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The social conscience of our cities

Online since 2.11.2015 • Filed under Advertorial • From Issue 16 page(s) 19-20
The social conscience of our cities

This year’s Architecture ZA (AZA) festival was themed ‘Architecture: The Social Conscience of Our Cities’. The event followed a series of highly successful AZA Festivals, the first of which was held in September 2010 in Newtown, Johannesburg. This was followed with equally acclaimed festivals in 2012 and 2013 in Cape Town, in partnership with the City of Cape Town and The World Design Capital CT 2014.

Architecture is the frame in which people experience themselves, their lives and relationships, making this discipline’s role of uplifting society and building cultures more vital than ever before in South Africa. Architecture ZA 2015 (AZA2015), proudly hosted by the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA), took place at The Sheds@1Fox in Johannesburg from September 24 to 26, and brought students, entrepreneurs, international and national thought leaders together to share ideas, collaborate and debate about the future of our cities. Over 1 000 passionate attendees collaborated at AZA2015, discussing the astronomical responsibility of the industry – social conscious design. The conference and festival took place in the heart of Johannesburg where architecture and design have played an instrumental part in shaping the city to what it is today – a place where people can live, work and play. Daniel van der Merwe, president of the Gauteng Institute for Architecture (GIfA), architect at PPC and AZA2015 chair, spoke about Johannesburg and how the city has been transformed: ‘There are a lot of old buildings that have been transformed into new spaces to aid in social responsibility. Urbanisation is well

underway and, as we start living closer and closer to each other, we need to redefine our concept of “space” to support future generations’ needs.’ The conference welcomed international speakers, including Alfredo Brillembourg, co-founder of Urban-Think Tank (U-TT) in Caracas, Venezuela; and economist, Arturo Brillembourg. The brothers spoke about their South African project, Empower Shack, and the gap between a

shack and low-income housing. The Empower Shack project, in collaboration with Ikhayalami, seeks to upgrade

informal settlements with a distinctive double-story shack design.

A brick-load of sustainability

Peter Kidger, director of marketing at Corobrik, took attendees through the contribution of clay bricks for healthy, energy-efficient and sustainable built environments. He also spoke about clay bricks’ limitless flexibility in design to create inspiring form, rich in colour and texture, with great functionality. Another riveting speaker was Daniel Silke, political analyst and futurist. He emphasised the importance of the carbon growth issue and that cities have to address it, especially emerging cities. Silke believes that smaller units of living will be the future city for some parts of the world, as well as buildings that go vertical. He mentioned that collaboration in spaces will also be a trend in urban areas. Silke concluded by highlighting the seven core attributes of cities – streets, water, sanitation, policing, efficient administration, and issues of equity and sustainability. AZA2015 provided a plethora of activities, including the screening of the architectural documentary, THE COMPETITION, as well as engaging Johannesburg tours. ‘It is vital that architects and designers convene to discuss the future of our cities,’ van der Merwe commented. ‘This year’s AZA conference did just that, bringing key role players together to discuss best

practices and share ideas about steps that need to be taken for socially-equipped spaces.’ AZA2015 is proudly hosted by the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA), co-hosted by City of Johannesburg, and sponsored by PPC Ltd and Corobrik. For more information about AZA2015, visit AZA2015 is also on Facebook,

AZA2015 affiliated partners include: The Gauteng Institute for Architecture (GIfA), the University of Johannesburg (UJ), School of Architecture & Planning WITS University, Free State Institute of Architects (FSIA), South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP), the Institute for Landscape Architecture in South Africa (ILASA), ClayBrick, the Southern African Association for Energy Efficiency (SAEE), the Southern African Wood, Laminate & Flooring Association (SAWLFA), Solid Green Consulting, Property Valuers Profession (PVP), and the South African Institute of the Interior Design Professions (IID).



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Issue 16

Issue 16

November 2015

This article was featured on page 19-20 of
To Build Magazine Issue 16.

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