Design Indaba 2011 – Cape Town – Sold Out

The coolest design event in South AfricaDesign Indaba 2011 takes place at the at the Cape Town Convention Centre and includes the Design Indaba Conference and Young Designers Simulcast from 23 to 25 February, and Design Indaba Expo from 25 to 27 February.

But there are still seats available for simulcast in Cape Town and Johannesburgt and the really cool expo you can visit from 25 -27 February and  lank events and interesting side shows, some of which I will be posting info over the next few days as well as featuring some of the cool people that are speaking

Continue reading


Achieving prosperous local communities – physical connectedness is key (via The power of the network)

Is this reasoned approach applicable to the problems we face in African cities in the 21st century? Do these first world solutions adequately address the problems in Kigali?, Cape Town or Nairobi? Space Syntax argues they do.

Community prosperity means social, economic and environmental prosperity. Each of these dimensions is strongly influenced by the physical design of the places where people live. Physical design influences human behaviour, which in turn influences community prosperity. The most important aspect of physical design is connectedness. Connectedness can be measured scientifically. Its effects on societal wealth have been identified by UK scientific res … Read More

via The power of the network

Ring Roads! (via Encountering Urbanization)

I’m not sure why planners don’t like ring roads: Space Syntax from UCL London indicates that the shape of most cities that grow naturally grow in a “spoked wheel” form like London and Beijing. SPACE SYNTAX UCL,

London , Connectivity Space Syntax UCL

London  is one of the coloured rings in the Rice graphic shown below,

Very nice graphic though!

Ring Roads! Ring roads are not loved by all planners, but the are certainly fascinating when compared across the world on this poster by Rice University’s School of Architecture: Rings Roads of the World. Melissa … Read More

via Encountering Urbanization

Bjarke Ingels of BIG – Vision, Ambition & Success

A huge vision , boundless energy and a drive for impact and success seem to mark the world of Danish architect Bjarke Ingels whose work we have featured recently Big Architechts – A Cube Too Far?: A beautiful mind – property of Bjarke Ingels reported in by Mandy De Wall in The Daily Maverick:

“The only people to blame for dead-boring cities and ugly factories are ourselves. So says Danish super-architect Bjarke Ingels who is winning love across continents for his groundbreaking architectural designs”

“Ingels rejects the notion that sustainable architecture pivots on the “notion of moral penitence which means that it’s got to hurt if it’s going to do good”. He believes humans can enjoy “hedonistic” life styles and still save the world. “As architects we are at the centre of this human project of continuously refurbishing the surface of our planet. If our cities don’t fit in with the way we want to live, if the world is the way it is, then it is because that is how we have made it.”

“Part poet. Part visionary. All genius. Bjarke Ingels is the 30-something Danish architect winning global acclaim by recreating buildings and cities as spaces where sustainability and hedonistic pleasure live together rather comfortably.

In Ingels’ imagination, a power station can be fused with a playground so that a waste-burning plant that produces energy becomes an alpine ski resort. It is with this kind of thinking that he and his team at Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) are winning some of the most sought-after architectural projects in the world.”

Competition-winning design for Copenhagen's new Amagerforbraending Waste-to-Energy Plant & Ski Slope

You can see all the images and BIG’s fantastic diagrams here that won them this competition: BIG Puts a Ski Slope on Copenhagen’s New Waste-to-Energy Plant

Continue reading

U2, Malema, : why do we listen to celebrities opinions?

Sunday Times headlines quoted from The Daily Maverick: “Bono guides Juju” and “Julius Malema may have found an unlikely ally in U2 frontman Bono who, on Friday, waded into the debate over the singing of the controversial Shoot The Boer song.” These were the Sunday Times and TimesLIVE headlines and opening lines, augmented at 10:31 on Sunday morning by another TimesLIVE headline, “Bono backs Malema’s ‘shoot the boer’ song”, which caused many South Africans to erupt in anger at U2’s Bono.”

Bono in full flight Joburg South Africa

Continue reading

Infecting The City – Cape Town Public Arts Festival

Next week ( 21 -26 Feb 2011)  an incipient craziness will be seen round the streets of central Cape Town again – returning after last years success the Spier Public Arts Festival will feature a new round of performance and artists of every type marking and “infecting” enlivening and scaring us.

