The (in)formal City – Part 1: Berl-in-formality

In early 2013 I was offered the opportunity to apply for a professional exchange programme between Berlin and Johannesburg, The (in)formal City Programme to explore the nature of informality, which i was fortunate enough to be selected for:

The (in)formal City is a cooperation project around an interdisciplinary team from Berlin and Johannesburg of people interested in the complex phenomena of urbanisation between formality and informality. 

The project was initiated by Inpolis and the Goethe-Institut in Berlin and funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The cooperation partners in Johannesburg are 26’10 SOUTH ARCHITECTS and Alexander Opper (University of Johannesburg).

* taken from http://informalcity.wordpress.com/about/



Berlin -Week 1

The programme selected 12 participants from a Johannesburg application process and 12 from Berlin,  and involved spending 2 week focussed research periods in either city exploring the nature of informality in both locations.

Day 1: what does Informal/Formal mean to you?
Berlin was introduced to the Joburger’s in a rapid and thorough fashion, starting in the city’s planning department with amazing scale models of Berlin.
City Planning Department in Berlin
Amazingly detailed models of Berlin

The introduction then quickly took us through the city’s amazing collection of memorials, starting with the haunting beauty of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe by Peter Eisenman.

Eisenman Memorial
Eisenman Memorial

 

Eisenman Memorial

The simplicity of arranging these columns in a grid to re-create the effect of disappearance is quite amazing.

Eisenman Memorial Effect # 1
Eisenman Memorial Effect # 2
Eisenman Memorial Effect # 3
This space is highly successful in achieving the intended effect, with a colleague sharing how a friend she brouhgt to site was so moved by the experience that he/she was brought to tears in remembrance of a family member who dissapeared  from her/.his life. 
The forms encouraged people to climb on top for reflection

While many people choose to pay their respects to the memorial in reflective silence, other choose to play – with local authorities close by to reprimand them.

…and play
The heights and forms appeal to the playful nature of attracted many people to engage with the volumetric nature of the space – which the local authorities quickly and continually had to re-enforce.

 

Brandenburg Gate
 Followed quickly past the Holocaust memorial were the Brandenburg Gate

 

 

Sinti Roma Victim Memorial

… the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma victims of National Socialism …

Homosexual Persecution Memorial
Day 1 wrapped up

The first day was finished in a strange experience for a South African – enjoying an afternoon in a public park…more on this was explored later in the programme

Relaxing in Public Space?
Day 2
 
Prinzessinnengarten, a ‘community’ garden in Berlin’s was our first stop the following day, this urban garden has been set up in the bustling suburb of Kreutzberg on the former border of Berlin’s Eastern edge. As a group we were very lucky to be shown the garden by co-founder Robert Shaw.
 

 

Nomadisch Grün (Nomadic Green) launched Prinzessinnengärten (Princess gardens) as a pilot project in the summer of 2009 at Moritzplatz in Berlin Kreuzberg, a site which had been a wasteland for over half a century. Along with friends, activists and neighbours, the group cleared away rubbish, built transportable organic vegetable plots and reaped the first fruits of their labour.

* Taken from http://prinzessinnengarten.net/

 

Robert Shaw explaining Prinzessengarten

Our Berlin hosts took great care to explain in detail to us the nature of the garden and how they see it fitting into the narrative of the programme.

Berlin hosts explaining details

 

See fellow participants 
Héctor Carreto & Olumuyiwa Adegun’s research on Prinzessengarten:
Image: Hector & Olumuyiwa

We then made our way to Oranienplatz, where a group of ‘African refugees‘ were demonstrating against the  their inhuman treatmant by the European Union:

Refugee protest camp

The group had a set up a camp in the Berlin neighbourhood and under the support of the mayor staged their protest peacefully to:

– To abolish the law of residency obligation
– To stop deportations
– To close refugee camps
– To achieve better living conditions in dignity for us refugees in Germany

Refugee protest demonstration

 

See fellow participants Martin Schinagl & Tshanda Mbuyi’s research on the Refugee Protest:

Image: Tshanda & Martin’s Post

The afternoon was completed by a tour of the ‘Turkish neighbourhoods’ by local resident who explained the complex history of Turkish migrant labour and the social stigma’s around such minority groups today.

 

‘Turkish Neighborhood’ visit
See fellow participants Sylvana Jahre & Trusha Mitha’s research here on community organizations in Berlin:
Image: Trusha & Sylvana Post

Day 3

Gropiusstadt

 

Visiting the famous modernist housing development of Gropiusstadt and seeing in person the structures and forms that one has studied for so long is a truly inspiring experience. 
 
See fellow participants Nathalia Garzón Arredondo & Nicolette Pingo’s research on Gropiustadt here:
Image: Nicollette & Nathalia Post
 
There is something about growing up so far from taught precedents of architecture that makes seeing such examples in person so special. 
 
Templehof Field

By far my favourite space in Berlin, the Templehof Field is a de-commissioned airport that has now become an integral part of the open-green public space systems in Berlin’s dense residential neighbourhoods.

We experienced the Templehof Field through a local organisation that had set up a public garden space within the large expanse of green.

Templehof Field

 

… and finished the day with a Berlin-styled Braai…

 

See fellow participants Héctor Carreto & Olumuyiwa Adegun’s  research on Templehof: 

Image: Hector & Olumiyiwa

Day 4

Ex Rota print was once a publishing facility that has now a protected and preserved iece of industrial heritage.

 

Ex Rotaprint Building Diagram

The space is now used a multi-function office, community and public space that serves multiple creative and social functions in it’s neighborhood.

Ex Rotaprint Explanation
Ex Rotaprint

 

This day was spend exploring the various re-purposed industrial buildings that represent an important era in Berlin’s development as a city.
 
See fellow participants Melissa Chávez & Gert van der Merwe’s research on Ex Rotaprint: 
Image: Mellisa & Gert’s Post

 

De-Commissioned Industrial Building
De-Commissioned Industrial Building
De-Commissioned Industrial Building
De-Commissioned Industrial Building
De-Commissioned Industrial Building – turned into dance hall

Many of these industrial spaces now serve as creative or cultural spaces such as this de-commissioned warehouse that now houses a dance studio amongst other performance spaces.

Street Art

These areas are littered with street art, that guided us through these amazing city spaces.

Street Art

 

Statt Swembad

This part of the programme took us to the Statt Swembadt – a re-purposed public swimming pool that housed such cultural and creative programmes.

Statt Swembad Pool – turned into music venue
Statt Swembad Pool – wall art
Statt Swembad change room – turned into creative office space

The change rooms had been conveted into a hot desking space that at the time was being used by a print artist.

Statt Swembad Pool – turned into music venue

 

This day concluded with a visit to RAW an industrial strip located between the Spree river and Boxhagener –  a very trendy part of residential Berlin.

