does that supra-system necessarily directly reflect the properties of its embodied subsystems. The idea of emergence in systems originates with the thinking and writing of Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers 8, popularised in their book Order out of Chaos (1984). Central to their thinking is that, while the universe may be an entropic system, embedded within it are events that display neg-entropy. Within these systems order emerges from chaos, and hence displays emergence where the emergent properties are more than the sum of their parts. Hence they display acquired characteristics not predictable from those of the constituting subsystems. Analogously atoms do not predict the behaviour of molecules, proteins do not predict the behaviour of DNA and the properties of buildings will not predict the social behaviour of their users. All things are natural. And so subject to natural law. This includes human activities. Human activities are not unnatural, even though they can be self-destructive or self-enhancing. This proposition finds its source locally in the writings of the botanist John Phillips, particularly in his concept of biotic communities : My inclusion of man [in the biotic community] will call for much criticism so to anticipate such I would remind you that despite the ability of man to upset temporarily, to hold in check to some degree, and to accelerate to [a] greater or lesser extent the response, the reactions, the co-actions and the development of a community, it is more than he can do to alter fundamentally the trend of these. To him certain and not all things are possible 9. While superficially it may seem obvious that this is so, as an idea it does not resonate naturally with human thought. We are used to, and perhaps even programmed from birth, to think in dualities, dialectics, oppositions. If we are of nature we do not have to become more natural; we should rather, perhaps, reflect on our own nature. Even when well embedded in theory, the designer tends to revert to a thinking of a natural world in opposition to that of the cultural. We have deliberately endeavoured to broach this dichotomy of thought by introducing the term bio-physical for all [instances] where human activity is not dominant, as opposed to cultural where human activity dominates. Both of these are embedded as subsystems in so-called nature and are consequently considered to be natural. Any activities which undermine the persistence of any of these systems must therefore be considered natural, even when self-destructive. Industrial ecologies are considered as systems in the built environment and so, when designed for, might contribute to the larger ecology through the emergence of unpredictable properties at the urban scale. Basic reading includes the writings of Fridjof Capra. Fridjof Capra s The web of life (1996) 10 introduces the student to many concepts which are useful when thinking about sustainability. They are concepts that come from the natural order. Examples of such concepts are: autopoesis, homeostasis, iteration, emergence and generative processes. In the analysis of systems, there are quantitative as well as qualitative aspects. What we value cannot necessary be quantified and that which is quantifiable is not necessarily valuable. The last forty years has seen an exponential growth in our ability to predict or model complex problem sets through the aid of computing. Students are exposed to these contemporary tools and expected to understand their use in iterative processes a process of feedback, evaluation and adaptation. Computing is not the only way of quantification and more primitive, but intuitive, tools are also presented and used to ensure scholars develop a core personal understanding of issues such as solar shading and the forces of air movement. Computation, while being extremely useful, also has the potential for fascinating the mind; thereby dominating the design process and steering the final design towards a purely technocratic solution, an aspect that needs guarding. It is considered important for students to realise that that which can be numerically represented, analysed and modelled is only an aspect of sustainability. Here a clear example is the contemporary value ascribed to brand names. While there is a certain intellectual satisfaction in being able to represent reality through mathematical or other modelling, the fact that something can be modelled and expressed at an order of magnitude does not necessarily mean that it is important; it is not necessarily a dominant concern and it does not necessarily represent value. The obverse, that that which is not measurable is not necessarily valuable, is a much more difficult aspect to teach since it is dependent on developing an empathetic understanding of need. Such an understanding of necessity requires life experience, something that cannot be taught in a class. Here it is important to expose students to real problems with real people who have real needs. Exposure to this is sometimes disturbing to students, for example the discovery of eight-year-old prostitutes servicing truck drivers in a shanty town near Ngodwana They say eight... don t they mean eighteen? or that the burial ground is the perimeter fence of this township, [due to] lack of space and lack of land-rights, the community [consisting of] mainly foreigners. In analysis we focus on the social, which is qualitative with quantitative aspects; the economic, which is quantitative with qualitative aspects; and the environmental, which is the balance of the qualitative and quantitative. Students are encouraged to engage with the biophysical as resource and inspiration in design resolutions. This engagement 20 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA

23 Refereed Article with the larger site includes aspects ranging from the tangibles of cultural palimpsest to intangibles such as time. Projects aim at creating an awareness of the biophysical, not only in the possibilities this might hold for the designer but also in the impact that the biophysical will have on buildings. Steward Brand s How Buildings Learn (1994) 11 as reader forms an integral part of this process. Where there is [a] fit between context and design response there is fitness. The idea of fitness is again a biological concept as, for example, in the notion of survival of the fittest (which Darwin never wrote). The idea of design as something that has [a] fit requires a deep understanding of the context in which the designer is working, for only through a full understanding can the determining aspects which characterise the design solution be identified. 4. FEEL Empathy for the other. Ethos: Sustainability is the attempt to harness our understanding of the natural order and natural laws, so as to be able to spend more time as a species on planet Earth. The attempt to extend the sojourn of the species on the planet involves personal sacrifice, and personal sacrifice is a moral issue. A new mindset requires a change in the ethical standards by which we have come to judge our successes. Essential to our thinking is empathy. Many students, by virtue of their backgrounds, are unaccustomed to engaging with the divergent aspects of the culturally and economically diverse realities of a Third World; contact is important. Empathy can only be engendered through engagement. It is only through empathy that appropriate design responses that fit can be found. We feel that designers can make a difference. Through finding [a] fit, built environment professionals allow not only for current fitness but also for future growth. This fit should be loose enough to allow for this growth and have an embodied energy high enough to make it valuable, and low enough to allow for change. Longer-term strategies rather than immediate goals are important. Incremental change is more sustainable than revolution. Students are required to strategise around the problematics of a specific location. Thereafter they are set the task of generating development strategies that react as nested systems with loose enough [of a] fit to adapt over time as new eventualities emerge, but with enough rigour to energise them for long-term impact. The designer may not always be present at the realisation of the design intent. Hence it is imperative that the residue of this realisation is seen to be acting as catalyst and stimulus for the actualisation of the intended change. Small change is valuable. Building on the thinking and work of Nabeel Hamdi 12, we believe that small interventions that impact on systems by gradual evolution and do not upset social hierarchies are more likely to succeed and catalyse change. As evident in Namdi s Small Change, it is the act of enabling that produces results, not the act of providing results which can never make allowance for growth. As Schumacher states in Small is Beautiful:, In practice all prediction is simply extrapolation, modified by known plans... As a matter of fact, there are no rules; it is just a matter of feel or judgement...what can you predict? Students are led to realise that no single solution exists to the multi-faceted problems designers are confronted with in the real world. Engagement means allowing for emergence. No intervention is too small, but it can easily be too large. The critical intervention requires the necessary minimum, even though this may seem simple. Buildings that are tightly bound by the requirements of [a] programme are more likely to fail or become quickly redundant than those that are [a] loose fit. Programmatic design leads to rapid obsolescence. Form does not follow function, but rather fitness follows fit. Decision makers must know how to modulate their involvement as designers in the process, and know when to approach specialists for design solutions. The complexity of the biophysical environment as understood from a holistic perspective requires an input from the full range of diverse talents available in society, and cannot be resolved through the limited responses of any one person. The implication is that the designer as master is superseded by the designer as catalyst and facilitator. Design is not merely a product but a moderator of the environment. 5. DO The embracing of the forces of nature in design lends to the aesthetic experience. Design responses are seen as part of built-environment ecologies that are emergent, which are not only delivering product but plugging into and optimising processes. In the feed-through cycles of resources design should optimise the retention, and delay and minimise the production of waste. Cradle to cradle 13 rather than cradle to grave. Talk the talk. Terminology. All solutions are presented as hypotheses that are tested through modelling. Thereby design solutions are presented as the optimisation of the essence of the problem. Designs are expected to be optimal, appropriate and applicable. When designing, the programme of a brief must be seen as facilitating the design response. But if buildings learn, it is also important to take long-term strategies into account as resources in the design response. The designer has the obligation to enrich the brief, seeking out opportunities for double-functioning elements and the 24/7 cycling for uses. Interventions should be long life, low energy, loose fit, a phrase coined as title to a RIBA probe into the long-term use of buildings, as announced by the then RIBA president Alex Gordon in Waste must be seen to offer opportunity. Design is currently often form-driven, with the intrigue of how the computer can generate complex form and feed-through to fabrication. Our feeling is resonant with that of Papanek 15 when he says: Modern technology is beginning to give mankind a chance to return to the interactive... [to become] relevant to a society of generalist[s]; in other words, designer planners. 16 Design should rather be generative where the responses to each of the diverse problems that inform the design thinking are investigated independently, so as to optimise its resolution. Through iteration and convergence, the design process achieves an ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 21

24 Refereed Article optimal resolution to the problem. It must be borne in mind that the inherent qualities of each facet is but a subsystem of the emergent design, which needs to be tested as a whole. A simple example addressing aspects of the SBAT tool: a sphere has the lowest surface area to volume but in terms of efficiency of planning and adaptability of use is the most inefficient, particularly as the complexity of use increases. It may be an ideal form as a hut, but probably not as a hospital. 6. ITERATION 17 RED is an acquired discipline which can be learnt but not schooled. It is an attitude underpinned by skills and not a skill in itself. It does not obviate the need for a designer or suggest that design can be left to computers. However, it does highlight the use of computers and computation as aids to informed decision making, as well as the need for other inputs by those skilled in their particular areas of expertise. Design should not be an end in itself, but the privilege and obligation society offers those so talented. FOOTNOTE The authors would like to acknowledge the contribution of Dr Amira Osman to the course, as well as that of Mr Leon Pienaar to the generation of the original poster. REFERENCES 1. Holm, Dietrich Die termiese uitwerking van plantbedekking op buitemure. Pretoria: University of Pretoria. Unpublished DArch thesis. 2. Kemp, Johannes Theodorus Ontwerp van n termies doeltreffende woonhuis op die Hoëveld asook voorspelling en meting van binnelugtemperatuur. Pretoria: University of Pretoria. Unpublished MArch thesis. 3. Wegelin, Hans Willem Die effektiwiteit van kostedoeltreffendheid van n boukunde-inligtingstelsel. Pretoria: University of Pretoria. Unpublished March thesis. 4. Irurah, Daniel Kebera An embodied-energy algorithm for energy conservation in building construction as applied to South Africa. Pretoria: University of Pretoria. Unpublished PhD (Architecture) thesis. 5. Gibberd, Jeremy Integrating sustainable development into briefing and design processes of buildings in developing countries: an assessment tool. Pretoria: University of Pretoria. Unpublished PhD (Architecture) thesis. 6. Jordaan, Wilhelm & Jordaan. Jackie People in context. (Third Edition). Johannesburg: Heinemann. 7. Smuts, Jan Holism and evolution. London: MacMillan. 8. Prigogine, Ilya & Stengers, Isabelle Order out of chaos. Toronto: Bantam Books. 9. Phillips, John The Biotic community. The Journal of Ecology. 19(1): Capra, Fridjon The web of life: a new scientific understanding of living systems. New York: Anchor Books. 11. Brand, Steward How buildings learn: what happens after they re built. New York: Viking Adult. 12. Hamdi, Nabeel Small change: about the art of practice and the limits of planning in cities. London: Earthscan. 13. MacDonuough, W & Braungart, M Cradle to cradle. Remaking the way we make things. New York: North Point Press. 14. Editorial. Design. 01/07/1972, p Papanek, Victor Design for the real world: human ecology and social change. London: Granada. 16. Ibid, p234, The authors realise that the writing and publication of this article does not conform to the credence of RED. Our only excuse for committing so many words to paper is its containing [of] embodied carbon. This paper was presented at the AZA2010 Conference, which was held in Johannesburg. ARTEFACTS.CO.ZA The artefacts website is a voluntary effort by Frank Gaylard as webmaster and Roger Fisher as chief researcher. It was developed in the late 1990s, from the construction of an access database for the collation of information to teach the History of the South African environment. WHEN JOANNA WALKER deposited an electronic database of South Africa architects in Fisher s safekeeping, this greatly extended the range of information. In the meanwhile, Gaylard was gaining proficiency in website development and decided to test and hone his skills by managing the information online firstly as a closedsource web-based database. Once the gremlins had been ironed out, the decision was made for it to go live and for the information to be put in the public domain. The South African Institute of Architects and its provincial branches have been supportive of the venture, as have certain voluntary heritage bodies. International collaborators, particularly the Dictionary of Scottish Architects, have also exchanged information. The work of Pancho Guedes features in Maputo and the project has recently gained the support of the Namibian Institute of Architects. Queries come from around the globe and far-flung relatives of persons whose histories are recorded on the site contact us with additional information, photographs and more. William Martinson and Schalk le Roux are practitioners actively engaged in supplying information and illustrative material on a regular basis. All added or expanded entries can be followed by the What s Up button. An important and continuously developing feature is the Lexicon section which concentrates, in particular, on terminology in the built environment related to South Africa. While this venture is a cottage-industry, it has proven a valuable resource and we strongly urge all practitioners in southern Africa to help us make it the authoritative site for factual information of the southern African designed and built environment. The supply of quality information can also gain the various South African architectural practitioners CPD credits in the Category Three section. 22 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA

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30 Resource Centre By: Robert Serman Architects: Architects of Justice (AOJ), project architect: Kuba Granicki EDENGLEN PRIMARY SCHOOL RESOURCE CENTRE 28 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA

31 Resource Centre The new resource centre at Edenglen Primary School, completed in 2009, sits in stark contrast to the existing school and embraces the school s philosophy of learning. THE RESOURCE CENTRE IS SITED in such a position as to address the street, boldly presenting this new amenity to the public, as well as picking up on the orthogonal geometry of the existing school layout, which strictly follows the site contours. The creation of these simple relationships results in a dynamic form that both holds the quad on its eastern edge and creates a gateway to and from the sports fields. The centre consists primarily of an auditorium and a computer laboratory on the ground floor, and a library, a classroom and a balcony on the first floor. The auditorium provides for the school s audio-visual requirements and interactive methods of teaching. This space is also utilised as a theatre space, but somehow lacks the intimacy that such spaces have the potential to deliver. The computer lab, with its strong connection to the quad via a large frameless glass window, allows for sufficient teaching space as well as generous work stations. Services are well considered here, with trunking in the floor allowing for an unimpeded space and a good connection between educator and learners. The loft, library and classroom upstairs act as a single volume and thanks to wrap-around clerestory windows, the space is well lit even on a dull day. The elegantly handled roof, which appears almost to float above the centre, could be read as providing the necessary head space or room for the imagination to flourish. On this upper level, the traditional notion of a classroom as an enclosed educator-focused space is also inverted. Here, the architects have opened the rooms up to the school, neighbourhood and city. In this manner the centre evokes the intention behind such a facility, the search for knowledge and the creation of a broader awareness of the world. 1 1 Resource centre on the street. ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 29


33 Resource Centre 4 2 Connection between existing and new. 3 Classroom/library. 4 First-floor plan. 5 Ground-floor plan. 5 The balcony, which allows a vantage point over the quad, was designed as an extension to the library; an outdoor reading and teaching space. This space again presents a welcome break from tradition. The circulation around the resource centre further enhances the dynamism of the building within its surroundings. As one moves, the staircase permits views to the sports fields and city beyond, while the ramps afford a new perspective of the quad. The connection to the existing block on the first-floor level binds the new and the old and, together with the ramps, provides full access to educators and learners. In terms of landscaping, the resource centre sits comfortably alongside the quad and existing classroom block; however, on the northern and western edges, it stands isolated in an unnecessary expanse of paving. On these, the most public edges of the building, one feels that the centre could benefit from a softening of the junction between building and ground plane. In materiality, the new building, a white plastered and painted entity, contrasts but also makes reference to the predominant golden facebrick of the rest of the school. Although the finish of the new building expresses a new image and vision of the school, it does not appear to be as robust. Having seen the projects AOJ have currently on the boards, perhaps a renewed skin could incorporate some of the vibrant colour the practice is experimenting with elsewhere. There is a good energy about the centre and besides the odd complaint of the sheeted roof being noisy, the educators seem happy. When it comes to the learners, their work on display speaks for itself. The principal, Mrs Rademan, is incredibly proud of the centre and credits the school s popularity and reputation as one of the best in the area to the resource centre. The school should be commended not only as it raised the funds for this building, but also for entrusting and supporting a young practice to deliver on their brief. AOJ have created a building that may appear to be baggy at this stage, but therein lies its versatility. This centre will enable the school to grow into and adapt to the expectations and shifts of education, a valuable asset for the school s future. ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 31


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36 Six Young Architects A RETURN TO THE ART OF MAKING ARCHITECTURE By: PG Raman and Nicola Steenkamp, Cape Peninsula University of Technology William Morris maintained that there is only one definition of architecture and that it is the art of construction. Today, many thoughtful people are wondering whether education and professional practice, in their separate ways, are undervaluing the skills involved in making architecture. 1 IN THE TRADITIONAL apprenticeship system, these skills were learnt from mentors. In this speeded up, information-intensive age a return to such ways of nurturing constructional design is hardly possible. Furthermore, only the uncomprehending and rigidly conventional practitioner would argue for mere training as opposed to a more enriching conception of education. The division of labour between architects and technicians or technologists (increasingly this term is becoming an euphemism for what the British used to call office fodder) is or ought to be disappearing, simply because every decision in architecture ranging from site selection, site planning, built-form, space, structure and fabric down to ironmongery is not a mere technical one but a visual one too 2. The introduction of the Masters degree for part-two qualifications has justifiably injected more theoretical or intellectual content to the curriculum. But it is of concern to many that the second degree courses in all university schools of architecture, including those formed from the former Technikons, are uniformly too theory-oriented and have reduced the emphasis on construction. Pressure on staff to engage in academic research as opposed to reflective practice has accentuated this trend. One solution of course is to forge theories out of the imperatives of construction. One effort to do so is Kenneth Frampton s book entitled Tectonic Culture 3. It is, however, an indication of the extreme theoretical leaning of our age that this exhaustive volume, despite Frampton s wide-ranging erudition, is rather forbidding and even pretentious. One possible corrective to this state of affairs is for the technically-based schools to allow all design and intellectual engagements to flow from the key idea of making architecture in as clear a way as possible. One such school is Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and its former and present teachers such as Albert Lindfelt, Richard Perfect, Arthur Barker, Michael Rodseth and John Samuels, who have been promoting a practical as well as an intellectual orientation in modest but lucid ways. It therefore seemed instructive to look at the work of a few technologists and architects who have openly acknowledged the value of such an approach. Field Architecture Both Vaughan and Eloise Russell of Field Architecture have B-Tech degrees from CPUT and have been running a successful practice for some time now. The Birds Nest Studio in Higgovale, Cape Town is an extension to a Victorian house at the rear of a steeply sloping site. It is unobtrusively placed amid mature trees. The approach from the side of the existing house is via an elegantly-designed steel spiral stair, supplemented by a natural ramp which simply follows the contour. 34 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA

37 Six Young Architects Rather than becoming a part of the site or even fitting in with the Victorian house, the new work has a conversation with both. It does so by being a pavilion in the landscape as opposed to being a form of land art or geography, in the way many works of Alvaro Siza do. The vocabulary of verandahs and cast-iron works and brackets of the Victorian building is given a contemporary interpretation in the new addition. The open-plan layout has a service core providing lateral stability, which is further augmented by the solid L- shaped wall at the rear and brackets for each steel beam. The dignified and modest pavilion, located at a commanding place, with a terrace containing a small plunge pool, is an eloquent answer to the practical needs of accommodating guests, who can live amid the treetops and yet touch the ground, with a degree of independence. One is reminded of the situationist point of view of Jean-Paul Sartre and Guy Debord who argued that a late 20th century and early 21st century shift away from the accumulation of commodities to the valuing of images and artistic activity could suggest new ways of conducting our ordinary life 4. Minimalism here is not a fetish but in its own way life-enhancing in the sense that it eschews luxury and yet provides considerable comfort. To that end, every detail is carefully conceived and executed with the user in mind. ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 35

38 Six Young Architects Clark House, Hermanus, in a rural landscape, is conceived as a contemporary farmhouse. The building consists of a series of agricultural sheds separated by servant spaces of circulation or verandahs and entrance halls, with flat concrete gutters enabling rainwater harvesting. The house has an energy-conscious, deepplan form, offering protection from prevailing winds. But the deep plan is sensibly modified by the placing of an open-to-sky court with an existing fever tree, and a roofed-over open space, to allow controlled daylight into all habitable rooms. This hollowing out affords the plan a certain elegance. The court is accessible from circulation areas via glazed sliding doors that disappear into cavity walls. Robust materials of off-shutter concrete soffits below gutters, unpainted bagged brickwork, polished concrete floors, raw timber roof trusses and unpainted galvanised roof sheeting, reinforce the rusticity one associates with rural architecture. 36 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA

39 Six Young Architects Holiday House Farm 703, De Kelders is located in pristine fynbos with views over sand dunes, Walker Bay and the Hermanus mountains in the distance. Designed to respond to harsh weather conditions and different seasonal wind directions, the living spaces generously open to a combination of sheltered decks and courtyards. Once again the organisation is in the form of a deep plan, judiciously punctuated by open-to-sky and semicovered open spaces resulting in a lively plan aesthetic. Repeated combinations of low-pitched and flat roofs, and of the simplest post-and-beam construction, echo the landscape and have a pointed conversation with it. Exploitation of the landscape foci along the width and length of the building with carefully placed openings permits a constant visual connection with the outside and has the effect of enriching the complex ordering of the building. Peter Smithson used to call this multiple ordering conglomerate ordering. The interior seems to arise naturally from spatial organisation and constructional syntax. ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 37

40 Six Young Architects Works Associated Architects Wayne Parker of Works Associated Architects also gained his diploma from CPUT and went on to complete his Masters at UCT. Interestingly, Vaughan Russell was a part-time studio teacher for his diploma year and to this day Wayne acknowledges the influence of his teaching. One can see resonances of Russell s approach in the disciplined approach to composition and coherent disposition of selected materials. The three Waters Edge units, situated at Waters Edge Estate in Big Bay, Cape Town, are subjected to estate guidelines to create contemporary row houses that are urban in character. These requirements are met in the form of courtyard houses that are densely spaced with a relationship to the street, and possess a unified street façade. Waters Edge is a taut composition in plan and section. There is hardly any spatial redundancy and yet the house feels generous in terms of usable indoor and outdoor areas. To take advantage of the views of the sea, the main accommodation of living spaces in the front and bedrooms at the rear is at first-floor level around a courtyard, facilitating dual aspects for major rooms. Vertical circulation, in the form of an elegant cascading stair and a lift behind, minimises the need for corridors. The garage, the cellar and other utility rooms occupy the ground floor. Despite the placing of living space on the first floor, an external stair through a wicket gate for visitors reinforces the urban frontality of the composition. The construction is simple, with a restricted palette of materials such as white rendered load-bearing masonry, timber cladding, aluminium shutters and steel and timber pergolas, resulting in an elegant and carefully made architecture. 38 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA

41 Six Young Architects Cassia Restaurant and conference facility, Ndida Wine Estate, Durbanville is a quiet attempt to use the so-called Cape Dutch vernacular in a contemporary way, without its unselfconscious spontaneity. In this approach there is no room for any puritanical stance, either with respect to modernism or indeed historical conformity. The only yardstick is appropriateness. Three double-pitched buildings are connected by mono-pitched glazed or simply roofed extensions of varying lengths and widths. The connecting spaces serve as subsidiary ones to the main doublepitched forms. Garden walls of gabion construction are placed to give a sense of enclosure to outdoor spaces. The constructional vocabulary is kept as simple as possible and forms the expression for the building. The result is that the complex feels as if it has always been there without any impression of being fake-historic. ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 39

42 Six Young Architects Archilab Michael P Borgström, together with his contemporary Marco Bezzoli, did the CPUT B-Tech course and founded the practice Archilab. Eagon Meyer, who has a diploma in Architecture from the Cape Technikon and then went on to study at UCT, became their younger partner. Bungalow 12, Victoria Drive, Glen Beach, Cape Town has an astonishing clarity and simplicity in terms of plan and the disposition of constructional elements. It has a simple double-pitched roof surrounded by a semi-open entrance hall with a porthole looking onto the spectacular view of the sea, and terraces with flat pergolas. The double-pitched roof is a local authority requirement to reflect the existing structure which the architects previously reorganised, adding a pool next door. Further council constraints included respect for sight lines from the street and the beach, and the scale of existing bungalows. Since the old roof is relatively recent, the architects did not feel the need to distinguish the new one and managed to produce a coherent composition out of the existing and the new. Walls and windows are located in such a way as to allow the simple double-pitched roof to determine the expression in an unforced way. The building nestles into the site with ease, and circulation is organised with clarity and efficiency. Despite the council requirements to elevate the house above normal sea level by three metres, to protect it from winter storms, the relationship between the beach and the home is quite intimate, carefully combining the need for privacy with the need to be part of the broader seaside. In contrast to the flamboyant and architecturally nondescript buildings around the area, Bungalow 12 is simple and straightforward. 40 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA

43 Six Young Architects Molsen 2, Ryterplaats Estate, Hout Bay is a second project for Archilab from the same client. The site was steep and exposed to strong south-easterly winds. To facilitate a protected outdoor space on this difficult site, the building was conceived as a mountain-side terrace. A key decision was to preserve all the mature trees. This resulted in a building that wraps around a mature stone pine and that has a planted roof terrace formed around it. During the construction phase, the design was amended to incorporate the unobtrusive addition of a two-bedroomed flat below this terrace. The lower level of the building forms the terrace itself and accommodates the garages, the maid s quarters and a separate apartment, while the upper level contains the living rooms and accommodation for the main house. By way of conclusion, a number of factors common to the works of these designers can indeed be theorised, in order to consider their wider relevance. It may even be desirable to relate them to works of more famous architects so that we enlarge the trajectory of our legitimate concern for theory. Here Frampton s work, referred to earlier, certainly provides points of departure but only if we distill his message in ways that are clear and accessible and do not use it as an excuse for yet another super theory. First of these is a focus on the art of construction which places economy, logical selection, appropriate use of materials and skills of making as they manifest themselves in structure and fabric of buildings. These are not new ideas. Viollet-le-Duc and, long before him, Vitruvius were very much preoccupied with these matters and we should try to bring these concerns up-to-date. Then there are the issues of appropriateness of structure framed, load-bearing or hybrid and of deriving an unforced expression for them. Gottfried Semper advanced a number of ideas on this that are difficult to follow, and Frampton s book helps only in marginal ways. Structural forms do suggest principles of order which is never a simple matter. For example, the fact that Ronchamp is a framed building is relatively unknown to architects and yet the expressiveness of the building is about weightiness. Likewise, Villa Sarabhai, while being a load-bearing construction, enjoys considerable flexibility in plan organisation due to the fact that Catalan vaults are carried on trabeations across load-bearing walls of different lengths. Emphasis on the joint, the separation of materials and the reinterpretation of traditional features have been common theoretical themes of 20th century architects from Perret to Scarpa, and are found in the work under consideration here. Rational order is relatively easy, but the poetics of construction that these designers have endeavoured to achieve are rather difficult and require considerable knowledge and skill. Schools like CPUT can and should foster these lines of enquiry. They are just beginning to do so. Some doctoral dissertations on this very subject are under way. So too are the provisions for providing visiting fellowships for architects with particular interest in these areas. CPUT Executive Management has just approved a proposal to build a prototype of incremental steel housing with a possibility for students to be apprenticed to builders. It will not be long before CPUT will put forward a proposal for a professional Masters programme, with the art of construction as its design and theoretical thrust a new route in this country for educating the architect. 1. Here the term making, should not be construed as something romantic and related to an old-fashioned idea of craftsmanship. The outlook of an architect like Renzo Piano illustrates what is implied. Piano hails from a typical Italian artisan tradition of small-scale industries, which was once thought to be the foundation of much of the industrial design success of that country. He fused the know-how arising from this tradition with the design of technologies called for by contemporary architecture. Fortunately, South Africa too has many architects who reveal parallel architectural formation. The names that come to mind are Gawie Fagan, George Elphick, Pieter Matthews and Humphries Jooste. 2. In Britain this has largely vanished. Everyone is an architect with a specialist interest of sorts, based on his or her passion. But in the developing world, we seem doomed to cling on to discarded ideas of the west. 3. MIT Press, See Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness, Tr. Barnes, H, Methuen, London, Guy Deboard, Society of the Spectacle, Black and Red, Detroit, ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 41



46 Stefanutti Stocks more than meets the eye With its headquarters in Kempton Park, Gauteng, Stefanutti Stocks is one of South Africa s leading construction groups, with multidisciplinary operations across SouthAfrica, in Southern Africa and the Middle East. The group has the capability to deliver a range of projects of any scale, catering to a broad spectrum of clients from various markets. Its business units include Structures (large concrete projects, geotechnical and marine); Building (including a Housing division); Concessions; Roads & Earthworks and Mining Services (including asphalting surfacing, and tailings dams) and Mechanical, Electrical & Power (including instrumentation and power lines). Stefanutti Stocks boasts a wealth of experience across the built environment and offers clients a single point of responsibility on multidisciplinary projects. In June 2011 the group was successful in achieving a Level Three B-BBEE empowerment rating. This achievement includes all the business units in the group. Multidisciplinary construction capabilities Stefanutti Stocks strength lies in its diversity in terms of both skills and geographical footprint, as well as its ability to create support and project infrastructures in the harshest environments, where recruitment and up-skilling of local communities is part of a project s deliverables. The group has been successful in strategically positioning itself in the industry with its portfolio of both conventional and niche skills, which include geotechnical and piling, slip forming, incremental bridge launches, power lines, electrical & instrumentation, mechanical, tailings disposal dams and marine capabilities. The project for Liberty Life comprised office accommodation, four levels of parking and a threestar hotel. All phases of the project were completed in November Interface risk By harnessing its various divisions across a single project, Stefanutti Stocks can assist clients with interface challenges, resulting in seamless interaction between various disciplines that is so often required on complex projects. The group s considerable in-house resources and good relationships with subcontractors convert into one central point of contact on the many construction deliverables inherent in large complex projects. Stefanutti Stocks Building capabilities Building activities cover the full scope of traditional building construction that includes healthcare facilities, transport nodes, retail and parkade developments, residential, office accommodation, educational institutions, stadiums, hotels, housing, leisure and industrial facilities. Transport nodes Stefanutti Stocks Building completed construction at two of South Africa s major airports (Cape Town International and OR Tambo) in The Swaziland division also completed the Sikhuphe airport in Swaziland in early The business unit has an intimate knowledge of the logistics involved in constructing a fully operational transport node and has built numerous multi-storey car parks, new terminal buildings (or upgrades to existing buildings), terminal piers, viewing decks, bussing gates, warehouses, offices, basements and retail nodes. Retail therapy The Stefanutti Stocks retail portfolio includes the construction of numerous shopping centres and retail complexes. These include centre refurbishments; the construction of small shopping centres, suburban-type shopping centres and large malls (most recently the I langa Mall in Nelspruit); themed shopping centres or retail facilities at tourist destinations (u Shaka Marine Park); and within airports (including the retail nodes at OR Tambo and Cape Town International). Stefanutti Stocks subsidiary in the Middle East, interior fit out and refurbishment specialist, Al-Tayer Stocks, worked on an impressive list of refurbishment and interior fitout projects, including the Dubai Mall, Bloomingdales, Jumeirah Garden City and Deira City Centre. Stefanutti Stocks Geotechnical has been involved at various shopping centres where the construction has required lateral support and piling. An impressive hotel construction resumé

47 Edificio 24 is a commercial and residential high-rise building currently being constructed by Stefanutti Stocks building operations in Mozambique for client Epsilon Investimentos, SA. Nearly fi ve decades of hotel construction experience, including proactive involvement in the design processes of many of these projects, has resulted in Stefanutti Stocks becoming a highly respected partner to many hotel developers in South Africa and neighbouring countries. The business unit has worked on a variety of hotel and leisure projects, including refurbishments/ additions to existing hotels, inner city refurbishments and green fi eld developments. Four decades of housing The Housing division has been operating since 1970 and is well-established in the South African construction industry. Over the last four decades it has nurtured relationships with government and property developers, as well as major players in the mining sector. Stefanutti Stocks Housing undertakes select residential developments for major mining and industrial clients, as well as low-cost and affordable housing for the public sector (retirement villages, staffi ng units for the hospitality industry, lifestyle estates). In addition to its construction expertise it also offers project management, co-development, design and build (turnkey) skills within The Vryburg Hospital, a m 2 district hospital development, was completed in the housing industry. Building projects Current projects in South Africa include Corobray Corner and the KPMG offi ce expansion (two corporate offi ce buildings in Gauteng); the construction of the Brits Hospital in the North West province; the Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in the Eastern Cape, and industrial warehousing projects for Shoprite (in the Western Cape) and Unilever in KwaZula-Natal. Current housing projects for government include the Centurion Aerospace Village for the Department of Trade & Industry and the Emzinoni Hostels for the Govan Mbeki Municipality. Projects in Southern Africa include shopping malls in Botswana, Zambia and Malawi and hotels and housing units in Mozambique. Serious about SHEQ The Stefanutti Stocks group proactively fosters a safe working environment and its stringent commitment to improving safety standards is refl ected in a Group Disabling Injury Frequency rate (DIFR) of Numerous awards from industry associations include Master Builders Association 5-Star Awards for the Housing, Western Cape, Coastal and Inland Building divisions, and NOSA 5-Star Awards for Stefanutti Stocks Civils and Stefanutti Stocks Roads and Earthworks. Tel: The new production plant facility for Unilever in Riverhorse Valley, Durban, was recently completed by the KZN Building division of Stefanutti Stocks. It has been designed, from the building and process equipment stages to logistics, to ensure its enivironmental impact is as low as possible.

48 NGO Building THE UBUNTU CENTRE By: Lisa Findley Architect: Field Architecture Almost one third of the population of Zwide, a poverty-stricken township of Port Elizabeth, is infected with HIV. 1 The consequences convulse through the community, decimating families, derailing education and destroying childrens lives. However, in 1998, a young American tourist and a local teacher teamed up to form the Ubuntu Education Fund, a non-profit organisation focused on getting children to higher education and employment. The fund provides prenatal and child healthcare, HIV testing, counselling, treatment for mothers, along with initiatives such as after-school programmes, exam-study sessions, university scholarships and an array of other counselling services. 2 JACOB LIEF, THE AMERICAN co-founder of Ubuntu, interviewed 17 South African architects searching for the right person to design a new facility. None were selected because none, he said, seemed to understand that Ubuntu wanted something more than a serviceable building. I told them, says Lief, that it had to be a fantastic building, that it must win architecture awards, that the access to such architecture is not a privilege, but rather a right. Finally Lief was referred to Stan Field, and within seven minutes of beginning their first phone call, Lief hired him. 3 While Field lives in the United States, he was born in Port Elizabeth and embraced the opportunity to work in his hometown. The project came into the office just as Stan s son, Jess, also an architect, was ready to form Field Architecture with his father. On Stan Field s first trip to Zwide, he met one-on-one with the entire staff of Ubuntu. He knew the organisation needed a new clinic and education spaces, offices and also a community meeting hall, however each person he spoke with added to the programme their desires and aspirations. Field also noted how people moved within the township using an informal network of paths that spider across the landscape, showing the shortest distance between ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA

49 NGO Building transit nodes, shopping and other aspects of daily life in a place where people cannot afford cars. Along with an agenda for lowenergy consumption, climate response and robust, locally available construction, these formed the programme and influences for the building. As a site strategy, Stan Field convinced Ubuntu not to build the usual defensive wall around the building. Instead, the building should reinforce a path across the site. In this way, the project becomes part of the daily life of Zwide and getting tested for HIV, a still-stigmatised activity, can happen as part of daily movement. The path, defined by pavers that echo the intense red of the local soil, begins as a plaza at grade along the sidewalk on the main road and winds through the heart of the building. It passes a reception area and the entrances to the clinic, the education wing and the huge hand-textured wooden doors that open to the soaring community room. Then it slides out into a desert-landscaped yard, where it expands once again into the plaza. Making a R50 million, 2 100m 2 building at ease in the township fabric of tiny, one-storey houses on little lots required a nuanced solution. The Ubuntu Centre has a clear presence, yet is also scaled to not overwhelm the neighborhood and to avoid intimidating the people who use it. This was done by breaking the programme into three main masses, each defined by lofty folded and tilted concrete tubes: the education wing occupies the street corner, while the clinic tucks behind a low-entry piece along the main road. The meeting hall towers at the back. Upstairs spaces in the education and clinic blocks include offices, classrooms and study areas. The concrete masses are stitched together by circulation spaces framed in light steel and glass, and each mass sits casually on the site. 2 1 Front along the main road. 2 End entrance. 3 Section. ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 47


51 NGO Building 7 Using in situ concrete was not a logical choice in a place where plaster is the usual finished material to rough brick or concrete block. As Stan Field explains, Here, the final finish was the concrete, so everything had to be done with more care. And this level of attention finally began to become the ethic of construction. It was not a new skill the builders had to learn, but rather a new approach. 4 While the builders, using a high percentage of low-skilled local labourers, gained new expertise with concrete, other materials and details were chosen to work with local skills. The glassed-in ends of the concrete tubes bring daylight deep into the building, while horizontal, evenly spaced gum poles screen the sun and provide security. With the gum poles, Jess Field explains, we were using something that was so familiar, that has been used there for generations, so we could just design the method of fabrication to suit skills the community already had. 5 A number of smaller design moves embed the Ubuntu staff s desires into the building. On the roof of the entry piece, where the bulk of the community hall blocks the cold south wind, one staff member is growing a demonstration garden of edible plants. Benches invite people to sit along the sunny edge of the building on the main road, as well as at the edge of the planters in the back garden. Local artwork and crafts are incorporated throughout the building. But much of the building is loosely designed, purposely allowing for Ubuntu to adjust it to fit whatever needs arise. Indeed, already a space originally intended for offices is being used for childrens craft workshops. Jacob Lief has not been disappointed by his decision to hire Field: not only has the building been successful in supporting the agenda of the organisation, but the Ubuntu Centre won a Progressive Architecture Award in It embodies Ubuntu s attitude towards all that it does: strategic, smart, state-of-the-art and only the best. As Lief was fundraising for this project, some people challenged the idea that Ubuntu, as a socially-minded NGO, should spend such large sums on a building. Why not use that money for programmes? Lief rejects this logic forcefully. Buildings are symbolic and this building shows the children of Zwide that they are worthy of everything the world has to offer 6 including ambitious architecture. 4 End entrance. 5 Walkway through. 6 Plan. 7 Reception to clinic. REFERENCES (1) (2) (3) Jacob Lief (4) Stan Field (5) Jess Field (6) Jacob Lief SOURCE This article was first published in the April 2011 edition of Architect magazine. ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 49

