Top international architects heading to the Mother City

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David Adjaye David Adjaye

Six international architects renowned for their cutting edge thinking, including David Adjaye (UK), Atelier Bow-Wow founders Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kajima (Japan) and Tatiana Bilbao (Mexico), will join a host of innovative South African architects as speakers at the Architecture ZA 2012 Biennial Festival, to be held at Cape Town City Hall, from Thursday, 13 September to Sunday, 16 September.

In partnership with the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA), Cape Town Institute for Architecture and associate sponsors PPC, the Cement and Concrete Institute, Lafarge and Paragon Architects, the festival is a veritable think-tank of international and local speakers, that also includes debates, master classes, exhibitions, a film festival and city tours.  Architecture ZA 2012 follows on the success of the 2010 Biennial, which took place in Newtown and attracted more than a thousand delegates.

‘Rescripting Architecture’ is the theme for this year’s event and the festival runs in conjunction with the annual Student Architect Festival, and also serves as the setting for the announcement of the winners of the biennial SAIA Corobrick Awards for Merit and Excellence, the ‘Oscars’ of the architecture industry.  In addition, the festival kicks off the official Creative Week Cape Town and is an important event leading up to World Design Capital 2014.

The festival’s theme is a considered response to challenging times and a world increasingly in flux, with rapidly changing global economies, environments, and political situations, according to Festival Convener Daniel van der Merwe.

“In the past, architecture has played an important role in shaping our landscape, but now, with the world population shifting to cities and increased pressure on resources, we need to start thinking of architecture as a provocateur of change,” says van der Merwe. “More than ever, architects must play their role in creating better environments for the future. This festival, with its collaboration of architectural and cultural minds, is not about creating pretty things, but is about asking serious questions and pondering our collective future.”

Top Order

Guest international speakers are all innovative thinkers as well as great architectural achievers. UK-based, Tanzanian-born David Adjaye is founder and Principal Architect of Adjaye Associates, a firm which has received worldwide attention for work ranging in scale from private houses, cafes and bars and temporary pavilions to major arts centres, civic buildings and master plans in Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. His practice was recently commissioned to design the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American Culture and History in Washington D.C.  Awarded the OBE for Services in Architecture in 2007, Adjaye also created a photographic survey of urban Africa which toured globally, based on his personal exploration of all the major African cities.

Dynamic Tokyo-based architecture firm Atelier Bow-Wow will be represented by founders Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kajima, whose research explores the urban conditions of micro, ad hoc architecture. With a practice in Mexico City, Tatiana Bilbao recently led and designed the Master Plan for Ruta del Peregrino, a 117km long pilgrims’ route.

Other international speakers are Rahul Mehrotra, an Indian architect and urban designer who is currently leading the Master Plan for the Taj Mahal and its surroundings, and UK architect and filmmaker Kibwe Tavares of Factory Fifteen, a creative studio specializing in animation, film and architectural representation.

Some of the speakers representing South Africa are Ora Joubert, the multiple award-winning architect and convener of a seminal reference book on architecture in democratic South Africa, Andrew Makin of Durban-based architectural firm OMM Design Workshop and Thorsten Deckler, co-founder of 26’10 Architects in Johannesburg, which has recently been chosen as the best emerging practise from South Africa in the 2012 biannual round-up of top emerging practises in the world.

Festival features

A festival highlight will be the two-day international design masterclass, A Piece of the City, led by acclaimed architects Tatiana Bilbao (Mexico), Ora Joubert (South Africa), Andrew Makin (South Africa) and Elena Rocchi (Spain), on Monday, 17 September and Tuesday, 18 September .  Conducted in the historical quarters of Cape Town’s inner city through guided tours with a temporary residential design studio as a base, the class will revolve around the larger context of the city and sites chosen as the focus of a design intervention


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