 

RAW Street Art

This area is largely houses a mix of party venues from Gothic themed venues to Jazz and Salsa – and is such that most of the building are beautfiully expressed through painted street graphics.

RAW Street Art

 

RAW Street Art

 

RAW Street Art

The RAW precinct is part of the Anti-Media Spree Campaign that is fighting the privatisation and development of such spaces across the Spree River banks.

(in)formal City team exhausted…

 

See fellow participant’s Claudia Morgado and Tilman Versch’s research on Fashion:

Image: Claudia & Tilman’s Post

http://informalcity.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/fashioning-the-formal-and-informal/

To see more posts from participants of Week 1:

Image: Claudia Morgado

http://informalcity.wordpress.com/2013/07/

*


Time Off

Following an action packed week of Berlin we were given the weekend off to explore the city un-programmed.

Stumble Stones – a city wide memorial to those who were taken by the Nazis

The residential areas of Berlin hide a beautiful and sinister memorial at various locations – these stumble stones commemorate those who were taken from their homes during the nationalist pograms and are intended to be ‘stumbled’ upon in everyday life.

Stumble Stones – a city wide memorial to those who were taken by the Nazis

Mauer Park Berlin Wall Art

Parts of the Berlin wall are commemorated all over the city. The wall in Mauer Park is constantly being re-painted and re-expressed.

Mauer Park Berlin Wall Art
Re-purposed industrial park

The weekend was spent relaxing as our hosts showed us more of the diverse artistic spaces and initiative across the city.

Re-purposed industrial park
Boxhaganer Platz
Boxhagener

Street Art by night
Party in a boat house on the River Spree – as we came expect in Berlin this was not uncommon…
Street Art by night

 

Berlin Squatters – Party Time
Weekend close off

The week was beautifully closed by a Sunday sunset on a bridge with Alexanderplatz Tower in the distance.

Week 2

For this week we were to choose a tandem partner, and explore one of the sites further through a condensed research exercise.
Goerlitzer Park
I was partnered with a geography student from the Humboldt university, Hanna Niklasz.  We chose to look at perceptions of public space with a larger aim to compare how people used and expressed their perception to public space in a public park in Berlin; the Goerlitzer Park.
To see my research conducted with Hanna Niklasz on Goerlitzer Park:
Image: Hanna Kilasz & Jhono Bennett Post

 

The park is stigmatized with an assocaition to drug dealng and drug use – this perception did not seem too far off as I experienced very obious drug dealers who operated in plain sight and quite openly (and friendlily) offered us their services.

Stigmatized – but used public space

Even though the drug selling was quite evident, the park is still active and quite busy at most hours of the day.

For me as a South African the idea that such an element operated in the park in both open and closed public spaces was quote a shock .

These perceptions of both the tandem and park users were explored and documented thoroughly in the following post:

See participants Malve 
Jacobsen & Tebogo Ramatlo’s research on Bottle Collectors in public space:
Image: Tebogo & Malve Post

Final Presentation

Final Presentation

The ‘formal’programme concluded with tandems presenting their various process and findings in a lrage rgoup discussion where the concepts of informality/formality were discussed through the various case studies presented.

 

Post Programme

The programme was originally framed to explore the complexity of terms such as informal and formal and manifested into something much more discursive around these terms.
From the beginning the difficulty of this was quite evident, as our various disciplinary, geographic and cultural backgrounds brought such diverse introspection to the terms.
What we perceived as Joburger’s and were shown by our Berlin hosts was difficult for us to describe as informal, but through the process we were able to understand their perception of these terms around the counter-currents of space use, action and civil movement that exist in Berlin.
I was left asking the question, why informal, as this term from my experience only has value when coupled as prefix or suffix to describe one of the many connotations that this word holds.
As a practitioner and part time academic, this term for me is useful when attempting to understand a situation or object that is located within a complex system – with the ultimate aim of engaging with such a situation or object in order to design and act  on this understanding.
The Berlin leg of this project was highly insightful and left me appreciating many afro-pessimistic aspects of Johannesburg City that I felt were negative as things that even first world cities struggle with.
*
Links:
 
(in)formal City Programme:
Participants: 
Martin Schinagl &Tshanda Mbuyi, Nathalia Garzón Arredondo & Nicolette Pingo, Malve
Jacobsen & Tebogo Ramatlo, Sylvana Jahre & Trusha Mitha; Héctor Carreto & Olumuyiwa Adegun,
Hanna Niklasz & Jhono Bennett; Melissa Chávez & Gert van der Merwe, Claudia Morgado & Tilman Versch
Journalists: 
Guy Trangos & Tomashof Hasel
Seniors: 
Dr. Ares Kalendides, Anne Graupner, Dorethea Kolland & Alex Opper

UJ Creativity Week/ Vertical Studios: 2013 – 2015

My first teaching role at the Faculty of Art Design & Architecture was dropped into my lap by Suzette Grace. By throwing me into the deep end of arranging a week long introductory week for the entire department of Architecture, she effectively kick started my teaching career. Thank you Suzette 😉

Creativity Week/Vertical Studios

The Creativity Weeks/Vertical Studios were meant to be a week-long participative event kicking off the year with a series of interactive and challenging exercises that bring together the current and new students of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg – across all years of study. The assignments are intended to take students into exciting parts of the city and explore/re-discover spaces in the City of Johannesburg.

They were meant to be a fun ‘orientation week’ for the start of the new year that allowed students to do something creative, fun and together for the start of the year. I used the oppurtunity as a way to explore some of my own interests in inner-city Jozi.


Creativity Week 2013

This first year I worked within an existing partnership between Dr. Barbara HoltmannEmma Holtmann and UJ, as well as employing the precedented work of the Creativity Week 2012 by Eric Wright . The week long programme was intended to facilitate the introduction and further development of Architectural thinking, doing and problem solving in Johannesburg’s dynamic inner city spaces – while bringing together the students from the various years. This facilitation the exposed the students to the larger strategies of the stakeholders involved in this area.

Students were asked to take part in the week long exposure to the inner city and the project partners that was facilitated by Dr. Barbara HoltmannJoburg Child Welfare and Joburg Region F who brought together government, business and NGOs in the inner city. This collaboration aimed at bringing about a systemic transformation of the neighbourhood surrounding and including the Old Drill Hall, which is the site of Joburg Child Welfare’s Thembalethu project.

By focusing on “what-it-looks-like-when-it’s-fixed” and co-creating a shared vision for the future of the inner city based on integrated approaches and partnerships, the process promotes change in three primary and inter-connected areas: health and wellness, access and mobility in the city and in supporting the city’s programmes.