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59 By: Walter Peters Refereed article (RAND AFRIKAANS) UNIVERSITY OF JOHANNESBURG, KINGSWAY CAMPUS PART 2: REALISATION ABSTRACT The architects for the permanent campus of the Rand Afrikaans University at Auckland Park, now the Kingsway Campus of the University of Johannesburg, were given a year to prepare the development plan, see Part 1, Architecture SA, May-June This article covers the period from the approval thereof on 17th June 1968 until the inauguration of the campus on 24th May 1975, which, in terms of the architects appointment includes the stages of design development, technical documentation and administration of the contract. The narrative begins with the capacitating of the architectural practice for meeting with its professional obligations and describes the development of the designs of the main components to the campus within the developing brief, while subjecting those to analysis and interpretation. If the 3rd esquisse owes a debt to Paul Rudolph, the components of the academic centre rely on concepts of Louis Kahn, Meyer s mentor, and like the precedents make use of the most advanced techniques of structure and construction. TO RECAPITULATE, the permanent campus for RAU at Auckland Park was entrusted to two architects each with clearly defined roles the Kahn-graduate Wilhelm Meyer, then only 31, for the design and project leadership, and the more experienced Jan Van Wijk, then 40, for the production and administration. When on 17th June 1968 the architects presented their 3rd esquisse or framework for the development which RAU immediately accepted, the fledgling university had not yet defined the detailed functional and spatial requirements for the academic centre. Until these were issued by its Planning Committee five months later in November 1968 (Olley, 1976:36), the architects attended to the logistical preparations for the challenge including the provision of adequate studio space and the recruitment of staff while embarking on the designs for components requiring less research like the students residential accommodation and the rectory which was now added to the brief. Fortuitously, Meyer received reinforcement for his role when Francois Pienaar i whom Meyer had encouraged to seek admission to 1 Louis Kahn s master class of , joined him on the design on 1st March 1968, the day he and Van Wijk returned from their overseas tour of inspection. Pienaar, then aged only 27, assisted in the final stage of the 3rd esquisse in which the design of the academic centre was transformed from a series of detached buildings surrounding the octagonal forum to an enveloping megastructure. Gradually Pienaar rose to become overall RAU design co-ordinator, charged with the integration of the various evolving components of the campus and became a partner in With the completion of the campus set for end 1974, workloads for the various parts to RAU rectory. the project had to be determined and integrated into the network planning programme. A particular challenge was the design input during 1970 which amounted to R1million of highly varied and nonrepetitive building work, manifested in sketch plans per month (Olley, 1976:39). Another was the realiz - ation that technical docu mentation would effectively have to proceed concurrent with con struction. Facing a path with such great risks, the architects prepared a clientarchitect agree ment, then a rare 2 document, which RAU signed. However, the most economic delivery of the campus remained the crux of the matter which under the prevailing building boom could only be met by engaging a variety of contractors each for a part of the project (Olley, 1976). For the same reason, sufficient architects could not be found in South Africa. While the decade had opened with the Sharpeville massacre (1960) and the emergence of the Wingspread, Frank Lloyd Wright. independent Republic (1961), by its end the revolt of the inter - national community had muted, the economy was buoyant and the 57 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 57

60 Refereed article skills of well-qualified staff were in demand again. Thus the collaborating architects resorted to recruiting a contingent from central Europe ii, members of which were appointed to the ranks of the project architects each of whom was assigned a component, and the staff complement peaked at about 80, perhaps more than RAU itself then employed (Olley, 1976:39). Problematic in the polyglot context was the instruction that all documentation had to be in Afrikaans to which Van Wijk posed a rhetorical question who do you think had to translate for the overseas non- Afrikaans speakers? (2003: facsimile, 13 Jan). Of course there were recip rocal problems on site where the contractors were English-speaking, but when in 1970 South Africa metricated the foreigners had a distinct advantage, and readers should bear in mind that the campus was conceived and realised in the pre-computer (and pre-tv) era. STUDENTS RESIDENTIAL VILLAGE: Composite assembly of plans and sections by author Studio addition to the villa of 1904 on the eastern edge of the campus which RAU had leased the architects (Illustration 3, Part 1), The double-storey rectangular framed structure of rolled Corten steel joists and channels and Hebel-Gasbeton panel infill construction was three modules of 6.096m (20 ) long and two wide and cost R The central module closest the villa contained the staircase within a clerestory-lit double volume. Photo by author, RAU rectory, unexecuted project, To accommodate the needs of a more formal lifestyle Meyer chose a centrifugally cranked cruciform plan which separated the different zones of the house. This is a plan type associated with Frank Lloyd Wright, in particular Wingspread designed for Herbert Johnson of Johnson Wax, north of Racine, Wisconsin, (Weston, 2004), which Meyer conceded as the progenitor. However, in deference to Wright s concepts, the wings of the rectory extend outwards not from the central hearth or fireplace, but from the staircase around a central well within a square space set on the diagonal. The rectory would have faced north and commanded an oblique view north-westward over the campus. (Co-Arc Architects) 3. Ground Floor plan, Stiles and Morse Colleges, Yale University, New Haven. Architect: Eero Saarinen, (Saarinen, 1968: 89). 4. Baker House, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Architect: Alvar Aalto, (Weston, 2004) 5. View from atop a female residence showing the dining complex in the foreground, a male residence cluster and a female residence at right. In the background, the academic centre from which two parallel laboratory blocks radiated. Photo: D Goldblatt. ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA

61 Refereed article STUDENTS RESIDENTIAL VILLAGE A quarter of the student population was to be accommodated on campus, but only half provided for in the initial stage, and it was assumed that three quarters of the residential students would be males. As in all RAU planning and design, settings were to be created for the formation of social units which in the residences were to be (Ontwikkelingsplan 1.8c). The approved 3rd esquisse had proposed a community of medium-rise units connected by footpaths which loosely defined north-facing court yards, and the presenta tion sketches bore a familiarity with Eero Saarinen s Stiles and Morse Colleges at Yale. Saarinen had looked specifi cally at the historical en vironment in which he was building, and emulated that with groups of buildings and tower-like forms around narrow passageways and courts, with walls of rough stone and concrete. The plans were just as irregular, with winding corridors and odd-shaped study-bedrooms, lit by narrow window slits that reinforced the castle effect of its pseudo-gothic context (Turner, 1984:297). At RAU there was no existing context, it was up to the architects to shape the 5 environment in which social intercourse and group formation were to play an enhancing role. Thus was proposed a compact village of buildings in clusters around courtyards characterised by an atmosphere of informality. As with the precedent at Yale, tower blocks as proposed in the 1st esquisse resurfaced at RAU (Illustration 8, Part 1), being deemed the appropriate typology for female residences because access could be more effectively controlled. Con - sistently a tower was assigned for 240 female students with limited outdoor space defined by communal, social or meet - ing spaces and the matron s quarters. Male students, on the other hand, were accom - modated in four-storey units with 60 students each, and four such units together with a dedicated communal facility would architecturally define a north-facing outdoor space for the cluster also of 240 students, of which three were required. RAU, however, underestimated the enquiries from female students (De la Bat, 2011: 20 April) which resulted in a belated instruc - tion for equal provision. The residential village was accessible off a pedestrian walkway which wove its way from the concourse of the teaching wall across or alongside the students union, past the common residence kitchen, laundry and staff quarters, and around the dining halls grouped at the heart of the village, creating many points for informal contact along its course. Male Residence Cluster As the outdoor space would be the main anchor within the cluster for the residents to interact in the open, all studybedrooms were to directly overlook the space. This meant that the study-bedrooms of all units would be single-banked. Such was the case at Baker House dormitory at MIT, , for which Alvar Aalto chose a serpentine plan to orientate all 4 59 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 59

62 Refereed article study-bedrooms toward the river and the sun within the available space. While this result ed in a visually commanding form, the attenuated front required an equally attenuated access passage, in that case, one for each of the six floors. At RAU this inherent outcome was addressed in the crosssection. Due to the fall of the land, a split-level concept could be pursued, with four floors of study bedrooms facing the communal outdoor space and three backing it. Of the latter, the lowest and highest accom - 6 modated ablutions, and the middle an elevated access route which connected all units to the cluster by effectively threading through each and enabling residents to move about the cluster without descending to the ground. There is thus only one attenuated access passage for the four floors of study-bedrooms. Individual residence units at RAU were bi-lobed with four single studybedrooms on the shorter wing and five doubles on the longer, and these were set at an obtuse angle to one another with the social cores recessed at the hinge to restrict frontage. Bi-lobed plans had the advantage of shortened passages, which, with the ablutions and social cores common to two floors positioned at the half levels, was thought to foster groups with a sense of social cohesion within the whole. All study-bedrooms were aligned at a splay to the passages, one advantage being the wider front available for carrels as the geometry cranked again and, as this line was marked with a step in the floor, students could literally get down to their studies within the polygonal bay windows. The communal facilities for each cluster of four units were placed closest the dedicated dining hall off the pedestrian street. These served as the main entrance to the residences and contained social and meeting spaces for the cluster and, as they were placed at the confluence of the elevated access route, provided the bridge to the dedicated dining hall. Female Residence Towers The principles developed for the male residences were carried through in the towers characterized by two wings of studybedrooms in an L-shaped arrangement over 16 storeys, and the social cores were placed in the hinge and on half levels. To economise on elevator stops these were restricted to alternate half levels and thus open to landings which overlook the partial doublevolumes of the social cores. The double study-bedrooms bookend each wing of five singles, and all have study carrels in the form of rectangular bay windows and without a change in floor level. In deference to the male residences, each bedroom was fitted with a wash basin and, as the ablutions were on the same levels, the individual ablution facilities were accessible directly off the short passages on the bedroom floors. However, unconscionably, both male and female residences are bereft of any sun screening and no projecting eaves, canopies or balconies shade windows on lower storeys. Dining Halls Each of the four dining halls had the seating capacity of a residence of 240 and was designed to serve three meals a day, always in a single sitting. These halls were con - ceived as triangulated shapes with blunted corners, and assembled around the central dishwashing area backing each of the four dedicated meal dispensing counters, themselves serviced from a central kitchen wedged axially into the composition. Diners could enter off the pedestrian artery or by bridge from the communal facility of their respective residence and descend to the circulation space of low ceiling height along the sides of the triangle, and file at the serving counter before being seated either in the lofty central dining space, the embracing gallery, or the lower tier which could open to a terrace and the walkway. Where func - tionally necessary, as at the serving counter and at the changes in levels, natural lighting was provided by way of light scoop strips on the roofs. As the dining halls offered the only possibility for the members of a particular residence cluster to meet under cover, the choice of an introverted auditorium-like space was probably deliberate ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 7 The Character of the Residential Village The whole of the students village was unified by the use of red clay face bricks and exposed reinforced concrete elements, such as floor slabs, down-stand beams, U-shaped

63 Refereed article open ducts for piped services, and the elevated walkways. These are materials and expressions with which Meyer s work to date could be identified but it might also be added that brickwork was probably the only material capable of realising the intricate and highly articulated plans, even if in the absence of special bricks the obtuse corners were shaped by cut bricks without bonding, the technical basis for all brickwork. The village character was manifest in the winding walkway along which the students traversed, the brick-paved ramps and stairs, terraces and outdoor seating spaces, and the glimpses into the communal outdoor courts. The pedestrian network is a hallmark of medieval settlements and was echoed at Stiles and Morse Colleges due to the historical context. It was chosen at the RAU residences to emphasize the pedestrian-only environment with solid walls facing passersby, slotted windows and chamfered projections, bridges overhead and, above the rooflines, staircases which rise as towers to conceal water tanks, cleaved for access. The turning of the first sod at the male residences on 26 June 1969 marked the official commencement of building operations at the permanent campus (RAU- Rapport, June 1975, p11). Due to the time constraints, tenders had to be called for based on provisional bills of quantities. Eighteen months later the first male residence could be moved into ready for the 1971 academic year. Of all the building components to RAU, tenders for only the female residences could be called for based on standard documentation (working drawings, details, and final bills of quantities), made possible by their detached location and less critical timing. The Transvaal Provincial Institute of Architects acknowledged the achievement on the Male Residences, the only portion complete and thus eligible for entry for an Award of Merit in THE ACADEMIC CENTRE 8 6. Interior of a male double studybedroom. Note the dropped level of the polygonal study-carrels. Photo: Dotman Pretorius. 7. Dining Hall interior as seen from the gallery; an introverted space in which natural light was admitted via the roof, at the servery at left, coincident with the balustrade, and against the rear wall at right. Photo: Dotman Pretorius. 8. Stiles and Morse Colleges, Yale. The narrow, winding walk separating the two dining halls in the centre of the development (Saarinen, 1968: 93). 9. Principal architects of the RAU campus inspecting the 1:50 cardboard model of the academic centre, the scale and means of representation used throughout. From right to left: Willie Meyer, Jan van Wijk and Francois Pienaar, c Photographer unknown (Co-Arc Architects) Reconfiguring the section of the teaching wall Before developing the design of the academic centre, some unresolved issues remained to be addressed. The rector decreed that as the administration was a support function of the university it would not be accorded landmark status. Instead, this function would be accommodated within the general office space surrounding the forum to which two further floors were added. While the reasoning was understood, the horizontal composition of the academic centre would now be without the vertical punctuation of a tower. Another issue was the positioning of the lecture theatres which in the 3rd esquisse differed on the plans and models. To compound matters, the Planning Committee now instructed that the tiered lecture theatres be not only of differing capacities but also of variable capacities (RAU Rapport, Dec 1971:5). Such demand could only be considered if the lecture theatres were concentrated in centralised blocks, as the main means by which flexibility can be achieved is by adopting narrow but long building plans. In the process the symmetrical Rudolph-like cross-section of the 3rd esquisse (Illustration 13, Part 1) was abandoned in favour of one more akin to that which Kahn had proposed for the extensions to the Philadelphia College of Art, The exhibition, flat-floor teaching spaces and offices were placed on the inner, forum side of the concourse exposed to the favourable orientation, stacked in one pile yet battered in profile and flared at the base. The semibasement parking area was now conceived as a podium, and the double volume of the central vehicular road elevated the concourse to provide for direct visual contact between it and the forum. On the outer side of the concourse with consistently battered upper volume, were relegated seminar spaces atop two levels of lecture theatres set partly into the ground to avoid disrupting the order of the cross-section, and the whole was con tained within a block stacked up plumb against the line of a perimeter vehicular service road. Bridges reached across to the laboratories, which due to the increased demand had to be accommodated tan gentially to four sides of the octagonal teaching wall, three in series, and could no longer be confined to radiating from the knuckles as proposed in the 3rd esquisse. Each road had a parallel subterranean services tunnel with another on the outer line of the laboratory blocks. This disposition of facilities around the forum had important architectural consequences. There would be no vertical building contrasting to the horizontal layering of the academic centre as the administration tower might have given, worse still, the 9 teaching wall would now have a distinct front to the forum and 61 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 61

