Thursday, May 03, 2007

My Reply

My Reply:

I agree with you 100%. It is the prerogative of every year to do as
they see fit, and from that point of view, all I can do is grieve from
the sidelines. As a member of the Wits Architecture School and one of
the partners who created the cube, I feel that criticism needs to be
voiced at the seemingly irrational decision to paint the cube in
anything but blackboard paint. I feel what has been done in the second
year studio is an act of interior decorating, and not architecture. On
the contrary, no new architectural value has been added to the studio,
in fact, as the blackboard was an defining element of spacial use and
not a mere box, by painting the cube that revolting colour, they have
taken a step backwards in the progression of the studio space. Now the
blackboard cube has been turned into another boring room flanked by
two other boring rooms on its left and right. Rather than investing
money into paint, it would have been a more beneficial exercise to
investigate how to fix the three holes that were punched in during the
end of year vac. From that point of view, the students involved would
have gained practical building knowledge rather than a new pin up

I know that my article comes over in a brutal manner, but if this sort
logic and sensitivity that is expressed at such a young and crucial
stage of an architect's development; is it any wonder that we have the
problem of theme based architecture infecting our society? Tuscan,
Bali, Spanish are all insensitive forms of architecture that do not
address the South African context. On a basic level, the students
behind the repainting of the cube, did not effectively address the
context of the second year studio and analyse the benefit of a simple
black wall that may be drawn upon. I feel that these students are as
guilty of the dilapidation of the South African landscape as much as
the architect that is complacent in money-driven Tuscan architecture.

Despite the fact that we are so young in our careers, I feel that we
as students must stop accepting bad architecture in our society. We
are going to be the ones fixing up the mistakes that are being made
today in the South African context. It genuinely worries me that the
issues at hand are not something that are found in the many copy-paste
developments mutating throughout Joburg, but rather manifesting itself
within our very studios

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