A new wave of Cape Town architecture graduates is spreading its wings to welcome the world to their work.
In a bold move, 2010 Master of Architecture thesis students at UCT are inviting everybody to their coming-of-age exhibition in the East city- a showcase of their design projects for the course. It’s quite a contrast to the more tentative first steps of first-time professionals, and sets the tone for great things to come.
We spoke to Ross McDonald about coming out of the academic closet in a brave step towards integration and interaction.
CCT : So why do it in front of everyone? Why not do it behind closed doors where you can make mistakes on your own account?
Ross : Following a series of successful class projects and proposals, the 2010 thesis class has been re-thinking the way that the end of year assessment and exhibition work. With support from our course convenors and school staff, we have decided that the integration of the examination presentations with a larger and more publicly accessible exhibition is a vision worth pursuing.
CCT: How did you manage to secure the City Hall? And why choose this venue?
The Masters class was given the opportunity to engage with Creative Cape Town at the beginning of the year through a tour and presentation with Zayd Minty. The focus of these was on the ECDI with the intention that students from our class would engage with the ECDI forum and develop some architectural and urban proposals that would add to the discussion. The ECDI is a really valuable strategy for approaching the development of a part of the city that has such potential. The idea to hold the graduate exhibition at the City Hall really came out of the discussions we had with Zayd about the East City and the vision Creative Cape Town has for using the city’s resources to promote vibrant cultural and urban practices.
CCT: This is rather an unorthodox move for new job seekers in an established sector. How did you get the blessings of your (more traditional) HODs?
Ross : There has been a shift in the graduate programme at the UCT School of Architecture, from a B.Arch degree to an M.Arch degree, which has, this year seen a much broader range of projects and ideas come from the class. The architecture school has always kept itself quite insulated from the rest of the university and the city at large and we are, through this exhibition, trying to engage more broadly and share our ideas with a wider audience.
After having initiated some other exciting projects as a class (including a short film competition for the school, success in the Cement and Concrete Institute’s ‘Moving Space’ Film Competition as well as a class tour to Mozambique) we felt that a bigger and better exhibition would be possible.
Regarding the Masters programme, each student is free to choose (an appropriate) thesis topic, based on an interest related to architecture interest (this could be based on a theoretical idea, a particular site or a particular building typology). There is a written component which is used to develop these ideas which leads into the development of a design project that responds to the principles of that particular thesis position. We are not expected to specialise in any ‘type’ of architecture. The degree itself is non-specific and encourages each student to think creatively about the topic that they chose.”
City Hall, Cape Town
Grand Parade Entrance
17 November · 18:00 – 20:30
FINAL day for public viewing of the exhibition : Wednesday 24th November 2010