Vertical Village

The Rotterdam-based architecture firm MVRDV – well-known for their radical architectural designs in which the built result closely resembles their bold architectural diagrams – has unveiled an equally daring furniture range during this year’s Milan Design Week, inspired by their research into densification of Asia’s rising megacities.


The ARCHI doodle…..

Forget the google doodle….herewith the ARCHI DOODLE!

After the last KZNIA Regional Committee Meeting where members were invited to the final 2012 KZNIA Regional Committee meeting (sponsored by Safintra Roofing) – I found these “modified” left-over invites 🙂 the “artist” wishes to remain anonymous……

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Paper planes…..

On Friday 2 November 2012, the KZNIA Regional Committee met for the penultimate meeting of 2012. Contrary to popular belief they don’t meet to play with paper planes… the pictures might suggest 🙂

The paper plane shot was in fact a publicity picture for the Final Regional Committee Meeting of 2012, which will be sponsored by Safintra Roofing. We thank Safintra Roofing for their on-going support of the KZNIA.

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A full house

Today we have a room-full of young architects learning the ins and outs of contracts and legislation in preparation for the upcoming SACAP Professional Practice Exam. Bruce Clark, KZNIA’s Professional Practice Committee Chair, is presenting the course while Ken Howie, one of our “Three Wise Men” adds to the discussion. I thus expect our future architects to be bullet-proof when it comes to conducting their architectural business. In the meantime we wish them well for March 15th!

3 Glass Gems

Apart from the exposure to particular experts who I would never normally meet, the chance to mingle with peers over beautifully displayed excess of food is another reason I enjoy a good conference! Its the idea of “learn something” and “live a little” conveniently combined.

The recent SAGGA conference at the Elangeni in Durban was no exception. We were treated to some inspiring architectural innovators, some impressively knowledgeable technical experts and some excellent catering.

There was a lot to take in, so here are a few gems I picked out:

1.       It can get very technical

The SA glass industry has become a lot more sophisticated in the last year as have the building codes, which means that specifying glazing is no mean feat. Knowing a little about everything, and knowing where to go for the right advice is key.

2.       The value of collaboration and communication

It goes beyond just specifications: glazing engineers can be useful too. They can even become your favourites on the project team, as confessed by Derick Henstra of DHK.

I asked Amandus Sattler, how he handled an office of 60 people and still managed to produce such conceptually and technically thorough buildings, such as the Herz Jesu Kirche in Munich.  Would it not just be easier to keep it small and hands-on, ala Glen Murcutt? Not at all, he replied. His experience of ideas is that they are always more useful when shared.

Sharing ideas and vision is not easy and the ability of an architect to communicate their concept and vision to their team is vital, as is the team’s ability to communicate back. Sattler must be a very articulate man, when he speaks German that is. He had us chucking as he mentally wrestled the English language.

Tower Docks, Mestre, Italy by DHK: Any glazing specialist who can handle this deserves kudos!

DHK’s Laguna Palace Hotel, Italy: With 13 000m2 of roof area, of which 8000m2 is glass, this is one of the largest in Europe.

Boxes: the outer one glazed.

Front doors open to include and welcome those on the piazza.

Interior light is filtered through timber panels.

Above: Herz Jesu Kirche: Conceptually thorough on so many levels. For more images click here

3.       Use the recession to your advantage

Upskilling, entering competitions and playing around are useful ways to spend your time when work is slow. Amandus Sattler would not have built the Herz Jesu Kirche had he not taken the chance with a competition.

Henning Rasmuss, of Paragon Architects, also stressed the importance of having the time to be playful in projects: trying new things, putting ideas out there, and learning new computer rendering skills.

Paragon Architects: Alice Lane Towers

Paragon Architects: Jupiter Drawing Room offices

Above: Playful buildings in Joburg by Paragon Architects

After a full day of presentations there were definitely many reasons to be optimistic about the future of glass in SA. I dare say the glass is clearly half full!

Excuse my corniness!


For more on the conference speakers click here.

For some links to glazing legislation, as well as aluminium and other products click here.

For some free glass-calculation tools recommended by speaker Andreas Landman of PFG [ click here ].

*SAGGA stands for South African Glass and Glazing Association

It begins with you

Rosalie Manning & Bharti Vithal (KZNIA Vice President)

Rosalie Manning, SAIA’s transformation consultant, paid the KZNIA a visit on Friday 29th July, to present SAIA’s strategy for transformation as well as touch on a few other issues affecting this complex challenge to our country.

We filled up most of the chairs in the room as she walked us through the slides, with pockets of discussion happening at intervals. On the whole she was optimistic, and I tend to agree: its a big task but there are ways to make something of it.

Some of the issues that came up (among others) were:

  • Standards of education in schools: with many learners getting a below-average education, the chances of them coping with an architectural degree, let alone making it through postgrad, are slim.
  • Some ways to get involved in building school-learners’ competencies: giving time to schools to teach chess, annual competitions around these competencies & school holiday programs around architecture.
  • SETA: the profession has a role to play here and various options exist.
  • The role of SACAP and SAIA in this landscape
  • Politically, if we are to act as a body we need a gateway: speaking to the right people in government. A lack of support from SACAP does not help here, and we will need to find ways around this.
  • There were also some interesting fact sheets on the SA demographics and the architectural professions’ demographics and the disparity between them (I will try get hold of these and post later).
  • The current recession plays a role in the profession’s activity in society and this must also not be underestimated.

If we all always assume its someone else’s responsibility then nothing will change.

Much to think about… what are YOUR thoughts? Feel free to comment below.


Travelogues this past Thursday evening was so chilled, I didn’t even take any photos. This is also because I was not expecting so many people to pitch, and ended up running around a bit. Can’t complain though, that’s what I’m here for (and maybe better planning).

We had a good lot of people turn up, and they all left with itchy feet I am sure.

For those of you who missed it, here is a taste:

Kevin Lloyd showed us around South America, some interestingly-named places such as Atacama, Patagonia, Easter Island, and introduced us to pisco sours with fragments of iceberg to garnish.

Stefan Mostert waxed lyrical about his bike travels. I thought the red squiggly line on the map looked rather like a vein of blood and pain.  Though he was obviously feeling quite the opposite.

Andrew Makin then showed us the gradients of his cycling trip through the Himalayas. Similarly this image brought thoughts of sharp knives to mind, but maybe thats just me? The high-altitude landscapes and villages were breathtaking.

Chantal Pieterse and Martin Kluger went to Vietnam (more humid than Durban, yes it’s possible), with a toddler, and still managed to get to grips with the architectural goings-on at the coast. Kudos!

Marc Oswell did indeed put his camera in a ziplock bag to go swimming in a Swiss lake. The result was that we all got to check out Corb’s parents’ house. And more, but that’s all we have time for in today’s blog post.

Good times! Thanks to all who contributed.