03 September 2014 Volume :2 Issue :46

Belgian Academics Visit Architecture Discipline at UKZN

Belgian Academics Visit Architecture Discipline at UKZN
Liege University academics, Mr Bernard Deffet and Ms Courtejoie Fabienne (centre), and Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter (left), with Architecture Discipline academics and representatives from the UKZN International Office.

Two academics from Liege University in Belgium recently visited the School of Built Environment and Development Studies in the Architecture discipline at the College of Humanities.

The visitors, Mr Bernard Deffet and Ms Courtejoie Fabienne of the Architecture department at Liege University, had discussions with UKZN representatives about potential exchanges and collaborations.

Academic Leader for UKZN’s Architecture discipline, Mr Mthembeni Mkhize, said he hoped the relationship between the School and Liege University would grow and develop further.

Addressing the visitors, Mkhize said: ‘We have a vision for Architecture. That visioning took place in November two years ago, when we asked “where is Architecture going to be within the country and within the international world of architecture”?

‘When we started to engage with you (Liege University), we knew exactly where we wanted to position Architecture. We identified the importance of engaging and benchmarking with other universities not only around Africa but also in Europe, the US and the East and we identified your group of countries as well.

‘Our aim is to create young architects at this University who will be able to create wonders of the world and structures that are going to change, not only our region in Durban, but the rest of the country and the world,’ said Mkhize.

Recently, two students accompanied by academic, Ms Bridget Horner, visited Liege University. Their visit followed on from the Union of International Architects Conference’s international student competition being based in the informal market area of Warwick, Durban.

Horner said the purpose of the visit was to assist the Liege students to get a better understanding of the site and how Warwick worked. 

‘It was our local knowledge of the area and how it works that Liege University was interested in. We also learnt from this exchange about city making as opposed to grand architectural gestures that can be pompous impositions on our society and context as well as other smaller scale interventions in the urban context that enable people to go about their daily lives with a measure of ease,’ she said.

‘Our School’s vision is to “generate architecture that enables society” and it is this vision that is driving the kind of projects we do and (for some of us) the way we teach.’

Said Deffet: ‘The exchange we had with your students and academics was an amazing experience. We had about 60 students who attended a workshop led by Bridget Horner. I’m hoping that this is the beginning of something new.’

-          UKZNdaba Online

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