Teaching + Learning spaces

I have gained experience in architecture and urban design largely by working on and by designing projects located on the Cape Flats during the Dignified Places Programme, later called the Uluntu Plaza (people’s place) Programme and the Public Space Programme.

Its changing identity reflects how its proponents struggled to sustain the idea and were impacted on during turbulent times, spanning institutional, political and financial influences. The short-term success of projects and programmes often prove unsustainable and very complex in the longer term.

My years of experience with the Violence Prevention through Upgrading (VPUU) Programme and the upgrading of informal settlements range from researching, initiating and implementing infrastructure improvements and later managing a social crime reduction programme.

I have gained substantial experience of architecture in development during multidisciplinary teamwork in the context of partnering with NGOs and local government. Architecture and infrastructure project implementation is best rooted in community development practice.

Now more than ever, local institutional contexts focus on strengthening practices that improve economic opportunities and methodologies that include the longer-term maintenance of buildings and improvements of public spaces.

It has always been easy to fund and to build capital projects; however, ensuring that projects are owned, inhabited and cared for by funders and users is the hard part of the project cycle.

The goals are sustainability and enhancing the quality of life of inhabitants in these improved urban environments. How this relates to the teaching of architecture in local schools is framed by Julian Cooke: “while the approach (to sustainability) is generally largely focused on technology, most local schools pay a lot of attention to urban place-making as a core idea of sustainability”.

It aligns with Cooke’s comments on the National Upgrading Support Programme (NUSP) and Informal Settlement Upgrading in the March/April 2014 Architecture SA:

“As the Nov/Dec 2013 issue of Architecture SA showed, there are a few architects and urban designers who are already involved in these kinds of projects and in multi-disciplinary practice. It also showed that architectural schools were beginning to introduce courses which engage with this area of design. However, if one takes a hard look at the scale of the housing problem and at the importance of its being handled positively for South Africa’s stability and prosperity, one must ask the question of whether enough is being done.”

I have taught and tutored first-year and second-year architecture students at UCT.

The undergraduate curriculum broadly allows students to grapple with contextual issues by expanding the horizon of architecture from detailed design considerations to broader social and urbanisation or urban design challenges.

Teaching posts

Since 1997 Teaching undergraduate students

2014 and 2015 Studiowork teaching assistant for first-year students (a class of 80)

April to May, 2009 Assisted at the School of Architecture and Planning, UCT. Part-time convening lecturer at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) on a competition entry. Assisted in the Housing and Urban Design Studiowork module for second-year students and in the first-year technology module.

2005 and 2006 Full-time teaching post at Design Time School of Design, Observatory. Convened the second-year studio. Convened first-year and second-year year Technology and Building Construction Design coursework. Strategic planning practice, curriculum development and administrative functions as primary staff member to second-year interior design students (25 students per class).

1997 to 2009 School of Architecture and Planning, UCT. Part-time Studiowork assistant, predominantly in the Housing and Urban Design Studiowork module; teaching Graphics and Communication coursework to first-years and second-years for two years; assisted in Technology and Building Construction coursework.