Day 1 & 2:

The week began with the FADA Auditorium introduction, followed by group division and the first bus trips to the site. On site we were met by JMPD and the Best Life project co-ordinators.

DAY 3:

With the previous day’s elective’s workshop’s guiding them, the students then focussed in on their specific areas of interest and gathered on site data to begin their intervention proposals.

The purpose of the exposure and facilitation now being focussed around the question of how the students can use their skills as designers to improve the spaces they were tasked to engage with – and present their ideas to the group of stakeholders made up of city officials and academics.

DAY 4 & 5:


The students now were allocated time to work in their multi-year groups and produce the necessary documentation and presentation products to express their ideas.

Each group was led by a pair of BTech students who had been guided by Dr. Holtmann’s workshop to lead their younger members towards the outcomes and observations discussed on Day 2.

Final Presentation


The MTech 1 students were asked to critique the groups (A-I) and each group presented for 10 minutes to the student panel. Of these 9 groups, 6 were chosen to present to the stakeholder panel scheduled for the afternoon session and 3 prizes were chosen by the MTech panel:

The stakeholder panel; made up of City of Johannesburg officials, academics and welfare staff, were very impressed with the enthusiasm and quality of the student work and their presentation. They called for the work to be taken further and discussed finding a way to present this to the mayor.

Staff members pledged to try and facilitate future engagement with stakeholder panel by aligning their academic programmes to support the work. The students expressed their interest in taking the work further, possibly in their own capacity, and seemed to enjoy the week’s programme. A working relationship is being established with the stakeholder at the moment.

At the closure of the presentations a small function was held in the FADA basement parking, where the prizes were awarded and the students completed the week’s event – arguably the most important part of the week’s activities.

*

Vertical Studio 2014

The Vertical Studio was the evolution of Creativity Week based on the new undergraduate framing structure of the department. This year students worked alongside Thiresh Govender and Katharina Rohde in line with their PublicActs initiative.

BACKGROUND:

PublicActs is a practice-based investigation into urban matters with a focus on cities in the global south. PublicActs brings together various creative disciplines such as artists, architects, urban anthropologists or geographers to connect with communities and actors on site. In collaborative processes public spaces are creatively audited in order to implement sustainable strategies for an adequate architecture and urban design. For more information: www.publicacts.org

PublicActs employs various methodologies and tools to interrogate and explore public space:

1. GRAND AND SPECTACULAR

These sites are characterised as being: large and dramatic in scale, highly specialised, singular ownership, dedicated used, exclusive (sometimes), grand, controlled accessibility (sometimes).

Examples include: Mary Fitzgerald Square, Bank City, Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication, Monte Casino.

2. EVERYDAY

These sites are part of our everyday experiences and are characterised as being: accessible, open, transient, emergent, imagined, appropriated, contested, negotiated, intimate, multiple narrative, intensely used.

Examples include: a street, a taxi, markets,parks,squares…

3. NEW IMAGINARIES

These sites are new and unexpected which have emerged through innovative and/or survivalist responses to urban space. They are characterised as being: open, vague, abandoned, repurposed, inbetween, placeless, emergent, transgressive.

Examples include: under bridges, pathways, rooftops, open spaces, sidewalks.

4. EPHEMERAL

These are not so much sites as moments where ‘public-ness’ is constructed. They come in to being for a short space of time due to some or other urban condition. They are characterised as being; spontaneous, creative, inter-active, social…

Examples include: sidewalk cafes, pop-up enterprises, trading moments…

5. POWER, POLITICS and PROTEST

These sites are closely associated with places of civic power and are characterised as having important public, social importance and gravitas. These are spaces where the voices of a democracy can be articulated and heard by those chosen to represent a society. They are characterised as being: harsh, concrete, exclusive, narrow…

Examples include: Constitutional Square, the Magistrates Court, Joburg Civic Centre Forecourt, The Supreme Court (Von Brandis Square), The Family

OBJECTIVE:

The 2014 UJ Vertical Studio adopted these methodologies and tools of PublicActs to explore the City of Johannesburg. Students will be exploring 7 identified zones in the city, using various forms of media to create a grounded and critical perspective on public space, identify spatial issues and propose a concept solution to address this.

Using the idea of selfies and space students were set the task of exploring the city on foot to take these ‘spacies’ while employing different forms of transport through a treasure hunt type event.

The students then were asked to explore the 7 themes through a set of ‘ironic’ post cards

Vertical Studio 2015

The fial year I ran this programme, we extended the brief into a more creative field, and worked with Eduardo Cachucho through his Derive App.

Student Instructions

Johannesburg’s inner city represents one of the most diverse cross-sections of contemporary South Africa in less than 5 square kilometres of concrete skyscrapers and bustling streetscapes.


From hipster’s to migrant workers, a vast array of characters unknowingly work together to make up a dynamic inner city ecosystem that represents the heart of the strongest metropolis in Africa.


As practitioners of space, we often  (sometimes intentionally) are distanced from the palimpsest of narratives that give meaning and value to the spaces we overlook daily – these stories that thrive within the interwoven networks and individuals that pulse through the CBD hold the potential to reveal new understandings of how a contemporary city in modern South Africa  flourishes.


Your task this week is to dive head deep into the complex spaces that make up the CBD and imagine what possibilities these stories hold for an ever changing city that still draws scores of hopeful urbanites to its lights. Using the Derive App (http://deriveapp.com/s/v2/) you will explore the city and collect objects, experiences, stories, characters. Then as a group  you will transform these findings into a short story of your own –  projecting 50 years in the future.

The first 2 days will have you engaging in the city with the Derive App. Once you have collected your story elements, you will then spend the next 2 days working towards building these elements into a narrative – projecting your story 100 years into the future.
Your story must focus on a character/characters and their relationship to the space you are designated too. The intention behind this task is to explore how people define their spaces in the city.


You may choose any form of narrative device from the list, which you will present to a panel of judges on Friday, followed by prize giving/party in the FADA Building Basement.

Task Description:

As a group you will choose one person to use their smart phone, and log into the Derive App. Once you are in your designated zone, you will log into the Vertical Studio Week Group and use a deck of 50 cards to collect your story elements.

Each person in the group must choose their documentation tool, all tools must be used in the groups.

  • Instagrammer
  • Tweeter
  • Sketcher
  • Videographer

Each group must use their specific hashtag #ujvertstudio_8

You may use any media to tell your story:

  • Film
  • Storyboard/ Graphic Novel
  • Story (oral/written)
  • Performance/Song
  • Photo Essay
  • Other?
Prize Categories:
  • Best film
  • Best photo essay
  • Best graphic novel/Storyboard
  • Best Performance/Song
  • Best Other
Student Submissions

Reflections

Running these programmes was extremely rewarding, challenging and just good fun. It gave me the necessary exposure to grow and develop as a young teacher and urbanist,.

