Future Cape Town hosts international architects

CAPE TOWN, 13 MAY 2015


On Wednesday 13 May, Future Cape Town, and its Young Urbanists members hosted two internationally renowned architects; Alfredo Brillembourg of Urban-Think Tank (U-TT) and Luyanda Mpahlwa of DesignSpaceAfrica at the public lecture: ‘Housing and Educating the future’. The event, which trended nationally on Twitter, drew a crowd of close to 150 students, architects, urbanists and members of the public. It took place at a new exhibition space on Harrington Street.

The evening kicked off with an inspirational lecture by Mpahlwa who highlighted the harsh realities of South African cities and in turn the great potential that is being realised by key African architects for an African architecture dealing directly with our unique conditions. He presented the process and experience of developing and designing the acclaimed 10×10 housing project in Freedom Park and laid down the challenge for the next generation to understand how to design with, rather than for the poor.

Says Luyanda Mpahlwa of DesignSpaceAfrica: “The Future Cape Town and Young Urbanists event confirmed once more, the importance of architects ‘engaging in socially relevant work’ thereby acknowledging the notion that ‘architecture has a social dimension’ which challenges architects to apply their design abilities in this sector as part of their professional duty.”

Mpahlwa’s lecture was followed by a short film produced by U-TT about the tallest slum in the world; Torre David

The second lecture by Brillembourg looked at the potential of informal settlements in South American cities and around the world. The Venezuelan architect and Chair of Swiss architecture school ETH also presented the Empowershack project in Khayelitsha. Empowershack is a collaboration between the Brillembourg & Klumpner Chair of Architecture and Urban Design, South African NGO Ikhayalami (‘My Home’), Transsolar, Brillembourg Ochoa Foundation, Meyer Burger, the BLOCK ETH ITA Research Group, and videocompany. The Empower Shack team was established as a response to conventional approaches in dealing with urban informality, which are unsustainable and painstakingly slow in meeting the immediate needs of the vast majority of South Africa’s urban poor.

Says, Alfredo Brillembourg of Urban-Think Tank: “Architecture as a discipline has the immediate capacity to provide physical places of inclusion and integration in order to help fight poverty for the billions who live inhuman urban conditions. The slums of Latin America, as well as the impoverished suburbs of North American and European cities, cast doubt on the notion of city growth as self-contained and functionally organized. Our experience at U-TT taught us otherwise. We are persuaded that architects must be advocates for the users and agents of active change.”

Says Director of Future Cape Town, Rashiq Fataar: “The enthusiasm by the young urbanists and members of the public indicates that innovation and experimentation in advancing housing strategies must firmly be on the agenda of the future city. Brillembourg and Mpahlwa have, through this lecture, energised the next generation of urbanists to be bold and build coalitions around innovation in housing.”


For more information contact Kelsey Blignaut at the Press Office at +27 84 651 7820 or kelsey@futurecapetown.com

Notes to Editors:

  1. Young Urbanists is a programme of Future Cape Town, connecting the next generation of urbanists. More information here
  2. Read more about Urban-Think Tank here and DesignSpaceAfrica here
  3. Images of the event can be found here

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