New Perspectives

The Business Day
31 July 2014

Read the full article here

<< <  >

“Architecture Otherwhere is a compelling notion, challenging the reader’s spatial perception -— for if not here, nor there, then where? Otherwhere is a proverbial third space, that which exists outside of traditional binaries or modes of practice, a complex and vague alternative to the ordinary.

It is this complex theme that will challenge the International Union of Architects UIA2014’s international audience to reconsider their perspectives on architecture and cities. It will look at how architecture could relate to spaces, movements and ways of being that fall outside of usually western urban norms. For example, although informal trade is called unstructured and unregulated, it is in fact highly structured and regulated, but in ways uncommon to the "developed world" view.

The XXV International Union of Architects World Congress is a triennial gathering of global architects, hosted by Durban from Sunday to Thursday.

As with many international urban gatherings, the city will become a laboratory for the event. Many of Durban’s complexities, charms and challenges are woven into the programme, placing the city at the forefront of an evolving global debate on the need for cities in the global south to set their own agenda.

Visitors can expect to see sustainability, values and resilience high on the agenda. The event will focus on the highly innovative and practical ways architectural design can best serve society and natural systems. Highly influential speakers such as architects Toyo Ito (Japan), Cameron Sinclair (co-founder of Architecture for Humanity, US), Francis Kéré (Burkina Faso/Germany), Wang Shu (China) and Rahul Mehrotra (India/US) will set the tone for the congress.

Ito and Shu are recent recipients of the Pritzker Prize, an award often referred to as architecture’s Nobel Prize.

Kéré is a pioneering architect who through an opportunity to attend architecture school in Germany has built prolifically in his home country, Burkina Faso. Kéré’s buildings draw on and extend traditional rural building practices, and are low-cost and reliant on local materials.

Top South Africans have also been given a platform at UIA2014, including Wally Serote, Manelis, Edgar Pieterse, Zahira Asmal and architects Mokena Makeka, Rodney Harber, Iain Low, Kate Otten, Peter Rich, Fanuel Motsepe, Mpho Matsipa, and Andrew Makin, among others.

In parallel to the main line-up, a rich fringe programme at sites throughout Durban, includes exhibitions, social activities, public art installations, and a small film festival. The events feature Box Project street art, The Informal Studio exhibition, Nine Urban Biotopes exhibition, the Pan African Interactive Drum festival, and the 20! Between Hopes and Possibilities photo-concert.”