UKZN Hosts Function for Architects
The School of Built Environment and Development Studies hosted a function to formalise the participation of professional architects affiliated to the KwaZulu-Natal Institute of Architecture (KZNIA) in the teaching of architecture.
The KZNIA has been very supportive of the UKZN programme over many years and the function provided a forum for the formalisation of their commitment to the continuous and quality education of the University’s architecture students.
‘We are very glad that the Institute of Architects has agreed to partner with us in our efforts to improve the quality of architectural teaching and learning,’ said Professor Thokozani Xaba, the Dean and Head of the School of Built Environment and Development Studies.
The meeting was attended by the President of KZNIA, Mr Kevin Bingham, and a number of professional architects. ‘The skills and experience of professional architects are specifically required in our design and technology studios. We are extremely grateful to the President of the Institute who did not hesitate to respond to our request,’ said Xaba.
Bingham said the study of Architecture was a life-long process and the two UKZN programmes in architecture provided students with the essential grounding required to enable the transition into architectural practice. ‘Due to the symbiotic relationship between education and practice in this profession, the architecture programmes are partnering with the KZNIA to establish an environment which enables the smooth transition between the two, for its students.
‘The Province and the building industry are reliant on the local universities to provide well-grounded graduates to ensure the successful growth in the region. The relationship between UKZN and the KZNIA is therefore mutually beneficial and addresses the future development of KZN,’ he said.
‘The KZNIA is currently assisting in providing expertise from skilled practitioners to facilitate in-studio project review sessions, visiting lectures and external examination support. This both assists the University in skilled resources and enables the transfer of current technological advances in practice. In turn the architectural profession is assured of well-prepared graduates ready to meet the challenges of practice,’ said Bingham.
Mr George Elphick and Mr Nick Proome of Elphick Proome discussed their architectural work at the UKZN Programme of Architecture. Their lecture was attended by a large contingent of eager undergraduate and postgraduate architectural students keen to meet the figureheads behind one of the biggest commercial practices in Durban who recently celebrated 25 years as a practice and as a partnership.
Their lectures focused on their practice ethos and their approach to design, specifically about their recently completed 30 000m² industrial building for Unilever in Riverhorse Valley.
Elphick spoke about his design education, encouraging boldness and a strong concept. He took students through some of his company’s commercial as well as residential work stressing the need to take advantage of the opportunity clients or projects may present as ‘you never know where they may lead’.
Proome spoke about the design and programming of the Unilever building, its tight time constraints for submission and construction, the experience of working in industrial buildings as well as a committed staff contingent working tirelessly to make it possible.
Students asked questions that addressed the resilience of the practice, its ability to continuously gain clients even through tough economic times and how it has managed to adapt and to grow over 25 years.
Xaba also indicated that professional architects would play a larger role in 2014 in the teaching of the Masters in Architecture programme, which would be offered in block-format. The block-format design is aimed at addressing the need of various practising architectural technologists interested in qualifying as professional architects.
- Melissa Mungroo