64 Refereed article a back to the residential surrounds, putting paid to the attempts of the 3rd esquisse to present a front to both sides. Instead, development would revert to the ordering principles of the 1st esquisse wherein the octagonal forum was the regulator of physical form (Illustration 8, Part 1). With that, much of the poetry of the 3rd esquisse had been forfeited, and there would be more issues to mediate, but the concept of annular rings around the forum now became the accepted parti for proceeding. Merging Plan, Cross-Section, Structure and Construction When asked what came first in his Richards Medical Laboratories in Philadelphia of , Louis Kahn explained that structure and building cannot be separated, the one evolves [from] the other (McCarter, 2005: 116). This symbiotic evolution applied equally at RAU. The Planning Committee set a condition which made the search for a matching structural system particularly challenging. The flat-floor teaching spaces were to be accommodated in column-free, open-plan floors with clear 20m width and 50m breadth to allow for maximum flexibility in partition ing shapes and sizes. This was an enormous structural challenge, more than double the unencumbered square grid of 18m in the Cape Town Civic Centre iii. If that was the requirement for the spaces on the lower floors, it would 10 obviously have implications for the office floors above, the immediate one being the battered profile to the forum. The dedicated staircases for the lecture theatre and seminar block, which in the Kahn-like section appear to have been located inside the concourse, became aligned parallel but on the outside. In that process, the stems of the E-shaped floor- ACADEMIC BUILDINGS: Composite assembly of plans and sections by author ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA

65 Refereed article 11 plates of the office pile of the 3rd esquisse (Part 1) became superimposed in the vertical plane of the concourse, while the translucent sheeting proposed to bridge the differing roof levels of the offices and the seminar and lecture theatre block came to define the sliver of space around the staircases as atria. This resulted in a generous stair and milling space, as an in-between space for socialising, effused with natural light, but at the cost of the concourse which was no longer directly top-lit but indirectly by borrowing light from the atrium. If the inclusion of atria changed the character of the concourse, an early attempt at matching structure with plan radically changed the face of the teaching wall to the forum. The structural layout showed an alternating grid in acknowledgement of the fingers of the E-shaped floor-plates of the office floors with columns placed in the corners of the bays. But, with the huge spans required and the need later to accommodate air-conditioning ducts, the columns were designed as shafts, U-shaped or hollow. If the drawings and models of the 3rd esquisse were silent on structure, by contrast, this layout might well have given the perception of structural excess. It was certainly not acceptable to the rector who on presentation put paid to one remaining important architectural characteristic of the 3rd esquisse. The proposed structural grid would impede visibility to the forum, especially the sight lines from the offices in the recesses of the E-shape, and a different termination would have to be sought (Meyer & Pienaar, 2001: pers comm, 29 Sept). This resulted in the prow-shaped terminations to the fingers of the office floors, supported at the tips and with U-shaped shafts as ducts, somewhat like Meyer had done at Grupel s Court, but more emphatically as the pylons at Kahn s Richards building, and with the 19.5m wide intercolumniation, their uniformity and visual dominance of the forum was not without symbolic implications iv. Such is the relative power of rectors and architects. The realisation of these considerable spatial demands called for the most advanced techniques of structure and construction with which only the 29-year old engineer Konstant Bruinette v was entrusted. For the 1.5m planning Art School, Philadelphia. Project of Louis Kahn, Giurgola,R & Mehta,J Louis I Kahn. Zurich: Artemis, Cross-section through a teaching wall. Sketch of 21 May (Co-Arc Architects). 12. The translucent sheeting lighting the atrium off the concourse bottom right. Photo: D Goldblatt. 13. An early structural proposal for the teaching wall showing an alternating grid of U and O-shaped column shafts (Co-Arc Architects). 14. A facet of the teaching wall under construction. The prow-shaped terminations to the fingers of the office floors are supported by double columns. These were later concealed with U-shaped pre-cast elements (foreground) to accommodate air conditioning riser ducts as can already be seen on the lower floors. Photo: John Lee, 7 June ARCHTECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 63 63

66 64 64 Refereed article module the architects had found to be the most suitable throughout, coffered concrete floor slabs were the most appropriate. However, to expedite construction and meet with the delivery timeframe, post-tensioning of slabs and pre-casting of elements became inevitable. While the structural challenge in post-tensioning the lower floors was immense due to their magnitude and the demands of indeterminate subdivision, it was actually the prow-shapes of the office fingers which put the structural system of post-tensioning to the test. The main cables run in sleeves in the in-filled perimeter coffers, each from the opposite column of the set at the tip, along the chamfer of a prow and the length of the side of the office fingers before being supported on haunches at the U-shafts at the stem of the E-shaped floor-plates, a distance of some 22.5m. As the expertise for pre-casting was not available locally, the contractors recruited Italian expert-tradesmen and floated a separate company for the establishment of an on-site factory to manufacture the pre-cast shaft and panel units. With that, maturing could be expedited by a process of steamcuring, and the steel anchor and distribution plates for jacking the high-tensile steel cables along the shafts facing the forum could be positioned with a precision of decoration which Chipkin compares with the triglyphs 15. In his Richards building Kahn showed that the towers were non-structural by stepping them in or by cutting a triangle at the bottom of those housing staircases (Scully, 2003: 307). Consistently at RAU, on the lowest floor, where the flare is structurally unnecessary the shaft was separated from the double columns to allow pedestrians to circulate along the balconies of the exhibition spaces on the ground floor (Meyer and Pienaar, 2001: pers comm, 30 Sept). The shafts are crowned with scoops to ease the entry of ducts from the air-conditioning plants atop the flat roofs. Photo: D Goldblatt. 16. Establishing human scale at the base of the academic centre. A paved apron lines the perimeter of the forum and the transition between outside and in is marked by crablike island seating spaces between flights of stairs given shape by walls of battered clay brickwork to symbolically merge the building with the earth, as do the solid brick towers at Kahn s Richards building. (Personal communication: Meyer and Pienaar, 30 Sept 2001) Photo: D Goldblatt. 17. Obtuse-angled salient corner of the knuckle from northwest. From left: side of the sports hall in foreground, strip windows of staircase above, ablutions tower, lecture theatre bookend (with monitor roof to atrium behind), laboratory block. Photo: D Goldblatt. 18. Palazzo dei Congressi, Venice. Project of Louis Kahn, (McCarter, 2005). 19. Salk Institute, la Jolla. Project of Louis Kahn, (Weston, 2004). ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA on classical architecture (1998:263). To deliver the total of 1400 shaft or ductelements and the 1600 panels, the daily production saw the use of 100 tons of reinforcing steel. All other concrete work could be left in the raw state as the quality of the surface finish achieved an almost marble-like effect ( n byna marmeragtige voorkoms) (RAU Rapport, Dec 1971:4). Knuckles for reconciling Alignments and Circulation From inception, the facets of the teaching wall were to step in acknowledgement of the sloping topography. Giving substance to this characteristic, it was decided that each side of the octagonal wall would step the level of an office floor, in which case the topmost office floors would remain on common horizontal levels. However, 15 as the lower floors of teaching spaces are more spacious, ceiling heights on these levels had to be increased, yet for ease and speed of construction, common vertical co-ordinating modules had to be sought for the shaft units which, but for the office prows, serve both structural and duct purposes. As two 1.75m high shaft units would cater for the 3.5m high office floors, the architects decided on a height of one-and-a-half that for the exhibition spaces on the ground floor facing the forum ie =5.25m or 3 units, and one-and-a-quarter for each of the teaching and seminar floors ie 3.5m =4.375m. Due to this coordination, all shaft units could be of equal height (1.75m) but for the quarter unit, 0.875mm high, which tops the splayed portion of the shafts to the office prows. These adjustments in the lower floors were taken up in the concourse and in the access ways by compensatory flights of stairs at the knuckles of the teaching wall. 16 However, besides their function in reconciling changes in levels between the sides, the knuckles became the places for entry, for vertical circulation, both manual and mechanical, for ablutions and escape staircases. The knuckles are thus directly accessible from both the re-entrant corners to the facets via the paved aprons lining the perimeter of forum, and from the salients by stairs or ramped staircases which lead from the parking spaces off the perimeter service road. Because the knuckles align with the concourse, their positions became deeply recessed from the fronts of the teaching wall. In consequence, the acute-angled re-entrant corners between facets of the teaching wall to the forum neatly accommodate the elevators and access stairs, while the ablutions which require a larger footprint fit into the obtuse-angled salient corners where the escape staircases too were accommo dated. But for the access stairs, each of these facilities was expressed as a tower of in-situ concrete to punctuate the megastructure at the corners, shaped according to its functional needs. Thus the elevator towers cant at their terminations to accommodate motor rooms, the ablution towers splay in acknowledgement of the lesser demand on the office floors, and the escape stairs are characterized by their open landings. To follow through the analogy, stairs in the knuckles have slit windows at the landings, while narrow strip windows at dado level express the horizontality of the concourse, and the hyphenated junctions with adjacent teaching blocks were treated as voids and glazed full-height.

67 Refereed article Lecture Theatres Because of the reconfigured cross-section of the teaching wall, lecture theatres would have to be arranged in series and accessed from the atrium aside the concourse with egress on the other. To achieve the required flexibility of capacity Meyer and Pienaar conceded seeking inspiration from Kahn s proposals for the Palazzo dei Congressi in Venice, 1972 (2001, pers comm: 29 Sept). In this project stairs, mechanical and other services were located in shafts at the four corners, much like Wright s Larkin building, The series of lecture theatres was contained within an open plan surrounded on the long sides by access passages and on the short ends by stairs. Five U-shafts line the long sides and carry deep insitu beams which at 25.5m were the longest post-stressed of the project. These support cross-beams, which to cater for the raked seating arrangements of the lecture theatres, were cranked in profile. Following on from the precedents, the air conditioning plant rooms were accommodated in shafts on the short ends while along the long sides the ducts run parallel to the deep longitudinal 18 beams and supply individual lecture theatres by way of diffusers integrated with the acoustically determined ceilings, and outlets beneath the tiered seating. All lecture theatres were defined by movable acoustically damped partitioning. Being the most accessible, the ground floor accommodates the largest three theatres and the first floor has four. The top floor is flat and has eleven seminar rooms with variable seating arrangements in an island situation accessible from four sides. Laboratories Of all the components to the campus, the laboratories, of which only four blocks were built, were by far the most expensive, amounting to a quarter of the total building costs. What might be even more surprising is that the services and factory-manufactured internal elements consumed three quarters of that (Olley, 1973: 39). With such disproportion of costs, the design decisions had to be particularly well grounded. 19 The most suitable floor plan for a teaching laboratory is a rectangular one. Thus the paradigm for emulation was not Kahn s Richards building but his Salk Institute for Biological Studies at La Jolla, California, , 17 designed with Earl Walls as specialist consultant. These laboratories consist of open-plan and column-free oblong utilitarian spaces surrounded on all sides by access passages. Vertical services ducts are contained at the short ends, and to allow for changes to be made in any given area without interfering with other experiments, each laboratory is allocated a storey-high floor for horizontal reticulation. To complete the context, study-offices for scientists line one long side. The RAU architects concurred that the most successful way of providing a wide userange with flexible services and a minimum of structural interference, would be through the use of inter-floor service spaces, but questioned the need for the full- storey height and the logic of including the airconditioning ducts therein, which service may be more germane to the comfort of users than to experimentation and research. In turn, RAU academic staff resisted a functional separation of office or seminar spaces as at Salk as these should be closely linked to research spaces and are best placed in amongst the laboratories. It soon became clear that a flexible system had to be found, one which would comply with many different requirements, rather than attempting a custom-design for each discipline. Thus it happened that no less an authority than Earl Walls left his offices in California to spend three weeks of 1970 with the architects and consultants on the drawing boards in Johannesburg. With the input of Walls, the following was agreed upon. The laboratories would have passages on all four sides with services shafts, staircases, ablutions, tea kitchens and wash-up rooms concentrated in vertical cores at each short end, reminiscent of Salk. A continuous semi-basement accessible off the perimeter road would be reserved for airconditioning plant rooms, workshops, any special requirements and for parking, and a single services tunnel of 3.8m width and height would be accommodated beneath the outer lane of the road. To maximize the use of natural light and views out of the laboratories, all benches would be placed perpendicular to the oblong outside walls, which would be lined with a band of windows, and while the spaces between laboratory blocks would be narrow and deep, occupants would be able to look across into and beyond each other s laboratories. To facilitate flexibility of use, a modular approach to the layout had to be adopted. The 1.5m planning module already 65 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 65