My intention for 2016 was to return this opportunity to the next round of younger early staff members who has helped me run these this programme along the way (Joana Ferro, Blanca Calvo, Tuliza Sindi, Sanjay Jeevan, Sumayya Valley amongst many others), but due to the dynamics of the school – this was not allowed and the programme became something very different.

South African Shack Dwellers International Alliance: A year in review

 

Socio-Technical Support
Broadly, Architect’s (in South Africa at least), are trained to translate the requirements of a client (in many forms), while taking into account as many factors (your own intuition and preferences included) into a technical product.
From my experience from working in complex developmental or advocacy environments this broad definition of the role of Architect, planner or engineer (Spatial Practitioner) as a ‘designer’ or ‘professional’ shifts more into a facilitative mode.
This position still requires the analysis, thinking and acting tools that the professional training gives, but calls on the practitioner to also transverse many different cultural, economic and disciplinary background with empathy, much patience and a willingness to let go of strategic aspects of control.

The role of socio-technical support is not to completely give into the complexity of social or development processes, but to look deeper and find the unseen connection between technical requirements and the larger picture while still meeting the needs of the individuals (or community) at hand.

I have recently stepped out of my role at the Community Organisation Resource Centre(CORC), where I worked as socio-technical support to the social processes conducted by the South African Shack/Slum Dwellers International Alliance(SASDI) who are the South African affiliate of the Slum/Shack DwellersInternational (SDI).

This role of socio-technical support had me advising, documenting and facilitating the technical projects that make up the 6 rituals of the SDI:


 

the rituals in action
These projects were specific technical projects put forward by residents of various informal settlements in Gauteng that required intermediary technical support in their longer development goals and varied from tap fixtures to lighting solutions to meeting halls.

the constant contrasts of working in informal settlements

the People’s Housing Process in action
Temporary housing solution after an illegal eviction

 

 

working to articulate the needs of different settlement groups

CUFF Projects in motion
These projects are funded by a trust overseen by elected members of the SASDI called the Community Upgrade Finance Facility (CUFF). Residents are required to identify a project, work with the socio-technical professional to determine a design and a cost get this initial concept approved by the CUFF board, then save 10% of the project cost as a community to be able to begin implanting such a project.

savings schemes by FEDUP ladies

This process is intended to bring residents together around a tangible output that benefits the community as a whole, and create a platform for the community to engage local council through demonstrating their organisation and mobilisation towards larger development goals in their future.

engaging community around CUFF projects
common need for water access
post eviction response

 

My year at the SASDI took me across a broad range of projects, and exposed me to the complex political and social difficulties involved in informal settlement development, as well as the working of such a large and reaching alliance of Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO’s) and Community Based Organisations (CBO’s) that make up the SASDI.

community meetings




informally squatted warehouses


temporary housing solutions



leadership meetings

 

eviction aftermath



current sanitation

I have recently, stepped out of the alliance, in order to better position myself outside the complex social and political working of such an organisation to be in order to provide the niche socio-technical support and capacitation of young professionals and students through the initiative 1:1 (1 to 1) -Agency ofEngagement while working at the University of Johannesburg as an independent researcher and part time lecturer.

 

 

 

As 1:1 we plan to not only work with the alliance and other indivuduals or organisations on specific socio-technical and research projects but also help facilitate students and young professionals to get involved with the SASDI and other NGO’s working in this sector in South Africa, while developing this additional role for Architects in South Africa.

student intern in the field
students in research

The Swedish Inquire-sition

 

 
 
(Bennett, 2012)



The Programme
 
The programme provided by the Royal Institute of Arts Stockholm, Sweden, is a post post-graduate multi-disciplinary research course in urbanism. The students are all professionals with master’s degrees behind their names as well as a few years of practical experience.
 
Excerpt from the outlining document Just Grounds: Cape Town:
 
 
 
‘Within the context of the series Happy Grounds, we will discuss alternative concepts of development, growth and happiness, from both a global as well as African perspective. 
 
We will investigatethe term spatial justice and those theoreticians and practitioners who are working to further develop this concept. 
 
We will meet the young Africa, by looking at the city through the eyes of its children and youth. We will revisit the philosophical and architectural discussion from the late 70’s which was informed by its fascination with the everyday. 
 
We will also discuss urbanism in relation to post­ colonialism, post­apartheid, mobility, migration and biological diversity. 
 
Above all, we will take part of the intensive debate concerning the African city that is going on right now in Cape Town. The goal of the course is to formulate an innovative urban planning proposal for a part of Cape Town which can contribute to its development.
In addition, the proposal should contribute to an international discourse on our sustainable urban futures.’
 
 
 
Their pre-research included literature studies of several non-fiction authors of South Africa and seminal readings on authors such as Paula Friere, Abdou Maliq Simone, Edgar Pieterse and other referential authors in this area of study. The research was channelled into several group exercises within a work shopped environment in which broad conclusions on themes and possible solutions to be investigated were discussed.
 
As part of their programme a research trip to Cape Town was planned, made up of an intensive two week focus period of tours, lectures and small scale research projects to determine ‘Future Visions’  for Cape Town and possible identify ‘Seeds of Change’ during their time in the Mother City.
 
 
The Swedish Armada in action (Bennett,2012)
 
The Swedish Inquire-sition
 
This two week non-stop Afro-Urban-Safari was made up of ten hour jam packed days with practitioners involved in cutting edge of local urban development across Cape Town.
 
The group itself was broken into four projects teams, each focusing on a different area in Cape Town, and a project within:
 
·        Princess Vlei open space scheme: with Henrik Ernstson and initiator Kelvin Cohran
·        Dunoon: Inkwenkwezi Secondary School with Heinrich Wolff and the school staff
·        Various garden sites in the Cape Flats: Home gardens with Soil for Life
·        Langa – Hostels to Home Project: with Fadley Isaacs and Architects Associated
 
These groups were then expected to produce findings from further inquiry and exploration between the scheduled tours and lectures, identifying the ‘visions’ and ‘seeds’ mentioned prior.
 
These findings were to be presented at the end of the two week period to a panel of local experts in these fields including, Heinrich Wolff, Mokena Makeka, Edgar Pieterse, Fadley Isaacs, Henrik Ernstonn, Soil for life team members, Architects Associated, Professor Iain Louw  and a various other professionals involved in the build-up research.
 
 
Presentation from Ismail Fourok, from the African Centre for Cities (KKH,2012)
 
My Role Within
 
I was invited by Gordon Pirie, of the African Centre forCities, to join the Swedish Armada, as a sort of guide to Cape Town, but also as an opportunity to learn and explore Cape Town through the eyes of a foreigner. My position within the group allowed me to sit anonymously in front of local speakers and hear uncensored accounts of their work as a total outsider.
 
