Day Three of Architecture ZA 2012: Part 1

Future Cape Town spent the third and final day of Architecture ZA 2012 touring the lesser-known sides of our city and debating the merits of starchitect David Adjaye’s work. Here Robert Bowen summarises Sean Rodrigues’s talk on net zero strat, a WDC2014 reminder of value by Lianne Burton and then Atelier Bow Wow on mainly Metabolism Void and some of their works.

This mornings proceedings opened with a talk on Net Zero strategies as carried by South Africa
architect Sean Rodrigues. While practicing in the United States, Sean has come to a profound
understand contemporary financial conditions, this combined with a large set of tools has enabled
him to build a strong practice based upon net zero energy strategies. His approach has shown how
through common sense thinking we can achieve sustainable buildings which are also financially

A brief presentation given by Lianne Burton reminded the audience of the value of the World Design
Capital 2014 opportunity afforded Cape Town. She emphasised that WDC is not an award and that
Cape Town is no city but itself. What she left us with was the optimistic and motivational thought of
Cape Town and South Africa re-branded from ‘place of problems’ to ‘place of problem solvers’.

Bow-Wow’s pop-up BMW Guggenheim Lab in New York City.
Photo © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation – Paul Warcol

All eyes were then fixed to the great minds of Atelier Bow-Wow. Bow-wow eased into their
presentation by describing the importance time and season has on architecture. From here they
sprung into what they call void metabolism. Void metabolism considers the city as the ultimate plug-
in. Due to Japanese legislation and high inheritance taxes, with each passing generation plots of
land are further sub-divided. This results in density forming around the void. With the life span of
Japanese house being around 30 years Bow-Wow now ask what qualities 4th generation(of modern
Japan) houses should have.

They propose:

1 . Interior spaces be inviting for those beyond family.

2. The quasi-exterior spaces be introduced in a positive manner.

3. The gap between neighbouring buildings be redefined

Atelier Bow-Wow went on to display many projects where the vernacular and intensive testing and
experimentation were applied to the design of their buildings. A great informant were the end users
who actively participated in the process far beyond what is the norm. This process ensures the end
result will satisfy the needs of those it has been created for.

Part two covers the rest of the day, including David Adjaye’s presentation.