After a successful inaugural exhibition of first-year architecture student projects in Cape Town by the Cape Institute of Architecture in April, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University first-year students’ travelling exhibition moved on to Bloemfontein where they were hosted by the University of the Free State’s architecture department.
Next the first-year projects are headed for Johannesburg where the travelling exhibition, sponsored by a number of local architecture firms, will be showcased at the prestigious sixth annual ArchitectureZA (AZA 2016) Congress held at Wits University from August 31 to September 3.
“Both [previous] exhibitions were well received by the students and staff of the architecture schools in both cities, the architects from the profession and the public,” architecture lecturer and organiser of the travelling exhibition, Ernst Struwig said.
The works, exhibited in both cities and which is moving to Wits, were created by students who were taught by lecturers Struwig and Dr Magda Minguzzi during the course of their lectures in design and architectural presentation technique.
Struwig said the travelling exhibition gave recognition to works by first-year students “normally confined within the walls of the School [of Architecture at NMMU] itself” and offered the opportunity to share their work with industry professionals and the public.
“[Another] reason is to make the general public aware of the role of teaching new professionals, what it entails and that architecture is more than responding to an economical and functional programme.
“It has an important social role to play in creating a better living environment for the world,” he said.
Struwig said the exhibitions were used as educational and cultural tools and “could also play a role in marketing”, adding that most of the students whose works were presented, come from the Eastern Cape.
Head of the department of architecture at NMMU Boban Varghese said the exhibition was intended to present the architectural engagement of the department to a broader community beyond the Bay.
“This will have multiple impacts and opportunities. Professional and academic engagement with architects, members of the Institutes of Architects, staff members of the schools of architecture are its core achievements,” he said.
Varghese added that the exhibitions had a far-reaching impacts in that they offered exposure to the students and insight into the world of architecture and architecture education.
The next leg of the exhibition at Wits University will be showcased for a short period at the AZA 2016 Congress hosted by the South African Institute of Architects.
“This is one of the high-profile annual events in the architectural education sphere where students and staff from all architectural schools in the country gather, present and participate in a series of workshops, competitions and seminars.
“This gives exceptional opportunity for a wider and deeper exposure,” Varghese said.
The exhibition consists of selected first-year architecture students’ works over a period of three years.
“This highlights the meticulous skillsets of the students, their grasps of architectural issues, meticulous model making skills, remarkable commitments and hard work during the early days of their architectural learning stages,” Varghese said.
The next stop after the AZA2016 Congress will see the travelling exhibition returning to NMMU with a closing and final exhibition in its home city early next year.