68 Refereed article mentioned was here determined by the width for an aisle and the same width for a double-sided bench. Consequently, all elements became modular and interchangeable, including the external walling, which was conceived as infilling. This resulted in an operational floor 42 modules long and 13 modules wide resulting in 1228sqm of uninterrupted space, comfortable for the accommodation of large teaching laboratories, smaller research laboratories, offices along the window walls, and support spaces within the depth. The laboratory floors were column-free, and a clear structural floor-height of 5m contains the comfortable ceiling height of 3m while concealing a 2m services space. To limit the depth of the last and certainly to avoid the full services floor of Salk, air-conditioning ducts were accommodated under the access ways along the long sides of the blocks from where branches feed into the interstitial space. This resulted in the almost unlimited availability of the eight services deemed essential for all laboratories, and at almost any position, which would drop from the ceiling void. Besides, the services are accessible from within the space they serve, and maintenance and layout changes can be made without disturbing or interrupting activities on other floors. Only the plumbing installation violated this principle. It follows the centreline of each block and branches off sideways, but runs in the ceiling services space of the laboratory beneath. In this way perforations in the structural slab could be minimized. The structure for the huge uninterrupted spans presented numerous problems of design, fabrication and assembly. The widths of the operational floors were spanned with pre-stressed concrete beams of 20m length, carried on parallel castellated post-tensioned beams, supported on columns in line with the band of windows at 9m centres over the full 80m length of the block. Once it became clear that most components could advantageously be prefabricated off-site, and the necessary concessions were made for the formwork which remained imperial, an integrated programme could be prepared to co-ordinate the requirements of manufacture, delivery, hoisting, placing and fixing into position in one continuum. Having defined the envelope which would provide the requisite flexibility, it was decided to distinguish the building from the internal fittings and services which enabled the architects to prepare documentation for the commencement of construction. A negotiated contract was signed for four laboratory blocks, a pair each radiating beyond the facets containing the lecture theatres, and these were built However, as there was no standard system of laboratory components available in South Africa, potential manu facturers had to be sourced and encouraged or cajoled to consider the design and installation of an integrated system. With the sum of uncertainties RAU agreed to the unusual appointment of an engineer from within the contracting organisation as architect s co-ordinator to oversee the execution of building, its equipping and furnishing, but to take instructions solely from the architect (Olley, 1976). ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 20. Sectional perspective through a RAU laboratory floor with ten services in the ceiling space over and the drainage under. Air conditioning ducts are accommodated over the access ways on either side. (Co-Arc Architects) TERMINAL ELEMENTS In the development of the design, most egregiously, both the library and students union which were conceived as bookends to the academic centre were stripped of their architectural prominence, the library by brief, the students union by budget. However, in that process the teaching wall became the focus of the composition around the forum, and accommodates the facilities for teaching and learning, the primary calling of any university. Library The library of the 3rd esquisse revealed a clear debt to Kahn s library at Exeter Academy but RAU wanted a facility that could expand. In reconceptualising a design capable of incremental growth, a trilogy of elongated parallelograms of flat floors and square columns at 9m centres surfaced, geometrically reminiscent of the wings of the rectory, to define the northern side of the octagonal forum of which the first was built. This faces south onto the forum as was the desire generally, and its side to the west is serrated on plan with solid ends to exclude the deleterious effects of the setting sun while defining study carrels looking into the forum. As the librarian favoured ramps to facilitate the movement of books on trolleys, ramps became the principal means of access, which turned out to be fortuitous as few libraries can claim to be universally accessible. An atrium separates the administrative section from the book and reading floors, and the ramps are placed in pairs between parallelograms, like entering a dog-leg stair on the landing. At the required gradient, the ablutions and escape stairs at the head of the ramp are half-a-level up or down. This meant that the floor plane of each parallelogram differed by half-a-level and, conveniently, the landings of the ramps either coincide with a floor or are separated by a flight of stairs. 20

69 Refereed article 21. Oblique aerial view of the megastructure from north. At left is the library, in the centre the four facets of the teaching wall with truncat ed end, at top right two parallel laboratory blocks radiating from a facet, at centre right the seminar and lecture block, and in the fore ground right the students union with auditor ium. Photographer unknown (Co-Arc Architects).) Library Auditorium 22. Serrated end to the library containing study carrels. Photo: D Goldblatt. 23. Suspended book racks in an attempt to revolutionise library cleaning. Photographer unknown (Co-Arc Architects). LIBRARY AND STUDENTS UNION: Composite assembly of plans and sections by author To further promote spatial openness and to facilitate floor cleaning, uniquely, the book stacks were suspended from the ribs of the coffered ceiling in which the light fittings alternate with the air conditioning diffusers. Also uniquely, con ditioned air is not reticulated horizontally in ducts but in the void created by the raised floor suspended over the structural floor. While environmentally responsible design was no desiderata at the time, this innovation can be interpreted as an early application of assisted passive air conditioning, whereby the mass of the structure creates a thermal store to retard the influence of the flywheel effect, to which Johannesburg with its high diurnal range is subjected. Air condition ing riser ducts are accommodated on the long sides of the parallelograms, along the facade to the forum but without U-shafts, and in the slit of space between the ramps and floor slabs. Students Union The students union forms the western head of the development defining the forum and the architectural counterpoint to the library opposite. It terminates the circumambient concourse of the teaching wall and serves as a gateway to the students residential village. Besides a general cafeteria and a dining room for staff, and recreation facilities each for students and staff, the Planning Committee 23 now proposed that instead a large hall (Ontwikkelingsplan 1968: 1.9.5) both an indoor sports hall and an auditorium be included. There was a need for an additional auditorium in Johannesburg, a motivation perhaps reinforced by a growing realization that the proposed cultural centre opposite Kingsway could be abandoned, and with that the possibility of shared specialized accommodation thwarted, as in fact happened. Befitting its position, all habitable spaces face north-east and open to terraces to enjoy the best of orientation, with servicing from the rear where a branch of the perimeter vehicular road penetrates the depth of the building for dispatch to the kitchen and backstage. The concourse merges in a spacious foyer on the first floor which gives access to the auditorium, to the cafeteria below with which it is spatially linked by way of the cut-outs, or to the sports hall and the students residential village by traversing the roof terrace and descending a grand flight of stairs. The upper floors are cranked in plan and stretch 67 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 67

70 68 68 from the end of the teaching wall to the auditorium, one each for student and staff facilities. As the developed brief impacted on the budget, the additional terminating floors were axed leaving the teaching wall truncated. Auditorium To echo the octagonal shape of the forum, a squat octagonal cylinder was chosen for the indoor counterpart. Seating was arranged about the proscenium on the NE-SW axis and the brief for the interior evolved as the design developed (Wilreker, 2010, pers comm, 17th May). With a seating capacity of almost 900, the auditorium was deemed appropriate for important university functions often characterized by processions and also for theatrical productions not requiring a fly-tower. Consequently, in the layout of the aisles, the architects sought to give expression to processional movements, but not at the cost of a sense of audience community. Yet building bye-laws at the time restricted seats to a maximum distance of seven from any aisle, which limited rows to 14 and made central or radiating aisles unavoidable, and with that the unacceptable division within the audience. It so happened, that tip-up or continental type 25 seating had just been introduced to South Africa at Cape Town s Nico Malan Opera House and Theatre, now Artscape, which opened in May 1971 vi. In this case seats were spring-loaded to fold up automatically when not in use, and this expanded the length of rows to allow for stalls of virtually uninterrupted seating and for holding the audience as one unit. Learning that these seats were only available cushioned, the RAU auditorium was never going to be a regular student hall. Having identified the means, the architects aimed at the design of an enveloping form for the audience and a setting conducive to academic functions. Unusually, the central stall is bounded by oval aisles in acknowledgement of the lines of flow e.g. of students entering and descending in a procession to be capped on the bowed and terraced apron before returning to be seated. Thanks to the continental type seating the diameter of the central stall is 28 seats, double the former bye-law. This spatial arrangement allows for excellent contact between audience and stage and among the patrons themselves. A single entry allows actors or performers to the proscenium, slipped as it is, beyond one side of the ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 24 octagonal space to the auditorium. The proscenium is relatively low in height but the bowed apron (or fore stage) allows actors to command a wide fan with encirclement of about 160 at only some 2.5m away. This apron terraces down to the audience and its bowed plan is echoed in the parallel semi-circular seating arrangement of the stalls with which it elegantly integrates and returns to describe a sausage on plan. As all true auditoria should, this auditorium, also takes its character from its interior. The bowl-like theatre is acoustically optimised by the reflecting ceiling rising from the proscenium in facets, and the unusual application of semi-spheres of various diameters on the side walls, much like giant blisters, principally on the left. Stage lighting is affixed to the bridge in the form of a centrally suspended steel lattice ring in which the air-conditioning diffusers were also integrated. Ducting is accommodated in the trusses of the space-framed roof, served by bulk supply risers externally exposed behind the proscenium, fed from the plant room concealed in the undercroft of the stalls Like the sports hall, the construction of the auditorium has diaphragm walls with a face brick exterior in acknow ledgement of the material of the students residential village alongside, and a corrugated sheet metal roof covering. The steel trusses to the roof were designed as an octagonal space frame and kept low so as not to obstruct views westward from the proposed upper floors, and to achieve this they contain cables in their hollow sections which were tensioned and anchored in the concrete circumferential edge beam designed as a coping to the walls (Bruinette, 2001: communication, 2 August). Construction commenced in August 1972 and it was completed just in time for the official opening of the new campus. Of all the components of RAU, the students union was the single most expensive per area, and the auditorium the obvious culprit.

71 ACHIEVEMENT On the morning of Saturday, 24th May 1975, an assembly of some five thousand attended the official opening ceremony of the permanent campus in the amphitheatre of the forum. Many lined the vast downward spirals from the sides of the teaching wall which reach completion around the fountain at the foot of the portal, the formal entry to the forum. This was an organic redesign Meyer had initiated in response to the prow-terminations to the office fingers which had put paid to the bayed proposal of the 3rd esquisse and the forum design emulating the Piazza del Campo of Siena (Illustrations 9 & 10, Part 1). Taken by the achievement, the rector requested leave of the chancellor to follow an unusual protocol and to first welcome the architects. He expressed his admiration of the campus which, based on his personal experience, ranked among the foremost campus designs of the post-war period (RAU Amptelike Opening, 1975: 20,21). He also revealed that the project had set an example of financial probity and that the total cost of the complex with its sq m of gross floor area amounted to R41m vii, a cost which compared favourably with the authoritative norms of the British University Grants Committee (now Higher Education Funding Council for England). Clearly Meyer and Van Wijk had fulfilled the hopes of their client. They also achieved the recognition of their peers when in 1976 RAU won an Award of Merit in the inaugural round of the bi-annual national awards of the Institute of South African Architects (ISAA) for buildings reflective of exemplary architecture. In turn, the supportive patronage of RAU was acknowledged when a year later ISAA conferred its first ever Patron of Architecture award. viii Meaning of the Forum and Concourse The generative ideas of the composition, the forum and the concourse are also the lasting themes of RAU. To most visitors, the forum would certainly have reflected the meaning of the institution, and though not fully enclosed to symbolically reach out to the north (Part 1: 45), to many passers-by the concept of a fixed interior and places for expansion on the outer perimeter must have encouraged the perception of introversion, and, perhaps of a laager (besieged) mentality. This perception would have been escalated by the monumental or institutional image called for in the brief (Part 1: 46) and manifested by the fact that students seldom assemble there for, as Herwitz concluded, one feels dwarfed by the encircling structure and watched from every window (1998:416). But, it has to be remembered that the space was actually designed to be devoid of jostling students (Chipkin, 1993:319). From inception it was to be a cour d honeur, a monumental forecourt to the megastructure (Part 1:47). Yet, whatever the perception of the forum, the concourse still evokes as much emphatic dislike as passionate enthusiasm ix and there are a number of ways in which criticism is framed. Meyer had proposed the concourse as a logical means of meeting with the requirement of the architectural brief for a compact development and an environment conducive to fostering interdisciplinary aca demic and social contact for which there would be in-between spaces or residual spaces without designa - tion (Meyer, 1997: 73). However, the concourse was never enlivened with retail, food and beverage outlets as proposed (Part 1: 48), only an art gallery with at best a token of exhibits to communicate the workings of different departments was included. Without an environment for lingering, the concourse quite naturally languished to mono-use as a conduit for communication. The concourse was to be permeable to the forum (Part 1: 48) within a design Meyer summed up by the more compact, the more penetrable (Die strewe was: hoe meer kompak, hoe open en deurdringbaarder) (1977: 74). Yet, as the extra ordinarily wide spaces astride the concourse were under used, the university slowly began inserting a warren of rooms, indecorously, which obscured not only their original design intent but even blocked access between the concourse and forum. Thus, one can understand comments such as no choice of interesting routes and always chilly (Maré, 1998: 285). RAU Reborn The RAU campus was realized during the period of office of Prime Minister BJ Vorster ( ), a time of deceptive complacency. On 16th June 1976, only a year after the inauguration, pupils in Soweto took to the streets protesting against Afrikaans as a medium of instruction, an uprising which precipitated a countrywide rebellion and changed the course of the South African history. It took RAU until the early 1990s before responding with the adoption of a dual-medium policy of instruction when classes were also presented in English, and the institution began transforming itself to draw not only white Afrikaners, but students from other demograph - ics (Mail & Guardian, April 2-7, 2004:8). However, with the advent of the new South Africa (1994) when tertiary institutions became restructured for the promotion of efficiency, equity and redress, mergers became a major tool. Consequently, on 1st January 2005, the University of Johannes - burg opened its doors with RAU campus as the main one of five, RAU cafeteria opening to north-east facing terraces at left and linked by staircases in the cut-outs to the foyer of the auditorium over. Photographer unknown (Co-Arc Architects). 25. RAU Auditorium. Unusually, the central stall is circular to accommodate processions filing down to be capped on the terraced apron. This arrangement maintains the enveloping quality of the auditorium 26. Centrifugal walkways spiral across the forum reaching up from the fountain at the foot of the portal to connect with the aprons of each facet to the teaching wall. Photo: D Goldblatt. Refereed article now known as the Kingsway Campus. RAU was shaped by the desire to uplift the Afrikaner community on the Rand, yet readers will recall that the academic brief made no mention of Afrikaners. Instead, it concerned itself with the throughput of educationally disadvantaged students and the problems of massification. Thus inaugural rector Viljoen focused 69 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 69

