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Congress Round Three

October 5, 2009 Leave a comment

So what more can I say..

Apart from the odd buss tour, most of our time was spent either in the most insane lectures, or partying, there was no in-between really..

One thing that really struck me though from the other universities is just how many pretty girls study architecture. I would never have believed it if I hadn’t seen it for myself, but its true! I think I need to move to PE/Cape Town/Pretoria!

Enough of that.

We had most of our lectures in this building:

Which is around a massive green quad on the Tuks main campus.

I would never have thought it, but Pretoria is actually a whole lot greener than Durban, and its not just the Jacaranda trees..

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The architecture building (Boukunde) is also super cool. A whole lot more inspiring than the mass of yellow brick work and cavernous dungeon lecture halls that is the Denis Shepston Building at Howard College.

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Mornings were a somber affair of hung over faces and what can only be described as warm chicory beverages.

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Nothing however, could prepare us for the final night: the Des Baker competition.

Held at Freedom Park, and sponsored by the very deep pockets of Murray & Roberts, this was one hell of an event! The competition is held every year and submissions are invited from the third year classes of each school. It’s one of the most prestigious student competitions of the year, and a matter of major rivalries. This year however, it would not be UCT, TUT, TUKS, UJ, NNMU or any of the other universities who took the prize, and as tention built, the winners were finaly anounced..

Michael Brunner and Helen Reeves of the University of KwaZulu Natal.

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Hmmm.. Part two

October 3, 2009 Leave a comment

I’m really struggling to resolve some plans for Monday right now, so I’m procrastinating pretty badly. Hence a little bloggage.

I’m really starting to miss PTA now. I don’t know why. I suppose after spending a week in such a creative, fun, different environment with loads of awesome people, coming back to the same old deadline orientated, design production line that varsity seems to be right now just feels like Sinai.

I just want to feel like I’m doing something worth while.

I think about the kind of things the people who presented papers last week are doing: social housing in Accra, creative arts centers in Kinshasa, Urban Agriculture projects in Johannesburg and do-it-yourself development mixed use buildings in Amsterdam. Architects and anthropologists Heinrich Wolff, Dick Van Gameren, Joe Addo, Liz Ogbu, Hein de Haan, etc, etc, just blew my mind. This is what architecture has to contribute to society! Not green roofed mansions one on top of each other in Mount Edgecomb on Zimbali, or art galleries on Florida Road.

Or maybe I’m just in a bit of an idealistic mood right now.

Well here’s a taste of what I’m rambling on about. A Day Laborer Station presented to us by Liz Ogbu of Public Architecture, the first of these structure is to be build sometime in the new year. (More info here)

model1

Rendering3Exhibition4

The Day Labor Station, a project of Public Architecture, is a simple, flexible structure that can be deployed at these informal day labor locations. It is a sustainably-designed project that utilizes green materials and strategies and exists primarily, if not completely, off-the-grid. It provides a sheltered space for the day laborers to wait for work as well as greater community amenities and resources. Our design is a responsive one, addressing the needs and desires of the day laborers themselves, as our clients. As such, the structure will be flexible enough to serve in various capacities, including as a meeting space or classroom.

Design1Design2Design3

Pretty awesome really. Things like this really make me want to be an architect.. But right now I don’t know if I can be bothered. I think I just need a break. Maybe I’m just missing some people/someone.

Sigh.

On another note: I’ve been listening to the new Paramore album this week. Pretty awesome stuff actually. Give it a listen..

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Congress 2009

October 2, 2009 Leave a comment

Its been quite a while since I posted anything here.. I’ve been pretty busy lately, so I haven’t really had time for stuff like this.. But I thought I’d catch up a bit..

So Yeah.

Catching up

I thought I’d break this little hiatus with a quick post to share some photos from my trip to Pretoria last week.

What a rad week!

Basically, all the schools of architecture from around the country get together in the same city for a few days once a year. In the glorious name of architecture we attend guest lectures, meet new people, sleep in tents and party pretty hard! =P

This year was held in Pretoria, which I must admit, I was pretty surprised to discover is actually a REALLY beautiful city. I had always assumed it was pretty similar to Jo’burg, but its not at all. Definitely a place I’d love to visit again.

Road to PTA

We arrived a day early and explored Pretoria. I went out that night to a little restaurant/bar/club effort that I can’t remember the name of, and watched a couple bands play. Good start. The next day we did the typical tourist thing from a couple of really cool, low rider busses..

Busses

We drove around the city, and eventually stopped off at the union buildings which are so beautiful. I love being a tourist!

Union Building

Union Gardens

Their University is really pretty, kind of puts mine to shame.

Tuks

But more about that next time..

Spam!

August 22, 2009 1 comment

So this has got to be the hight of spam. Seriously.

Spam

I just got this now. Basically what you’re seeing here is a BLANK system generated message sent to me by my University. Yes. Blank. Campus notices are generally useless anyway, but when you have nothing AT ALL to say is it really necessary to sent out a message?

Come now.

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A Fire Inside

August 18, 2009 Leave a comment

For the past week and half at Varsity my class has been without a studeo. There was a fire sometime over the long weekend. A fire. The whole place was sealed off, and we were told we weren’t allowed in because RMS (campus security) were “investigating”, and that the studio should be operational again in 2 or 3 days. Yeah. Sounds promising.

So yesterday afternoon we were finally allowed in. Here’s the extent of the fire damage.

Fire

Made for some pretty awesome photos! But I’m sure we can rule out foul-play.

Fire 2

Really? A week and a half to tell us it was an electrical fire caused by Shepstone’s crappy old wiring? (See it hanging there above the door?) Yeah. Good job guys. You can go back to operating the boom-gate now.

Design Project Pressure

June 10, 2009 1 comment

I presented my final design portfolio today at varsity..

Basically its a huge relief, because for the past couple months I’ve been averaging on 3 or 4 hours of sleep a day trying to get everything done, under huge pressure from my lecturers.. Some things have been pretty stressful.

The major problem, and the reason for the almost abusive treatment by my tutors, is that UKZN, along with a whole lot of other universities around the country are in serious danger of losing there accreditation. What this means is that, they would be able to provide a degree, but that degree wouldn’t be worth anything, since professional architects must not only be qualified, but they must also be accredited by the relevant authorities to practice.

This has created something of an uncomfortable (to put it lightly) atmosphere for the last six months or so, and put a lot of pressure on the staff to jack up the work.. Which puts ALL the pressure on us!

Well anyway.. The presentation didn’t go too well, but not I just need to try and forget about it, wait for my results to come out and pray HARD!

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