From Small to Extra Large, architecture across scales

ArchitectureZA 2016 Conference – 01 – 03 September 2016 at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

In its sixth year, the AZA16 conference and festival will focus on best practices, novel ideas and developments in the architecture profession. Thought-leaders and visionaries in this space will delve into the challenge of ‘SCALE’ at this year’s conference, set to take place from 01 to 03 September 2016 at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg. Co-hosted by Wits and the South African Institute of Architecture (SAIA), the conference reflects recent critical thinking on the role of architecture and includes masterclasses, workshops and presentations to address all points of scale.

Mueller will be one of the many well-travelled and experimental speakers at the conference. Her organisation, nav_s baerbel mueller, focuses on navigations in the field of architecture and urban research within diverse cultural contexts. Since 2002, Mueller and her students have realised hand built projects in Ghana and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and in 2015 she received the Ars Docendi State Award for excellence in teaching.

“Scaling in architecture is very important. It relates to how spaces are perceived and utilized by the individual, their community and the overall culture. Everyone who experiences it, is directly influenced by the space; we are moving towards more inclusive cities where one space has multiple uses, from private, to business and even leisure – making the architectural profession pivotal when shaping and building cities,” says Daniel van der Merwe, Architect at PPC. Against a context of cities and landscapes that excluded human scales, and vast opportunities to intervene in such spaces, the AZA16 conference is an opportunity for architects to share in the rescaling of South Africa’s cities.

Dale Sinclair, Director of Technical Practice at AECOM, the CIC BIM champion and the RIBA’s Ambassador for Collaboration and Technical Advancement, will also set the stage at AZA16. He authored the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 and supporting publications including, ‘Assembling a Collaborative Project Team’. Sinclair will talk about digital changes and how they impact the role of architects. Radically different design, construction processes and the challenges architects face will be highlighted extensively.

Allan David Schwarz, Ashoka Fellow, journeyman, craftsman, master architect, artist and environmentalist, will give insight on the circular design process that links beautifully crafted objects to saving the forests of Mozambique and reintroducing nutitious edible plants. Joachim Declerck of Architecture Workroom, Brussels, will provide an example of an agency run by architects that takes on many big questions around urban decay and reuse, housing and even finance through the media of strategic design. Matilde Cassani will show projects between the scale of art and architecture that consider how individual sacred spaces add quality to the city today.

In addition to the many insightful speakers, an exhilarating masterclass on student housing precedes the conference from 28 to 31 August 2016. Renowned architect based in the United States of America (USA), Stanley Saitowitz will be giving a keynote address on ‘Architecture and the City’ and will discuss the vast shortage of appropriate and affordable housing for university students. Converting low value properties, leftover land, industrial structures and vacant spaces, could be the answer to cost-effective housing models.

“Rethinking how people live, work and play is incremental in developing new spaces. This will be the core focus of the masterclass, which also awards CPD points,” mentions van der Merwe.

AZA16 is proudly co-hosted by the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) and Wits; sponsored by PPC Ltd. For more information on AZA16 and to book, visit AZA16 is also on Facebook (