The All School exhibition of the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand opened on Sunday (17 November 2019). The exhibition is on until 5th December 2019. The location is the Solomon Muhlangu concourse (old Senate House) - ground floor. Everyone is welcome. It is a great opportunity to see what students are taught in architecture and planning and how they express their creativity in drawings, designs and delicate models.
This is a superb display of the work projects, models and achievements of students and gives an uplifting moment. Prof Nnamdi Elleh, head of the school is to be congratulated on leading a team of lecturers, students and admin staff in designing and mounting the exhibition. Sally Gaul, senior lecturer in photography in the school and exhibition specialist, is the curator.
Good design is inspirational and our cities need imaginative and practical design. I often think of architects as the artists who want to let their imagination escape the boundaries of rules and regulations, while the planners are the ones who bring order and method to chaotic city streets. But this is an exhibition that unpacks the symbiosis and dependency of the two professions. It makes sense for architects to talk to the planners in the making and remodelling of city spaces and places and rebuilding neglected neighbourhoods. There is an aspirational sharing that people deserve and should be blessed with quality houses in a green environment. The vision of the 21st century is to create an energy efficient green environment. It is for both architects and planners to break those physical and economic divisions we so often seen in our legacy 21st century cities still riven by apartheid remnants and those separations occasioned by the Gini coefficient, poverty and wealth.
Marissa Sauls, PA to Prof Elleh, stops at my elbow and tells me that the exhibition in its conception and design was a year-long project in itself and engaged the energy and cooperative spirit of lecturers and students. Marissa is delighted with the display boards and sees this as an innovation for the school: “We are ready to hire out our display boards to other schools” she enthuses.
The display boards (Kathy Munro)
This exhibition is rich in ideas for living – drawing on the modernist and post modernist traditions to project into new buildings for a city which needs to remake itself. Stop being depressed about the state of Johannesburg - come and see this exhibition to be inspired by the next generation of students and their teachers.
There is much to reflect on in this first ever combined school exhibition. It’s a new space of the architects and planners and draws in the entire student body to discover what it is that our planning and architecture students do. The new wooden display boards stretch the possibilities of how exhibitions can think to create verve and interest.
Sally Gaul the curator of the exhibition sets the context: “The exhibition comprises a spectrum of work from all years of study in the Schools of Architecture and Planning (SOAP). Each course demands that a range of skills be mastered; the exhibition is an attempt to showcase not just the variety of work undertaken in the school but also the expertise and talent that students have brought to bear to produce their work.”
One of the models at the exhibition (Kathy Munro)
In curating this exhibition Sally decided to go against the idea of organizing the work in a linear way where years and courses are grouped. The projects are displayed together from different years, scales, mediums and intended outcomes in order to celebrate the entire output of the school during 2019.
Sally adds: “Overall, the exhibition is an attempt to showcase the students work in the best possible way, and to give maximum impact to the projects on display, looking for synergies and relationships between the works and the courses. This is a kaleidoscope that shows the possibilities and potential of the Wits students becoming promising architects and planners.”
Kathy Munro viewed the exhibition on 17th November – she declares an interest – she is an Hon Associate Professor in the School of Architecture and Planning.