Public art. Provoking a response. In your face. Infecting your City.
A project of the Africa Centre, Infecting the City 2011 emerges from the bricks, flagstones and pavements of the City to challenge Cape Town’s idea of art, itself and its streets.”

Below are some of the highlights of last years performances, installations and events most of those we saw fascinated and intrigued us: like Andrew Buckland’s mysterious show we saw in Green Market Square, and it makes me wonder – why can’t the city be this interesting every day? In European cities buskers and pavement artists are seen everywhere that people move and they are able to make a living by entertaining and enthralling the passers-by: musicians at lunch times in Cologne, living statues and mimes in the evening along Barcelona’s Las Ramblas and strange ‘chicken men” and clowns on Sundays in Munich, are just some of the types of street entertainment we have seen over the years in our travels. Well done to Spier and the Africa Centre for supporting these artists and sharing them with the city. Maybe some will be encouraged by our enthusiastic support to do it more often. Maybe we will be encouraged to walk around the city and see what’s on and enjoy its ambience rather than sitting home in front of the TV or wandering around in the Mall?


Continue reading

Tom Leader Studio /KVA Team Wins Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition

North American cities seem to be in the process of rebuilding themselves as compettions are posted and awarded to “Star( Landscape Arch)chitects” teams the latest reported on Bustler today:

“The bi-coastal urban and landscape design team of TLS/KVA – Tom Leader Studio(Berkeley) and Kennedy & Violich Architecture (Boston) – were named the winning team of the Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition (MR|DC) at a press conference in Minneapolis yesterday”

“On January 28, the MR|DC’s 14- member jury of nationally known parks and design professionals and local decision‐makers met to evaluate the proposals. The jury’s evaluation was based on the criteria and deliverables outlined in the Competition Brief, as well as how well the proposals met the competition’s stated goals: establish parks as the economic engine for development along the river; knit communities on both sides of the riverfront to and across the river; and re‐focus Minneapolis and the region toward one of the three great rivers of the world”

Continue reading

U2, Bono & Co. Rock Cape Town Stadium & the Fan Walk

The controversial and troubled  event venue Cape Town Stadium  and the  infrastructure of street improvements, including the  2.4 km Fan Walk from the central city to the iconic event venue in Green Point, both built for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, which will be enlivened and activated by entertainment and thousands of Rock fans on the evening and night of Friday 18 February 2011 for the U2 360° Tour.

According to the Cape Town Partnership website:” Apart from murals set along the entire route, other elements will include a stage with a screen back-drop at St Andrews Square setting the scene for DJs and a VJ while rock bands will appear from a roof-top on Somerset Rd, emulating U2’s video shot in LA of the song “Streets With No Name”.

“Additional elements along the route will include sky-beams, cyber stilt-walkers, a marching band, mist-tunnels and activations from KFM.”

Continue reading

The spectacular waterfront that almost wasn’t

I nearly missed this article on our own success story from the official blog for “crowdsourced” place making

“South Africa certainly has a history of overcoming adversity, and redeveloping its waterfront into a regional and diverse destination was no exception.

It will never happen, its critics insisted. No financial institution would finance the project. As apartheid was winding down, South Africa was still politically very isolated from the world and in a general economic recession. There were no government subsidies available and many simply didn’t believe it was possible given the country’s economic and political instability. Built as a harbor since 1860, as the fishing and ship repair industries waned in the 1970s, the harbor became fenced off and derelict.”

“Still, a growing crowd began to believe. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the citizens of Cape Town campaigned vigorously to reverse the isolation of the City from its waterfront. In 1984 the Mayor of Cape Town, Alderman Sol Kreiner, established a Waterfront Steering Committee to redevelop the waterfront as a live, work and play destination. In November 1988, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront (Pty) Ltd (“V&AW”), named after two formerly constructed basins, was established as a wholly-owned subsidiary by Transnet Ltd to redevelop the area. This momentum lead to the State-owned South African Transport Services (now Transnet Limited) to fund the initial $30 million (205 million South African Rand). Continue reading