UJ Unit 2: Architecture & Agency

Unit 2 Students on Site in Johannesburg CBD

2015 marks the year that the UJ Graduate Programme in Architecture (UJ GPA), driven and run by Dr. Lesley Lokko, launched the ground breaking Unit System Africa here in Johannesburg.

Through the Unit System Africa, the UJ GPA aims to set the scene for Africa’s most innovative, relevant and creative teaching laboratory by establishing the first three units of the new programme.


Unit 2: Architecture & Agency

Dr Amira Osman with Tariq Toffa and myself have developed Unit 2: Architecture & Agency to explore and co-develop the ideas of Open Building & Socio-Technical Spatial Design alongside the students through the 2 year masters programme:

Unit 2 is based on the understanding that the Built Environment comes into existence and transforms as a social/physical ecosystem in which neighbourhoods and buildings are never finished, but rather transform part by part. This unit links strongly with current international trends in thinking and also resonates strongly with present-day South African concerns. Unit 2 offers an exceptional opportunity to engage with an international network of thinkers/practitioners in the field of Open Building, Urbanism and Human Settlements.” Unit 2 Website

Image – Simon Ngubeni: Unit 2 Student

We have only reached the half way point of the first year, but already have begun developing interesting and grounded readings of the the sites we have exposed the students too as well as the mechanisms in which to critical engage with the complexity of South Africa’s Built Environment.

Image: Crucial Input from invited friends and supporters of UJ Unit 2


Image – Omphile Msindo: Unit 2 Student
Unit 2 Students on Site in JeppesTown

Image – Diana Wolny:Unit 2 Student
Image – Diana Wolny: Unit 2 Students during street lecture
Image – Luke Venter: Unit 2 Student

Under the leadership of Dr. Lesley Lokko and support of the UJ GPA staff the next 2 years are set to be an exciting and ground breaking experience for all involved.