UIA2014 & de Volkskrant

Last week the UIA2014 congress took place in Durban -South Africa, titled ‘Otherwhere’. It brought architects and educators together from all over the world. It was the first time it took place on the African continent and for many participants it was indeed the first time, hence perhaps the title. Due to its location, it was well visited by African representatives and in the programme the continent was reflected appropriately. There was attention for the specific conditions and context, for which the presentation of Francis Kéré was spot on. Perhaps the high speed presentation of Rahul Mehrotra was most inspiring, with a waterfall of examples that show how important a critical position of the architect is in projects that are pushing boundaries and create broad ownership.  And most important: not to be afraid to revisit projects, analyse successes and be honest about failures. The presentation of Toyo Ito came as a shock and from out-of-space, after days of discussing how to operate as architect in a world in which resources are scarce, communication with and involvement of users and communities are the basis of a project. It was obvious that the feeling that architects have something to offer to a better future is back, but this was not clear from the projects that Ito showed. 

I am sure that the visitors from other parts of the world will look at the African built environment differently after the event, although as city Durban is still worlds apart from many other urban realities in Africa. And most of them will look back with pleasure, because the organising team was fantastic. It was sometimes difficult to navigate through the highly complex event with a huge amount of side programmes, exhibitions, workshops, tours and social events, but the organisation was in control and made you feel welcome, comfortable, at home. 

Recovering from the hectic conference days after the event, I was flicking through the online Volkskrant, the third largest

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Stadslicht #8: City Trip – Casablanca

In Casablanca is door de Fransen uitgebreid geëxperimenteerd met stedenbouw. In de reeks Stadslicht colleges, georganiseerd in Pakhuis De Zwijger, vertelt Berend van der Lans op 4 juni (18-19hr.) over Marokko’s grootste stad. Voor lokatie en registratie zie de website van Pakhuis De Zwijger.

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Casablanca kent in de stadplanning vele scenario’s. Al roerig en enkele keren verwoest onder de vroegere naam Anfa, was het 100 jaar geleden nog een stad van bescheiden omvang. In die honderd jaar heeft de schaalvergroting genadeloos toegeslagen en is de bevolking gegroeid van rond de tienduizend naar vijf en een half miljoen zielen. In de eerste helft van die honderd jaar voerden de Fransen de regie en was de stad toneel van stedenbouwkundige en architectonische experimenten, die later op grote schaal navolging vonden in Europa. Na de onafhankelijkheid kreeg de stedelijke ontwikkeling een eigen en interessante dynamiek, zeker niet altijd gestuurd door de overheid. De ongebreidelde groei die deze jaren kenmerkte, tracht men nu weer te beteugelen. Daar speelt de Tramway, de lokale, zeer populaire ‘Noord Zuid lijn’, een rol in, maar ook het leegstaande Abattoir, dat getransformeerd is tot Fabrique Culturelle. Over het ‘Batwar’ is recent een boek verschenen uit een samenwerking tussen Casablanca en Amsterdam. Berend van der Lans, daarbij betrokken, zal Casablanca’s geschiedenis uit de doeken doen en inzoomen op verrassende ontwikkelingen en het Batwar. 

College Stadslicht #8: City trip - Casablanca // Pakhuis De Zwijger // expo zaal // 4 juni 2014 // 18-19hr. // aanmelden via website PDZ

The Kiran Mukerji Fund extends the AAmatters mediatheque

On 26th April 2014, Kiran Mukerji handed over his research library to African Architecture Matters. It is with great gratitude that we have received the donation, which will be entered into the AAMatters catalogue under the name of ‘Kiran Mukerji Fund’. 

Kiran Mukerji is an eminent researcher and architect, now semi-retired, who has spent most of his career as expert on tropical planning and building issues, with a focus on primary health-care and sustainable design and building techniques. He was involved in the field as researcher, planner and building in many (developing) countries, in particular in India and Albania.

Kiran Mukerji with Belinda van Buiten and Antoni Folkers on  26th April 2014

There are numerous publications from his hand on the above subjects, and it can be stated without exaggeration that he is one of the pioneers in the field of sustainable building techniques – ranging from pre-fabricated

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Netherlandish Architecture as an Export Product

Ter gelegenheid van de uitgave van het boek The Low Countries at the Crossroads, Netherlandish Architecture as an Export Product in Early Modern Europe, samengesteld door Koen Ottenheym en Krista de Jonge, wordt er in Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam een studiedag gehouden over de Europese uitstraling van de architectuur uit de Nederlanden in de zestiende en zeventiende eeuw op 9 mei aanstaande. 

In onze tijd geniet Nederlandse architectuur internationaal veel aanzien. Rem Koolhaas, Ben van Berkel en anderen hebben een sterrenstatus bereikt. Dat bleek niet anders in de 16de en 17de eeuw. 

Ook Antoni Folkers doet in onze tijd een duit in het zakje en zal tijdens de studiedag verhalen over de projecten die hij sinds het midden van de jaren 80 uitvoert in Oost Afrika. 

Lees meer over de door de KNOB georganiseerde studiedag en hoe aan te melden via deze link

Launching Lard Buurman’s Africa Junctions

Over the last 6 years, Dutch photographer Lard Buurman visited 14 cities in 12 countries on the African continent. His careful compositions of the everyday life in the urban context give an interesting insight on how these cities work. 

Between 12 April and 3 May, the exhibition Africa Junctions is presented by Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam and Looiersgracht 60, a new project space for art, design and architecture in Amsterdam. 

On 23 April, his Buurman’s book Africa Junctions, Capturing the City, published by Hatje Cantz Verlag, will be launched in the exhibition. Next to Buurman’s work, the book includes reflections on the work and the cities by N’Goné Fall, Chris Abani, Alexander Opper and Chris Keulemans. 