For me it was an opportunity to meet the people I had spent an introspective year, my own master’s dissertation, reading about and see their work at first hand while adding to my collective understanding of Cape Town within South Africa.
 
 
A school teacher of Inkwenkwezi and myself (KKH,2012)
 
The Tour
 
The following brief photographic summary depicts a series of moments from the afore mentioned Afro-Urban-Safari. An amazing and rich series of tours, lectures and trips that covered more in 10 days than most people in Cape Town see in their lifetime.
 
Due to circumstances mentioned later, I lost 90 percent of the documented pictures The rest of the pictures are made up of photos from the students with a few of my own surviving pictures.
 
The Swedish Armada…. (KKH, 2012)
 
 
 
Architect, Heinrich Wolff of Noero Wolff Architects guiding the group through the school (Bennett, 2012)



Inkwenkwezi Secondary School  (Bennett,2012)
 Informal Housing Settlement Tour with Heinrich Wolff, Dunoon. 
 
Walking through the built fabric (Bennett, 2012)
 
Incremental Self Built Rental unit with Vegetable Shop below (Bennett,2012)
 
Entering the the more ‘formal’ section of Dunoon, with the school looming in the background (KKH,2012)
 
Service allocations in Dunoon (KKH,2012) 
Hostels to Homes, Langa, with Fadley Isaacs.

 

 
 
The communal street space (KKH, 2012) 
 
The reactions (KKH, 2012)  
 
Langa Hostels, service road (KKH,2012)

 
Soil For Life, Constantia, with Pat Featherstone   

 

 Talkwith Pat Featherstone (KKH, 2012)
 
  Green Food Wall (KKH, 2012)
 
Soil for Life: Local projects in Cape Flats 
 
Woodward Circel Community Garden (KKH, 2012) 
 
  Various other local Gardens (KKH, 2012) 
 
   Various other local Gardens (KKH, 2012) 
 
 
 Bottom Road Sanctuary, Grass Park, with Kelvin Cohrane and Henrik Ernstoln
 

  Discusion at Bottom Road Sanctuary with Kelvin Cohrane (KKH, 2012)

 

 

The sanctuary (KKH, 2012) 
 
Various Post Apartheid Projects, Philipi & Nyanga, with Profesor Iain Louw
 
Philipi Car Wash by Jacqui Perrin (KKH, 2012)   
 
 Philipi Car Wash (KKH, 2012)   
 
  Philipi Car Wash (KKH, 2012)  
 
 Philipi Car Wash – the Swedes learning isiXhosa (KKH, 2012)  
 
 
  Philipi Station (KKH, 2012)  
 
 Philipi Station – Overlooking Cosova (KKH, 2012)  
 
  Philipi Station  (KKH, 2012) 
 
 
 Long Distance Taxi Rank, Nyanga (KKH, 2012)   
 
 A lost Swede in South Africa… (KKH, 2012)   
 
 
 Meat Market, Carin Smuts  (KKH, 2012)   
 
Kayalitsha, VPUU projects with SUN Development PTY.
 
 
 IGUMBI LOKUHLANGANELA – Community Centre, Sun Development (KKH, 2012)  
 

Local Creche, Burundi, Kayalitsha (KKH, 2012)  

 
  VPUU Building Harare, Kayalitsha (KKH, 2012)  
 
VPUU Building, Kayalitsha Station, Kayalitsha (KKH, 2012)   
 
 
VPUU route, Kayalitsha (KKH, 2012)   
 
Various Studio Visits, CS Studio/ARG/Local Artists, with Carin Smuts and Gita Goven

 

 
 
Gita Goven presenting her work with ARG (Bennett, 2012)
 
CS Studio (KKH, 2012)
 
Local Artists in Woodstock, Cape Town (KKH, 2012) 

 

 

The Dunoon Group
 
Professor Henrietta Palmer, who leads the programme at the Royal Institute of Arts, suggested it was better if I was involved directly with one of the groups. 
 
I chose the project working in the informal settlement of Dunoon as I had the most experience in this type of project and enjoy the process uncovering the intangibles of developing areas, as well as an interest in the much acclaimed Inkwenkwezi Secondary by Neoro Wolff Architects.
 
The Dunoon group was made up of two visual and audio artists, an architect and a bureaucrat who works in the equivalent of the Cape Town City Council back in Stockholm.
 
The initial outlined task was to work with the school as well as the condition whereby local residents of Dunoon were building structures in place of the allocated government housing and re-structuring their own urban environment by their own means.
 
The group decided to focus on the school, as it was the most stable element in the context and within the time limits available this seemed sensible.
 
Inkwenkwezi Secondary School in Dunoon, Western Cape (Bennett,2012) 
  
The Research
At first  the inquiry was fairly loose with the group members discussing their ideas of ‘future visions’ and what determined ‘seeds of change’. The group agreed that they would set up a series of questions asking the various actors involved in and around the school how they saw themselves in the past, present and future in order to ‘triangulate their perspectives.
 
Triangulation of perspective (Bennett,2012)
 
These questions would be limited to the school to delimit the scope and range of work needed to be covered in the available time. Effectively the school became a metaphorical lens of perspective from which to view the area of Dunoon.
 
 Lens of perspective – the school (Bennett,2012)
 
It became very apparent that the group wanted to understand to connect – to respond. They wanted to engage with the context and the people directly involved, mainly the children, and discover what their hopes and dreams were within their environment.
 
Interviews with students (Bennett,2012)
 
From the outset the group seemed genuinely interested in understanding, in the process of discovery, but as they began interviewing the school staff  it became clear that to remain objective and clear in the process was going to be difficult. There were various incidents which made this apparent, including a miscommunication in regard to the permissions of the group in the school-leading to further delays, a car break in, where R25 000 worth of camera equipment and various other items were stolen in plain sight and broad daylight.
 
The Swedes cleaning up, while I talk to the police (KKH, 2012)
Several heated discussions arose from the initial findings on site of the mixed perceptions of Inkwenkwezi and Dunoon from those interviewed. This led the group into a debate on what defined positive and negative factors of development in areas such as Dunoon. The discussions were centered on the different views held by the group members in regard to what defined concepts of ‘equality’ and ‘justice’ and whether they were appropriate to define and expect in certain conditions.   

 

 
This was commented on by Heinrich Wolff, the Architect of the school, during a preliminary presentation. Heinrich made note that the context could not be summarized in general terms, but that to understand the environment the group should engage directly with the context of Dunoon. The groups defended this by commenting that with the available limits, the decision to focus around the school was intentional.
 
 
Dunoon Group, exploring the school (KKH,2012)
 
As important as these debates around defining the intangible factors of positive development, it felt as though the group was constantly comparing Swedish apples with South African Naartjies.
 