72 Refereed article on teaching methods to counter the failure rate with spaces designed for maximum flexibility. While nothing has diminished the iconic power of the forum and the concourse, interestingly, these educational ideals of Viljoen as interpreted by Meyer are also still holding up as demonstrated by the layouts of the small group teaching spaces, the lecture theaters, seminar spaces and laboratories which, despite being designed for flexibility as briefed, have never changed. The focus was on an educational environment for less prepared students without mention of race or ethnicity, and this must surely be one reason why by most accounts the former Afrikaner bastion has been successfully transformed. The current campus plan shows that Meyer s framework for development has been followed to the letter but much appears to have been built perfunctorily and neither compact nor as intensely as it could have to the probable disadvantage of future expansion. x Nevertheless, RAU remains on the international agenda for its part in campus design reconsideration, and has now been selected for inclusion in the authoritative Phaidon Atlas of 20th Century Architecture, despite bearing the label as the most spectacular of the grand apartheid projects! (Chipkin, 1998: 262). Walter Peters, Professor of Architecture at the University of the Free State, gratefully acknowledges the inputs of the architects of RAU, especially Francois Pienaar, and founder RAU Registrar (Finance & Planning) Ritsema de la Bat, and financial assistance by the Cement and Concrete Institute. This work is based upon research supported by the National Research Foundation. Any opinion, findings and conclusions or recommend ations expressed in this material are those of the author and therefore the NRF does not accept any liability in regard thereto. REFERENCES Chipkin,C (1993) Johannesburg Style. Architecture & Society 1880s-1960s. Cape Town: David Philip. Chipkin,C (2008) Johannesburg Transition. Johannesburg: STE Publishers. Chipkin,C (1998) The Great Apartheid Building Boom: The Transformation of Johannesburg in the 1960s. In Judin,H &Vladislavić, I (Eds) blank_architecture, apartheid and after. Cape Town: David Philip, Herwitz, D Modernism at the margins. In Judin,H &Vladislavić, I (Eds) blank_architecture, apartheid and after. Cape Town: David Philip, van die RAU, 19 May 1975; Toekomstige Inligting, 29 May & Interne Addendum. Kapitaalkoste en Oppervlakteverwysings, n.d. RAU Rapport, Published by the Public Relations Division, Rand Afrikaans University. Scully,V (2003) Modern Architecture and other Essays. Princeton: University Press. Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa (SESA). Pretoria: NASOU, Turner,P (1984) Campus: An American Planning Tradition. Cambridge: MIT Press. Weston,R (2004) Key Buildings of the 20th Century. London: Laurence King Maré,E (1998). Philadelphia-Pretoria. An Assessment of Louis Kahn s Influence. In Fisher,R & Le Roux,S with Maré,E Architecture of the PERSONAL COMMUNICATION Bruinette, K (2007) Structural Engineer, Johannesburg. Transvaal. Pretoria: UNISA, 278- De la Bat, RS ( ) Inaugural 285. RAU Registrar, Paarl. McCarter, R (2005) Louis I Kahn. London: Phaidon Meyer,W (1997) Die Man agter die Snor. In Louw,B & Van Rensburg,F (Eds) Bestendige Binnevuur. Perspektiewe op Gerrit Viljoen by geleentheid van sy een en sewentigste verjaardag op 11 Meyer, WO ( ) Architect, Johannesburg & Plettenberg Bay. Pienaar, FH ( ) Architect, Johannesburg. Van Wijk, JC (2002-3) Architect, Wilderness. Wilreker, HH (2010) Architect, Johannesburg. September Cape Town: Tafelberg. ENDNOTES Meyer,W, Hoffricher,D, Olley,T, & Fletcher,D (1973) RAU. The Rand i. While a student at UCT, Francois Afrikans University Laboratories. Planning & Building Developments, No 1, Mar/April, Pienaar (b.1941) won the Helen Gardner Travel Scholarship and passed his Design Dissertation with Distinction. These achievements saw Olley, A (1976) Rand Afrikaans University. Management Tools which achieved the Impossible. Planning & Building Developments, No.20, May/June, Ontwikkelingsplan Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit. (1968) Beplanningsverslag Nr.1. Voorberei Pienaar winning the prestigious Sir Robert Kotze Bursary, available to UCT graduates of all disciplines for further study in Europe or North America, and he could proceed to the master class of Louis Kahn at the University of Pennsylvania, Sept 1966-May 67. deur Wilhelm O Meyer in ii. The South Africa government had medewerking met Jan van Wijk Argitekte, Johannesburg, 17 Junie, 1968, 52p. Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit. Amptelike Opening van die Kampus (1975), 39p brochure. established a dedicated Department with attachés and personnel to promote immigration on a selective basis, and, having to compete with other countries, floated a state-aided immigration scheme (SESA). In this way, young adults from central Saarinen,A (Ed) (1968) Eero Saarinen on his Work. New Haven: Yale University Press. Universiteitskantoor (1975) Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit. Kapitaalkoste vir Geboue en Terrein Europe were lured to South Africa, most opting for the sea voyage to Durban before settling in Johannesburg. Among them were architects who had studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna, including the Hoffrichter brothers. Manfred joined Meyer s friend and former collaborator Glen Gallagher, and Dieter joined Meyer who entrusted him first with the design of the studio extensions for the collaborating RAU architects and then with the RAU laboratories. Dieter was dispatched to central Europe on a mission to recruit similarly trained colleagues. Among those he landed were Marc Bügler (Swiss), Jarmila Ondrackova (Czechoslovakian) and Wolfgang Angermaier (German). Hans Wilreker (Austrian) is of the same cohort but his emergence was coincidental. iii. On graduating in 1964, Pienaar had gained experience in the practice Meiring, Naudé, Papendorf and Van der Merwe working on the Cape Town Civic Centre, said to have been the first megastructure in South Africa with spans of 18m square (Architect & Builder, July 1979). iv. At the opening ceremony rector Viljoen declared that the academic centre speaks to us and has meaning for us, and elaborated: Symbolic of the determined, sturdy, self-assertive presence of the Afrikaner in the city, were the solidly anchored bases with their strong vertical lines of the soaring concrete buttresses which provided a spectre of stability. Symbolic of the openness of this community reaching out was the forum or amphitheatre, only partially enclosed to invite people in to share and participate in the driving force (RAU Amptelke Opening, 1975). One architectural writer thought to have identified the lineage of the forum from sketches for the visionary Città Nuova by Futurist Italian architect Antonio Sant Elia ( ), in particular the project for a skyscraper of (Owen, G (1989) Forget Europe, Forget America: Architecture and Apartheid. Journal of Architectural Education, Vol 42, No3, Spring, pp3-23). v. Bruinette was among the first cohort of graduates in Engineering at the University of Pretoria in Both his B.Sc and M.Sc degrees were conferred cum laude. He then proceeded to the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana (1963-6) where he obtained his PhD degree on space frames or 6-D structures. On returning to South Africa, Bruinette teamed up with Bingle Kruger, Pierre Stofberg and Fred Hugo to form the practice now known as BKS. Like the appointments of all consultants to RAU, Bruinette was interviewed, subjected to a peer assessment, and he committed to locating to Johannesburg (Interview, Johannesburg, 21 February 2007). vi. Cape Town s Opera House. Architects: Kent, Miszewski, Hockly & Partners and Partnership Hannes van der Merwe (Architect & Builder, June 1971). vii. In 2005, the figure R amounted to R (Prof John Hart and Rosa Dias, School of Economics, UKZN: of 4 October 2005). While this may seem a staggering amount, Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom at Umdloti cost R727m (2004); ushaka Marine Park on Durban s Point R735m (2004); Gateway shopping centre R900m (2001); and Sun Coast casino in Durban R1.4 billion. The appointed quantity surveyor for RAU was Rufus de Villiers of the practice CP De Leeuw, De Villiers & Basson. viii.die Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit word vereer met die Instituut van Suid-Afrikaanse Argitekte se Beskermheer van die Argitektuur-toekenning vir sy prestasie in die bou van n nuwe universiteitskampus op n skaal en van n ontwerp en kaliber sonder gelyke in Suid-Afrika en vir sy begrip en anmoediging aan sy beroepspan vir die skepping van n harmonieuse omgewing, bevordelik om in te leef en te leer ( for its achievement in the building of a new university campus on a scale and of design calibre without comparison in South Africa, and for the understanding and encouragement of its chosen professional team for the creation of an harmonious environment, conducive to life and learning ). The certificate is dated 28th April ix. At the 2010 conference of the South African Journal of Art History hosted by Wits University, The Processes of Mediation, passionate enthusiasm was expressed by retired users and emphatic dislike by observers. x. The following sources include RAU: Ching,F & Jarzombek, M (2007) A Global History of Architecture; Muthesius,S (2002)The Post-War University; Frampton, K & Kultermann,U (Eds) (2001) World Architecture A Critical Mosaic: Central and Southern Africa; Elleh,N (1996) African Architecture. 70 ARCHTECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 70 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA

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76 Book Review HEADER Author: Clive M Chipkin Publisher: STE publishers, 2008, pp 500. By: Gus Gerneke JOHANNESBURG TRANSITION: ARCHITECTURE AND SOCIETY Intro FROM 1950 A SUPERB DOUBLE-PAGE PERSPECTIVE (by Cyril B Farey, 1937) of the Johannesburg City Hall leads to the preface, In Joburg everything is possible. The existing building is portrayed, with suggested upper-floor extensions and a raised cupola. In our era of lurid computer perspectives, the subtle touch of a skilled draughtsman is noteworthy. There are more such traditional perspectives. To name some: a view by Alfred Hutchinson of the Park Station main entrance (architects Gordon Leith and Gerard Moerdyk, 1928, p79), flanked by two huge sculptures of African elephants. On the next page is an elevational-perspective (also by Farey, 1937) of the Union Corporation Building in Marshall street, [from] architects Gordon Leith and partners. An aspect of older perspectives is the idealised cars shown in front of buildings: exotic, low-slung models. (As lurid as most computer perspectives are now, one recently published by a leading firm of architects sported five identical Mercs in exotic colours...). Another classic example of admirable draughtsmanship, though of a later building, is a perspective of the Carlton Centre (p142, not dated, prepared by Walter Design Associates, New York). It manages to convey the overbearing aura of these two monumental buildings, lording it over the cityscape, without the perspectivist cluttering the drawing by showing too many of the surrounding lower structures. Art Deco architecture was current in Johannesburg in the 1930s. Could it be that prospective clients found such designs more reassuring than the austere Modern Movement ones? They were not as stark as projects by Mies et al (though le Corbusier was a cult among a coterie of Johannesburg architects, early on). The author refers to le Corbusier s 50-storey tower, punctuated by his small sketch of it, followed by his perspectives of high-rise flat buildings (on piloti of course), a concept on which Madame Smithson commented so unfavourably in later years. One does not realise now how startling the austere, white Modern Movement buildings were then. In his book Labels, Evelyn Waugh describes his scheduled flight to Paris in the 1920s (a small plane, the two passengers wrapped in blankets, feet in fur boots screwed to the floor) to visit two Modern houses by Mallet- Stevens; there was nothing like that in England. (They are still there, in the Rue Mallet-Stevens, near the Fondation le Corbusier, 16th arondissement). An interesting footnote: in the early 1930s, the famous Viennese philosopher Wittgenstein designed one of the few early Modern houses in London. In Johannesburg, Art Déco influence was evident early on; quite a number of such buildings have survived. Some architectural writers wrote about streamline style, referring to elevations of strip windows flowing round corners (photo p73); the French had dubbed it steamship style. Streamlining was avant-garde and admired; Chipkin refers to the new streamlined Johannesburg trams (photo p71). Streamline style buildings were usually in facebrick, often yellow. On page 101 there are more photos, with a reference to the Dutch architect Dudok. Some Afrikaans architects (vide Moerdyk s chemistry building at the University of Pretoria, his later churches, and those by Vermooten) were strongly influenced by Dudok, possibly by reason of Dutch architects working in Afrikaans architects offices as draftsmen (their Dutch qualifications were not recognised by our Institute at the time). After 70 years plus, it is evident that Art Deco buildings were robust compared to those of the 1960s: the typical fully glazed Hillbrow high-rise flats, which are now badly rundown. (See pp 418, 419: a block of flats from 1934, King George street in 2006; next page, a sixties Hillbrow block with a derelict glazed façade). The Carlton tower pioneered the freestanding CBD high-rise projects, all of them impervious to their surroundings, some designed by famous architects and usually architecturally (or structurally) daring; vide the Standard Bank Centre for one. Then came the trek north, well described in the book; eventually reaching Sandton and ruining the Johannesburg CBD. One can appreciate the fine, numerous illustrations (most architects are visually inclined), or read the scholarly text; the book is remarkable for its range of information; its scope is encyclopaedic. It is remarkable how varied the information is; there is even a photo of Saitowtz s small house for the artist Norman Catherine (be it without the thatch covering, put on later for insulation over the corrugated-iron roof). What one values most about the book is its disciplined design (every page is well, and sensibly, laid out. The excellent illustrations are well proportioned and fit on pages which are never disordered). The influence of the Kahnanites on South African architecture has been much discussed, over years, by architectural writers. The author knew most of these ex-pennsylvania University students of Louis Kahn, and their designs; he is well placed to comment on their local influence. Three Pretoria blocks of flats discussed by the author were Wilhelm Meyer s first demonstration of the Pennsylvania effect. 74 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA

77 Book Review They have weathered well, as could be expected of finely detailed béton brut and textured, brownish face brick. Grupel s Villa, the first one (p311, in a photo of a model), had a recent name change (Solitaire) and the concrete structure is painted a dark pink; there are broken windows and refuse behind a high steel fence. But, the building overcomes even the pink concrete. Comment about Meyer s Persian house is interesting, so are the plan and photo. Did Meyer have a long-standing interest in Persian architecture, or would it date from his participation in the Persepolis library competition? His was placed second (?). In this context, one has to remember the love affair of our authoritarian government of the time with another such a regime in Iran, until the shah piloted his own Boeing 707 into exile. Chipkin discusses the Kahn influence in more detail when commenting on the Rand Afrikaans University, the biggest Pennsylvania project. Two pages (312, 313) of photographs, showing local buildings and Kahn designs, demonstrate his local influence perfectly. Mmabatho and its government buildings feature. Years ago, my third-year students went to Mmabatho; they were supposed to design a Des Baker competition project, near the grandiose parliament building. In the event, they were more interested in some adobe settlements in the area than in the utopian government complex and capital city on the empty veld. I understood why. Professor Mallows happened to be there; he kindly offered to talk about the new capital, in a pleasant lecture room of the tribal university at that. His lecture was interesting, and optimistic. Politicians should not interfere in urban design or architecture. Neither they nor their bureaucrats learn from experience. One wonders what Chipkin s After Soweto comments would have been about the utopian folly built on a site just west of the Pretoria CBD: an utopian high-rise housing development for hundreds (whites). There was drama, among others: the mayor (Philip Nel, a leading architect) sued the minister responsible for the project for libel, and won. Now, what was an old suburb is mostly derelict open land; the high buildings are mostly empty; some house squatters, without water or electricity. People have died in fires. To add insult to injury, the empty slum is within a stone s throw of a holy site, President Kruger s house. The text about Sun City makes good reading. Do the gadgets, creating waves, tides or whatever on the jungle lakes still function? At least South African art galleries and museums have steered clear of this paradise; one remembers the Guggenheim fiasco at Las Vegas some years ago. However, (some) architects did admire the project; it gained an Award of Merit from the South African Institute of Architects. Mr Chipkin is erudite; it is evident that he has researched the topic for ages, and had access to sources (and architects). Only a scholarly architect and, should one add, a veteran one, would be able to produce a work of this calibre. it is impossible to do justice to the book in a short review. ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 75


79 By: Nic Coetzer THE A-PRIORI PLEASURE PAVILION OF PETER ZUMTHOR Perspective I had the fortunate pleasure of visiting Peter Zumthor s Serpentine Pavilion in London s Hyde Park recently. Each year, over the few months of the dreary English summer, a temporary pavilion is designed by a generally worldfamous and foreign architect on a small area isolated from the main Serpentine Gallery. Photo: Nic Coetzer TO BE HONEST, this is the only Zumthor building I have visited and so expectations were high for this hero of the phenomenological, for a design dealing with the here and now. Whereas Zumthor s predecessors have pushed the boundaries of architecture with structural or formal or spatial gymnastics (as per the brief), Zumthor has made a deliberately understated and efficient structure that is essentially a long courtyard building housing a fairly quaint and magical garden by Piet Oudolf. Its efficiency is evident not only in its form and easily assembled/disassembled wooden structure, but also in the pitch-black paint that covers the glued-on hessian surfaced sheer walls, giving proficient drama to the deliberately dark doorways; spooky invitations to another realm. Passing through these unframed doorways leads to a dimlylit internalised perimeter corridor, that has occasional entrances into the courtyard. Once you have passed through the darkroom airlock light-lock of the corridor, the outside world disappears and the completely internalised courtyard is revealed. No columns interrupt the space, which directs focus entirely on the plants and the dramatically framed and cut sky. Even the most delicate of miggies, swarming around the plants, become apparent against the severe black-painted background. The courtyard itself is surrounded by a bench intended, no doubt, for solo contemplation of the delicate plants and, thereby, life, the universe and everything else. This is a space about Life with a capital L and about its processes, about nature and its delicate and hidden systems. It is not surprising, then, that in this courtyard there is nowhere really to sit in a large and rowdy group, and to gas and gossip. And to follow in this more critical angle, Zumthor has committed a crime against context. If you follow the strict logic of the phenomenological imperative, then the design should grow from the just so, or the there of the particulars of its place; organic in aspiration if not in form, the building should appear to be a natural extension of its immediate environment. Here, as a courtyard building, the pavilion is first and foremost an a-priori typological insertion, an overwriting of context. But, of course, context is very open to interpretation. If we broaden its meaning from that of the immediate architectural work and physical environment surrounding the pavilion to that of London itself, then the pavilion becomes a clear and deliberate negating response to its location in this heaving metropolis. Consequently, Zumthor has designed a ruthless either insideor-outside binary machine, a time and space travel device, that cuts off the London that it is impossible to be anything but brash in; the London of crowds, of tourists, of buses of bad tempers, of obscene black bull-nosed cars chasing down the scurrying limping lumpens of London, of poorly-laid paving stones that squish underfoot, squirting the day s rain onto too-pricey trousers, the London of drunken pub-shut pushing and shoving, the London of noise and novelty, of energy and ambition. In short, Zumthor has managed to pull off a piece of rural Switzerland or Japan inserting it into the heart of the once centre of the world. Except here it is particularly a monk s world, suited to contemplating the beatific beard of the brooding master of atmospheres himself. It tries to contain the crowdiness of London, by forcing an inward gaze, a solo-seating arrangement reached through a baptising otherworldly portal wall. And yet, as good as it is in this ambition, it cannot accommodate the crowds of people pushing through the portal wall, trying to find a seat, trying to find their place for contemplation, squeezing their way apologetically and uncomfortably around the perimeter of the garden. Anyone who was in love with London would have seen that coming. Even the great master of material dematerialisation himself cannot flush the London air of the Boeings and Airbuses whining that awful 9/11 overhead whine, as they throttle down into Heathrow dropping off the next relentless load of tourists... ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 77


81 By: Julian Cooke End Piece PEDDIE: SMALL TOWN REVITALISATION The Border Kei Institute, together with the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) and the Department of Roads and Public Works, arranged a workshop recently to address the future of Peddie in the Eastern Cape, as part of the Small Town Revitalisation programme. I FELT FORTUNATE TO BE A PARTICIPANT, because, with the scale and complexity of problems facing large urban centres, for a long time the idea has appealed to me of starting urban transformation in the smaller, much more manageable rural towns and of using them as models for the larger ones. About 50 people attended the workshop architects, planners, urban designers, small-scale local developers, council officials and officials from the regional government and Public Works. After introductory presentations we divided into groups, set off to have a good look around the town, and returned to produce ideas and proposals for its revitalisation. These were presented and discussed in a plenary session. It was very stimulating; some excellent ideas were generated; there was fine interaction between the varied participants; leadership shifted to and fro from one interest group to another (eg spatial planners to local authority officials); and a strong sense of purpose and synergy prevailed. Whether anything concrete will come out of it depends on how the process is taken forward but, whatever happens, it was an invigorating think tank for everyone, there was growth in understanding of skills and knowledge, and a number of vital questions arose. 1. Where are the local folk? One of the clearest ideas that came out, was the need for people from the local communities to be fully involved. Participants seemed to be in agreement that if local people did not take part in analysing problems and opportunities, outlining visions, making decisions about projects and acting them out, proposals would be doomed to fail. This is reinforced by a recent anthropological thesis about the town,1 which outlines a large number of recent initiatives for creating economic opportunity or for poverty relief. It shows how many failed because people were not consulted, because local know-how and cultural traditions were ignored, because of a poor understanding of the local economy and the methods people use to survive, and because the means which had been used for human development had been too singular in focus and too confined to the increase in income. 2. What does revitalisation mean? This raised the question, which was addressed only in an indirect way: what does revitalisation mean? That is, what are the needs of local people and what are appropriate means to satisfy them? It would be a mistake here to try and imagine what they are, without asking the people involved. However, the question to those people requires careful framing and here Manfred Max- Neef s method of asking is very useful.2 He argues that most development programmes have failed because they work with a conception of human need which is limited to the most elementary level subsistence and shelter and because of too great a focus on the economic. He works with nine basic needs, that require satisfaction: subsistence, protection, identity, freedom, affection, creation, understanding, participation and idleness. These should be viewed non-hierarchically and the aim of what he calls Human Scale Development is to find, through direct involvement with the people, synergic satisfiers. These are ways of satisfying a need while also stimulating the fulfilment of a number of others. A classic such satisfier would be breast-feeding. These satisfiers are the means to revitalisation. The workshop groups presented two main proposals: the revival of agriculture and the generation of tourism, which impacted on their spatial proposals. Clearly they could and should be part of the strategy as long as the failures of previous chicken and piggery projects, maize, canola, chicory and pineapple projects, and of craft projects, are well understood. However, it was interesting that, although the urban design proposals showed rearrangements of the town, densification and new areas of housing, the process for achieving the changes and extensions was not seen as a possible part of the strategy. There was an underlying assumption that town development would come from the top, from the public sector, the authorities, or from private developers. Yet, in full view of all the participants were hundreds of new subsidised houses, an impressive number for such a small town and probably the biggest investment in the area that has ever been made, which clearly generated very little for the community except very elementary shelter. A really participatory town-building process seems such ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA 79

82 End Piece an obvious synergic satisfier. It could generate opportunities for work, skills training, local manufacture, exploration and the use of local technology, as well as evoking self-reliance, the use of personal initiative, a sense of achievement and a community spirit fulfilling a whole range of human needs, as well as providing shelter. 3. What role do architects and urban designers have to play? The sight of this housing spreading out far from the town centre, so obviously disadvantageous for local inhabitants who, being almost entirely pedestrian, have to either walk so far or catch a taxi in what is a very small town, raised the issue of densification. It was raised, but not really addressed. Indeed most of the talk about the extension of the town assumed the suburban model euphemistically called middle-class housing. The reality is that most South Africans, including the officials in local and regional government, the small developers eyeing Peddie and other small towns as investment opportunities, and local people on the ground, do not accept the idea of densification. This was borne out by an article appearing in the East London Daily Dispatch the day before the workshop (22 September 2011) describing the anger of residents towards the two-storey housing of the new Haven Hills, Amalinda project in East London, which they viewed as nonsense housing and worse than apartheid hostels. The people want, the article reported, proper, stand-alone RDP houses. If this is so if people desire housing provided like this by the state and of this density there is no role for the architect and very little for the urban designer. The only path open to these professions, then, is to argue, demonstrate, cajole, lobby and fight for the space to participate and make the contribution we are educated and skilled to make. We must have, on the national stage, what the architects and planners had at this workshop: the opportunity to listen to ideas, put forward ideas, show what the possible spatial options are, indicate the advantages and disadvantages of each, use our imagination, initiative and particular skills, play an active part now as leader, now as listener, now as follower just like everyone else in a participatory democratic process of revitalising our towns. Until we have that space, the shape of our towns will continue to be in the hands of engineers and bureaucrats. END NOTES 1. Nondumiso, Fukweni (2009) Dynamics of Development Intervention: the case of Peddie, Eastern Cape. Unpublished Masters in Social Science dissertation, University of Fort Hare. 2. Max-Neef, MA, with Elizalde, A and Hopenhayn, M (1991) Human Scale Development. The Apex Press. Google Maps Peddie, Eastern Cape 80 ARCHITECTURE SOUTH AFRICA



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