“The 495 CITY”
In a harsh context like Johannesburg, one of the world’s most unequal cities, design has to work extra hard for people and their environment. In the #AZA18 masterclass entitled “The 495 CITY”, 26’10 South Architects with guest speaker Sameep Padora will explore and expand the architects’ role in how cities develop through the provision of affordable housing. The programme is rooted in the current reality of Johannesburg and its innerring suburbs in which low land prices, combined with an increasing demand for affordable accommodation, is making possible the re-building of large parts of these neighbourhoods. The 495m² plot is proposed as a basic building block to imagine the city to come – a city that is walkable, liveable, affordable and safe.
Pretoria Inner City Workshop
Re-imagining the Inner City: Exhibition, Seminar Session, Walking Tour and Master Class
Date: 5 May 2018
Submitted by: Marianne de Klerk
Submitted to: AZA18 Conference Planners
Marianne de Klerk Architects and Urban Designers and Holm Jordaan will host four events at the AZA18 We the City conference exploring the relationship between modernist architectural and urban heritage, the legacy of apartheid planning, inner city revitalisation and public space. The events are part of a research project funded by the Dutch Shared Heritage Programme and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Pretoria Inner City: Formation and Transformation
The exhibition will explore the complex layered history of the inner city of Pretoria through the evolution of three iconic modernist city blocks along the Church Street spine. A complex narrative woven from a century-long densification of 19th century pastoral fabric; incisions and scars left by large infrastructural projects and forced removals; an increasingly mono-functional and monumental CBD in the latter half of the 20th century; and finally, the dramatic shift in demographics and use post 1994 together create a complex palimpsest to consider future possibilities.
The exhibition will be centred on a 1:500 3D printed interactive city model comprising 24 city blocks. The area is delineated by Schubart Street in the west, Johannes Ramokhoase Street in the north, Sisulu Street in the east and Francis Baard Street in the south with church Square at the centre.
The evolution, typology and public spaces of three pivotal 20th century modernist super blocks that have potential to be urban catalysts will be explored:
Civic Infrastructure: The TPA block fronting on the south-west corner of Church Square housing the iconic former Transvaal Provincial Administration building, the Capitol Theatre and the three historic West Façade buildings.
Utopian Housing: A block symbolically linking Church Square and Marabastad housing the partially ruined concrete shell of the Schubart Park housing estate.
Cultural Infrastructure: The block housing the State Theatre, the ABSA building and the recently Women’s Living Heritage monument framing Lillian Ngoyi Square.
A series of analytical drawings will explore connectivity along the Helen Joseph/ Church Street mall and north-south cross connections via the city’s arcades and underutilised public spaces. Further explorations of the heritage and development potential of the area will be done by architects, urban designers, artists and photographers with modelled urban design visions by architecture students of the University of Pretoria.
Archival drawings from the Department of Architecture of the University of Pretoria will be exhibited to contextualise narratives the Modernist city together with illustrations of visionary projects that impacted the evolving structure of CBD.
The exhibition will be a stand-alone event but will also support a master class on Saturday 5 June and serve as platform to facilitate and stimulate discussions during the seminar session around possible futures of the inner city.
Seminar Session: Modernist Heritage and Reimagining of the Inner City
Date: 4 May
Timeframe: 9:00 – 11:15 (2 hours 15 mins)
Session 1: 1 Hour
Session 2: 55 mins
The heritage seminar stream will consist of two sessions where the legacy of the modernist city and strategies for its revitalisation will be explored by a panel of international and local architects, urban designers, heritage practitioners and academics. Short presentations and discussions of will focus on contested heritage, strategies to reimagine the modernist city, its changing functions and the role public space and soft infrastructure.
Chair of Session: Prof. Hannah le Roux, Department of Architecture, University of the Witwatersrand
Prof. Maria-Fernanda Derntl, University of Brasilia
Prof. Derntl’s keynote speech on 3 May will set the stage for the panel discussing considering the impact of modern movement using the Brazilian experience.
Marianne de Klerk, architect and urban designer, will look at the evolution of Pretoria as a landscape of power balancing the relationship between landscape and urban; ideology and pragmatism.
Dr. Kees Somer, TU Delft, will discuss Pretoria’s urban structure as a modernist functional city and consider its adaptability to function as a modern African city.
Prof. Marieke Kuipers, TU Delft, will consider the city’s contested heritage considering examples such as Berlin.
Dr. Emmaneul Nkambule, TUT Topic to be confirmed.
Gerrit Jordaan, architect and urban designer, will look to future urban design strategies for the modern African city.
Tanzeem Razak, architect, will give her interpretation of the experience of the contemporary inner city.
A walking tour will take place on the afternoon of 4 May, starting at Café Riche on Church Square. Key modernist and historic buildings, public spaces and arcades will be visited in preparation for the master class on Saturday morning.
A master class will take place on the morning of May 5th further exploring the themes of the evolution, heritage and revitalisation of the inner city.
The class will consider how to accommodate complex layers of history and contested heritage whilst formulating strategies to design for and live in the African contemporary city. Focus will be on modernist heritage and contemporary use, considering three iconic modernist blocks connected by the Church Street mall, public spaces and arcades.
The blocks are as follows
Civic Infrastructure: The TPA block fronting on the south-west corner of Church Square bounded by Bosman Street, WF Knomo Street, Parliament Street and Pretorius Street. The block has a mix of cultural commercial and office uses.
Utopian Housing: A site housing the remnants of an ambitious housing project constructed in the 1970s located the west of Church Square. The block is bounded by Kgosi Mampuru Street in the west, Johannes Ramokhoase Street in the north, Schubart Street in the east and Madiba Street in the south.
Cultural Infrastructure: The civic block housing the State Theatre, the ABSA building and the recently completed Women’s Living Heritage monument museum framing Lillian Ngoyi Square. The block is bounded by Lillian Ngoyi Street in the west, Church Street to the north, Sisulu Street to the east and Pretorius Street to the South.
The workshop will utilise an interactive 3D printed city model with interchangeable blocks and modular components to accommodate design explorations and discussions of the 3 key sites.
The goal of the master class is not to create a definitive urban vision but to have discussions via exploratory design exercises. Questions around the role of key sites in the contemporary city, their architectural meaning and legacy, their function in city, their potential to act as catalysts for renewal, their capacity to frame and accommodate inclusive public space and their resiliency will be explored.
The master Class will be led by Marianne de Klerk and Gerrit Jordaan with
Prof. Maria Fernanda Dentl, Prof Marieke Kuipers, and Dr. Kees Somer participating.