Presentation
The  groups then presented their projects to the panel in an afternoon exercise at the end of the 10 day process.
Each group had 30 minutes to present their work, describing the findings they had uncovered as well as possible solutions for future ‘seeds’ in their contexts.

Group Presentations (KKH, 2012)
 
The Dunoon group arrived at a multi-perspective narrative of their experience with the school. Beginning with a metaphor of the school as a Theater of Action, based on Iain Louw’s writing.
 
Multiperspective map of Inkwenkwezi Secondary (Dunoon Group,2012)  

 

 
Metaphor for analysis – Theatre of Action (Dunoon Group, 2012) 
They expounded on the diverse nature of the school, in that it could host so many different conditions simultaneously – a theft just outside, church groups inside, and spaces of safety for learners, etc.
Analysis of process around school ( Dunoon Group, 2012) 
 
They then described the school through the different perspectives of the various interviewees. Each member playing the role of a fictional character in the ‘theatre of action’ and explaining their story.
 
The group then summarized their process in a possible method for future development – a metaphorical ‘bracelet’ of approach.
 
The bracelet signifying an element that carries intangible value while remaining close to one. This bracelet metaphor could be taken further in allowing it open up and expand into new directions.
 
The Bracelet – A metaphor for future development 

 

Comments on the panel were varied, but carried a general positive tone towards the nature of the work undertaken by the students as a whole.
*
What I discovered after the presentation, was that the Dunoon group was looking to find real possible interventions to be implemented at a later stage. This explained some of their urgency in determining ‘solutions’ for the problems.

In the end I felt the product of all the groups were very general compared to the richness of the exercise, with the true value lying in the process of immersion undertaken by the Swedes into an entirely different context.
 
Naartjies and Apples
A speaker from the Sustainability Institute asked  a question that any researcher in such a field should ask themselves:
 
“What process of un-learning have you undergone to prepare you for this experience?”
 
Perhaps the degree or nature of open mindedness of any professional in contrasting contexts should be constantly questioned. This is true of not just foreign visitors, but applies to local professionals who struggle to open themselves to the alternative realities faced by South Africans in poor underserviced.
 
*
 
From the moment I sat down on the bus with the Swedes, the questions began. Questions which I assumed I had a fairly grounded understanding of. Having spent the better part of my tertiary education investigating these topics I felt that the opinions I had fostered were more appropriate than an outsiders as I had been involved hands on, and had personally dealt with these contexts and associated problems.
 
The truth I feel is that the underlying issues at hand are so interlaced with so many contextual, political and cultural factors that the understanding I had developed is in fact as subjectively based from within as the pre-conceptions the Swedes had from outside.
 
It has solidified my own resolve to stay honest to my personal mandate of explorations of the African urban context, and future studies within my career.
 
The Swedes, trapped by a system of rules (Bennett, 2012) 

References
Jhono Bennett, Author. Photos
KKH, Royal Institute of Arts, Stockholm Sweden. Photos
Dunoon Group, KKH. Photos

 

 

Zanzibar – Documenting the Intangible Heritage Value of Stone Town

Mapping the Open Public Space of 

 

 Stone Town, Zanzibar
 
“…I’m not going-to-cook-it, but I’ll order it from ZANZIBAR!!!”
Jack Black, 2005

Two weeks after completing my masters dissertation I received the news that my fragile leftover self would be able to join the University of Pretoria’s research expedition to Zanzibar‘s Stone Town.

The trip was planned over the December break and would have us in Tanzania for three weeks over Christmas. With no other way to say no and the possibility of an East African adventure I happily agreed to help in the search for:

 ‘…the intangible values that makes Stone Town a World Heritage Site

Background

The trip was funded by the Flemmish Government and the University of Pretoria with support from the Stone Town Conservation and Development Authority and the Department of Urban and Rural Planning.

 
Credits taken from the 2011 report (UP,2011)

Our mandate was to document and identify the intangible elements that gave Stone Town its World Heritage Status, and from the documentation make recommendation how to preserve these elements in the face of current development. 

Intro

Stone Town is located on the South Island of Uguja, known as Zanzibar. Formed as a major port city on the East African trade route, Stone Town stands as an Architecturally social reserve for the Swahili culture.

Location map taken from the 2011 report (UP,2011)

Our first day was spent taking in the intimate spaces that made the street ways and public open spaces of Stone Town.

The UP team exploring Stone Town
A portrait of street life
The major public spaces are found in the beaches
The famous hand carved Zanzibar doors
Jaws Corner, one of the most well known squares
Bicycles, motorbikes and scooters play havoc as one moves through the narrow streets
The accommodation we were given – on the right
Culture within development
 
The peace memorial within Stone Town
Our hosts from the STCDA, leading the tour
Street cleaning
Maintainence being performed on a coral stone buildings
An entrance to a mosque
The Forodahni night market
Private square beyond the street
The romantically placed upper levels of living
what happens when you get lost in Zanzibar taxi trying to get home
 
Various elements of street life in Stone Town
What we discovered was one of the true elements that made Stone Town – the barazza’s.

The Research

The process of documenting the squares was our main task. We worked closely with the departments involved in Stone Town’s cultural preservation and urban development.

Our briefing from the authorities
Our home base was located in the STCDA’s offices. Part of the former palace grounds to the House of Wonders, we were set up in the former library of the East Wing.
Our Zanzi-Offices


Preparing for the documentation process
View from our Zanzi-Office’s library window to the House of Wonders
The inner courtyard of our Zanzi-Office, the STCDA building

In the field

Cover to the 2011 UP Report (UP,2011)

The plan was to work from the University of Minnesota’s outline of the 114 public squares of Stone Town, and document the aspects of each square that made up the intangible heritage values.

Due to time constraints the STCDA identified squares of importance (30) and we strategised as to how to capture the required information.

The team in the field

We settled on a methodology of capturing the nature of the square objectively through a panoramic view, noted elements of ‘importance’ and took several interviews from square users and passer bys.

Methodology taken from the report #1  (UP,2011)
Methodology taken from the report #2  (UP,2011)

We split into several groups made up of STCDA staff members, volunteers from the local University and University of Pretoria students.

My team and myself in the field #1
My team and myself in the field #2
My team and myself in the field #3
My team and myself in the field #4
This information was then painstakingly captured and documented into a graphic report to UNESCO.
The Square register (UP,2011)
Example of captured square #1 (UP,2011)
Example of captured square #1 (UP,2011)
Example of captured square #2 (UP,2011)
Example of captured square #2 (UP,2011)

South Island

During this time, on the first weekend, our hosts treated us to a day trip of the South Island.

