Architecture and Childhood Development Discussed at Seminar
“Architecture and Childhood Development: Towards Establishing Architectural Design Guidelines for the Built Environment Designed for Children in South Africa”, was the topic of a seminar by Architecture lecturer Ms Magda Cloete.
The seminar was hosted by the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS).
Cloete’s research in terms of architecture and childhood development is based on an understanding that architecture serves society and has the potential to impact positively on children. The research is grounded in a post-modern theoretical inquiry with the primary purpose of architecture established as the process of creating places for people to dwell.
‘The concern with childhood development and more specifically Early Childhood Development (ECD) relates to the universally recognised potential of changing society through early intervention and provision of quality childhood development,’ said Cloete.
The research relates to the principles of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child, and aims to initiate the transformation of the architectural design of spaces for children to achieve a positive impact on development for children in South Africa.
In her discussion, Cloete proposed the inclusion of the architectural profession in developing a strategy for implementation of the National Integrated Development Plan to enable the recognition of the physical environment as an integral part of ECD provision.
She supports the consolidation of the minimum requirements provided by the departments of Health, Education and Social Development to establish a universally applicable framework for ECD environment in South Africa.
Cloete argues for the establishment of a statutory design guideline for the development of ECD environments to be used by all stakeholders involved in the process.
‘The implementation of this framework will require a consultative process to enable the development of the design guideline document. The point of departure for the development of the design guidelines will need to acknowledge the role of architecture in society and the importance of Early Childhood Development and how Architecture and Childhood Development are integrated and related,’ said Cloete.
Photograph: Melissa Mungroo