Introductions by N’Goné Fall and Berend van der Lans lead to a debate with aforementioned and Lard Buurman, moderated by Marcia Luyten (author of Dag Afrika and presenter of the TV programme Buitenhof). 

The event starts at 20:00hrs and can be attended if you register.

Exhibition Africa Junctions - 12 April - 3 May 2014 (Wed-Sun 12:00 - 20:00hrs) - Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam 

Book presentation - 23 April 2014 - 20:00hr - Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam - please register

Brainstorm and recommendations for an African Urban Agenda

In the context of the 4th EU-Africa Summit that took place in Brussels on 2 and 3 April, a group of around 40 leasing specialists and thinkers from international organisations, pan-African organisations, academia, civil society and the private and public sector gathered in the beautiful BOZAR building in the afternoon of 3 April, to discuss what route the EU-Africa collaboration could follow to stimulate inclusive development in the African urban reality. 

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After intensive and lively round table sessions in the afternoon, the resulting concrete recommendations were presented to José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission. You can reach his reaction here

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The round table was Initiated by BOZAR, in collaboration with UN Habitat and EuropeAid. It can be seen as a next step following the ‘Art and Architecture at Work’ project that took place in the previous years in several major cities in Africa.  

ArchiAfrika and AAmatters contributed to the programme by bringing in key nodes of their network. Joe Addo (ArchiAfrika) and Berend van der Lans (AAmatters) were leading round table sessions together with Lesley Lokko and Sylvain Haon. 

A short video can be found at the BOZAR website

Towards a second life of the Abattoirs of Casablanca

On 26 March, the Cities of Casablanca and Amsterdam, together with Casamemoire, presented ‘L’Batwar - Story of a Transformation’ in the former abattoirs in Morocco’s largest city. The book portraits the history of the architecturally fascinating municipal slaughterhouses, situated between the city centre and the neighbourhood Hay Mohammadi. 

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Many factory workers and their families were living in this neighbourhood with a strong social cohesion, where political resistance lead to several large protests in the past. After the factory closed its doors in the beginning of the century, the strategic position in the city and its exceptional architectural beauty gave rise to thoughts of converting the complex into a driver for development of the area. Since 2009, a group of around 15 socio-cultural organisations make use of the spaces and developed a programme as ‘Fabrique Culturelle’, involving also many inhabitants and their children. 

It is time to diverge towards a more definite mode of use, allowing the architectural beauty of the abattoirs to shine again. The book gives a

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Hifadhi Zanzibar welcomes Dutch Minister of Trade and Development Liliane Ploumen

Hifadhi team member Hassan Ali Juma and Director of the Department of Urban and Rural Planning Muhammad Juma are accompanying Dutch Minister of Trade and Development Liliane Ploumen in Stone Town (photo Daniel Hayduk)

Heritage constitutes an important source of identity and cohesion for communities. Well maintained heritage offers a physical testimony of its past, but it also serves as a precious resource for social and economic development. This is what the founders – representatives of a couple of large companies - of Stadsherstel Amsterdam NV had in mind, when establishing the Limited Liability Company in 1956. Stadsherstel had an important role in maintaining the historic character of Amsterdam over the years. This example will now be followed by Hifadhi Zanzibar (Preserve Zanzibar), a Limited Liability Company that will soon be established to acquire, restore, rent out and maintain historically valuable buildings in Stone Town and other urban areas in Zanzibar. The shareholders, a majority being local investors, will receive a moderate dividend, so the remainder of the profit can be re-invested.  Hifadhi Zanzibar will be instrumental in keeping Stone Town and other parts of Zanzibar vital, ultimately developing it into a healthy social and economic urban environment. Representatives from the local private and public sector

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Ng’ambo: Tuittakayo! Tarehe 8 & 9 Februari in Zanzibar

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Ng’ambo: this is what we want! On 8 and 9 February, the TOS research team is organising an event in the Kisiwandui and Kisimamajongoo neighbourhoods in Ng’ambo, to conclude the process of research on assets and values of the area, taking place in the recent months. Th inhabitants of the area are consulted on their visions for the future of the this part of the buffer zone of the ‘Stone Town of Zanzibar’ World Heritage Site. The outcomes will form the basis of a number of tools for a heritage-based regeneration proposal. 

You can follow the event via www.facebook.com/ngambotuitakayo. An expert workshop and stakeholders conference later in the week will take stock of the results reached and the steps forward will be discussed. 

Together with the Department of Urban and Rural Planning of the Government of Zanzibar, UNESCO, City of Amsterdam and Stadsherstel Amsterdam NV, AAmatters has been involved from the conception. 

Background

imageThe UNESCO Recommendation on Historic Urban Landscapes, adopted in 2011, proposes a comprehensive approach to urban regeneration, which addresses the need to better integrate and frame

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Critical reflections on urban tendencies in South Africa and the curriculum in Delft

Around the Nike Football Centre in Soweto, Johannesburg (photo Iain Low, 2012)

In September 2012, the book 'African Perspectives - [South] Africa. City, Society, Space, Literature and Architecture', edited by Gerhard Bruyns and Prof. Arie Graafland, was launched at the AZA conference in Cape Town. The book is a reflection of the presentations and debates that took place in the Urban Development programme of the African Perspectives manifestation that took place in Delft in December 2007. 

Berend van der Lans met Bruyns in the course of 2013 to discuss the contents, the reactions on the book and the results of African Perspectives 2007 for the Faculty of Architecture of the Delft University of Technology. The interview is published in the December 2013 issue of ‘Maandblad Zuid-Afrika' and can be read in Dutch here