The trip took us on a dow sail to a bizzarly remote tidal island made up of only sand and hundreds of faux Italian swimsuit models.
Island of the Italian swim suit

Here we spent the day snorkelling, sun bathing and relaxing. Later, as the tide drew in, the Dow returned to take us home.

Mbweni Ruins

During the week, we sought to escape the hustle of Stone Town. After meeting a group of expat locals, they told us of the Mbweni ruins hotel. Just south of Stone Town, it’s definitely one of Zanzibar’s secret sunset locations.

Presentation

After two weeks of toiling in he streets of Stone Town, we presented our findings to a panel of local authorities and the STCDA in the halls of the palace building.

Impromptu meeting hall
Preparing for the speech
The presentation under way
Standard post research trip group photo

North Island

A very much needed break was taken after the research work. The team hopped onto one of the infamous Dallallas (Basically a taxi on the back of a flatbed truck) to the North Island, headed to Nungwe.
No space in the dallalla after 37 people are squeezed in
A local gathering we came across on the way north

Arriving at the picturesque North Island at Nungwe, we took a water taxi to the Kendwa Rocks resort

Nungwe Resort, paradise?
Water Taxi
And as all tourists in Zanzibar, we took full advantage of the photo oppurtunities in the poetic sun sets of the East African Islands.

Using all the connections we made in Stone Town, we arranged a dow cruise to a snorkelling reef on the far end of the North Island.

Our last afternoon in Zanzibar was spent relaxing on the beach while we watched the North Islanders performing on the beach.
 

A very conscious and restrained effort has been made not to mention in detail the nature of Zanzibar’s ‘Beach Boys’ and the phenomena of the Jungle Safari that takes place all over Sub Saharan Africa… Lets just say apparently if your a pale African, your not really African…

Zanzibar – land of sunsets?
Heading home

Research into foreign context

During the trip, we discussed at length the notion of foreign research’s aiming to quantify intangibles in unfamiliar contexts. Is it fair to claim we understand the value of Stone Town, a 500 year old settlement, in two weeks of research?

While the team felt frustrated at the time frame we were given, it forced us to make quick decisions and realise our limitations. In the end we agreed on an honest depiction of what we saw, captured as objectively and clearly as possible. We aimed to let this exercise set up the framework for further research by documenting the process as much as the findings we identified.

Surely a fresh perspective should add value to any subject? Perhaps, but from our side we felt that our own perspectives were broadened in regard to looking into identifying ‘elements of value’ in our own cultures back at home.

*
Tail piece

The Slovo Park Project – The Story

The Slovo Park Project 
 
The Slovo Park Project began as a small research project in the University of Pretoria’s Housing and Urban Environments module of the Architectural Honours Year. 
 
It quickly gained momentum in its relation to the community it desire to understand the problems faced by South Africa’s Urban Poor. The process culminated in a joint project towards a built goal with not only a physical product but many intangible outcomes that extended beyond simply ‘another community project’. 
 
The streets are your playground in Slovo

 
Introduction 
In 2010 the University of Pretoria Architecture Department, Boukunde, offered its Honors year students the opportunity to work with a small informal community located 10km south of Soweto named Slovo Park.
 
Location of Slovo in relation to Johannesburg City
 
The Research


The student group of Bennett, Casson, Fillipe, Hattingh and Makgabutlane, began the project with a sensitive and holistic research process to try and comprehensively understand the socio-economic context of day to day life in Slovo Park.
 
*This article features snippets from the first draft of the book Slovo Park Project: A process of understanding.
Edited by Claudia Filipe and compiled by Bennett, Casson, Fillipe, Van Wyk 
contributions from Makgabutlane and Hattingh
 
 
This involved several mapping exercises, interviews and detailed sketches of the local housing typologies. 
 
(To be Published, Bennett, Casson, Fillipe, Van Wyk)
 
 
Measuring up the existing
 
Discovering the world inside Slovo
       
(To be Published, Bennett, Casson, Fillipe, Van Wyk)
 
 The residents of Slovo opened their doors to the research team’s questions

(To be Published, Bennett, Casson, Fillipe, Van Wyk)
Playgrounds of Slovo – an electricity pylon
(To be Published, Bennett, Casson, Fillipe, Van Wyk)

  
 


The myriad of faces in Slovo, a traditional healer and a struggling, but happy couple
 
The communities association with the Federation of The Urban Poor (FEDUP) and C.O.R.C was crucial in this process as they were instrumental in arranging and facilitating the research trips as well as bringing forward extremely helpful and willing community members.
 
Mapping Slovo through the community’s eyes
(To be Published, Bennett, Casson, Fillipe, Van Wyk)
(To be Published, Bennett, Casson, Fillipe, Van Wyk)
 
The Individual Proposals


From this process a larger urban framework was proposed that sought to link Slovo to the neighboring community of El Derado Park while developing Slovo from within and maintaining the existing sense of community that the township demonstrated to the students during the research phase. 
 
(To be Published, Bennett, Casson, Fillipe, Van Wyk)

From here the students were required to propose their own individual theoretical projects that they felt would aid in the development of Slovo Park.



The responses were dynamically varied in nature with some designing a processional route from the township to the adjacent cemetery, incorporating the myriad of African cultures and their relationship to death while others focused on development around housing with titles such as ‘Housing Clinics’ in an attempt to capture the humble manner in which the inhabitants throughout south Africa possess the power to build their own houses but require some assistance and knowledge sharing.

 
The Housing Clinic
 
The project was well received by the University and was presented to the Department of Human Settlements at their Indaba in September of 2010 as well as presented to the community themselves during their meeting with government on site.
 
Presenting to the community of Slovo

 

 
Garnering community feedback with an informal presentation to an informal audience
The Built Intervention
 
The university then offered the students the further opportunity to fund and construct a small portion of the proposed design and build it over an allocated period of 8 weeks.
 
(To be Published, Bennett, Casson, Fillipe, Van Wyk)
 
As the designs proposed over the research period were far too large and costly to build in the 8 week period the student group decided that they would pool together the principles from each design and with the addition of a new student member, Van Wyk, would design a small intervention within the earlier proposed urban framework.
 
Planning the build with the local business forum
 
 
The site as we found it. Waiting to be unlocked
(To be Published, Bennett, Casson, Fillipe, Van Wyk)
 
The resultant design was a proposed community center, which fitted into a civic space. This center and civic area would provide the people of Slovo Park a place for the community to meet and determine the future for itself. An existing dilapidated structure that housed the 1994 Election Station was chosen as the team felt that this was where the change began and should be respected so.

 

Proposed Slovo Hall – Community Meeting Center

 

Proposed Civic Center



The center was specifically designed with the larger future in mind and phased into 5 early construction phases and 5 later larger future development phases. 

Community poster to explain the process over the Build Weeks (3m Long)
Early construction phases allowed the functions of the future development phase to still operate on site without the actual infrastructure of the later development.
 
(To be Published, Bennett, Casson, Fillipe, Van Wyk)
 
This scheme was presented to the community for input and design assistance at the future Slovo Hall.
 
First formal presentation to the community
 
 
Presenting the ideas to people of Slovo using models proved to be the most effective way of community
These were some of the steps taken in an attempt to construct an effective space and building in a very short period of time. The team’s motto became “Do the most, with the least”.

(To be Published, Bennett, Casson, Fillipe, Van Wyk)
 
The Construction Process
 
Building began in September and the support received from the community themselves and the local business was overwhelming with each day as varied as the next. Daily more people would join the workforce and get involved in some way.
 
Employing local help in measuring the site
The first site work informally done by help found on site
(To be Published, Bennett, Casson, Fillipe, Van Wyk)
 
Clearing the site with more ‘help’
 
(To be Published, Bennett, Casson, Fillipe, Van Wyk)
The core team getting the work ball rolling
 
Laying the foundation for the center
 
 
 
 
(To be Published, Bennett, Casson, Fillipe, Van Wyk)
As the project gathered momentum the team began to see the relationships with these donators and consultants were going to be the lifeblood of future development in Slovo Park. 
 
(To be Published, Bennett, Casson, Fillipe, Van Wyk)
 
Getting into the swing of work
 
Slowly the site started to take shape
 
 

 

 
(To be Published, Bennett, Casson, Fillipe, Van Wyk)
 
 
 
 
The building team discussing how the future wall will look
 
 
 
Meals, donated by local business’s on site, became a key time to reflect and build bonds between the team
 
 
Flood damage slowed the progress at points
 
 
But behind each setback were some truly inspiring moments
 
 
 
 
(To be Published, Bennett, Casson, Fillipe, Van Wyk)
 
 
 
 
The ladies working on site working on the reeds added a rich dimension of song and colour to the long day    
 
 
 The reeds on site went from being a element of contention to a point pride assembled in some way by all members of the team
 
 
The paving arrived, late, but well received as it drew the elements of the center together
 
 
 

As the final touches began to be applied the energy on site was electrifying as the team neared their goal

The Slovo Park Project – The Beginning

Quarter 4

The final quarter at the University of Pretoria allows for the students to select one project undertaken in the year under: Housing and Urban Environments, Heritage & Cultural Landscapes and Environmental Potential.

The intention is for the student to take the proposal further into a design detailed level of resolution. This project then is detailed through to much more holistic architectural level. This quarter is also supplemented by an elective theory course in order to prepare the student for the Thesis Year ahead.

*

Elective
My choice was the Housing and Urban Environment  project, as I felt there was still much to do and learn in Slovo Park.
The initial research group remained the same with the inclusion of a new member who worked on a different site, but whose design was not site based.
 
The Plan
Our lecturer’s offered us that, due to the level of community interaction, we could build a part of our intervention. But we would have to fund, manage and build the design with the community over the next 6 weeks. This built product would then be assessed on site and would be our final mark.
Getting Started
The first task was to decide which project to go through with, as the other students in the class would take forward their individual designs done over 8 weeks in the previous semester, we as a group would take further a group design, as our individual proposed designs were much more ambitious than we could possibly build with little to no money and in the time frame we had.
Choosing a Site
After we presented our individual work to the community during one of their official meeting we understood that their was no formal meeting spaces and the informal spaces did not work very well.
We chose a site, identified in Urban Analysis framework, as a key point at which the development of Slovo would take place by creating a platform for people to meet and discuss the future of their community.
(Bennett, Casson, Makgabutlane, Fillipe , Hattingh ; 2010)
 
The Project In Brief…
After being contacted by the community of Slovo Park the University of Pretoria with the community have been researching and designing an upgrading and development plan for the settlement over the last few months.

The research team, made up of the community and the students, have identified a small portion of their proposed design in the form of a Community Center that will be built over the next six weeks.

The team has to arrange the funding, build the project and manage the entire process.

A comprehensive information pack is available on the Slovo Park Project Website

The Built Proposal
The design put together was infused with the principles learned during the individual proposals and seeks to provide the first step towards a much larger development.
This pilot intervention will lay the framework for the future development by uniting the community under a common goal and using that energy to project the project past our interaction with the community and make the design a true bottom up initiative.
Each built piece is intended to provide the necessary infrastructure for the community to use as its intended function now, without compromising its adaptability in future:

e.g.

The design of the paving with the intentional space for future columns to build the ‘future blue print’ for the community
or
the low seating walls for the mobile clinic waiting area will become the foundation walls for the proposed clinic in the future phase e.t.c

Built Phase & Future Phase.
The Built Phase will be the re-refurbishment of the existing community structure over the 6 weeks, this will set up the construction sequence for a much larger project development which we designed with the community.

The Future Phase is designed on a much larger scale and  requires more infrastructure and time than we have, but is outlined by the Built Phase
Each phase is incrementally designed so at each point the design can be critically reviewed by the community themselves to ascertain the most effective path towards the built product.’

Diagram of Building Phases – Presented to Community

Current State
The Slovo Park Project Team have begun site works, and are constantly seeking more funding and donations.
Below is the current program for the community building team.

The Slovo Park Project team has received overwhelming support from the community and is busy with site works at the moment, and moving swiftly along the scheduled program.

Maputo – Documenting the Baixa

Maputo – Documenting the Baixa
 
 
Down town Maputo, known as the Baixa, is the oldest part of this city in decay. Colonised by the Portuguese  in the early part of the 18th century, the city was at one stage planned to be the new capital of Portugal before the war of Independence.

This complex layering of history and site was the site of a University of Pretoria research study in July 2010.
The research project had 20 students from the University of Pretoria documenting the historical buildings of the Baixa area using a contemporary technique known as the ‘Quick Scan’. This method is a fast tracked survey technique to quickly assess the economical and historic nature of an area to communicate to governmental powers possible solutions to maintaining the historical fabric of heritage areas while planning an economical strategy around it.

The first few days were spent getting to know the area as tourists before the real mapping began.
 
 
 
The Market
 
The market was our first experience of the historical nature of Maputo being actively and sustainably used and made viable.
 
 
The Monument to the Great War, erected as a memorial to the Portuguese that died during World War I.
The Maputo Rail Station
 
The Netherlands Embassy

We were fortunate to get a chance to visit the Dutch Embassy during trip. Here we were joined by a wild haired passenger known as Antoni Faulkers.

 
  

 

 
 
 
Procurando Pancho…
 
No Architectural trip to Maputo would be complete without a good deal of Pancho Guedes visitiation.
Smiling Lion
 
 
*
This entry serves more as a photo journal of the architectural elements of the trip, and is soon to be updated with the analytical findings from the group.