AZA16 is a three-day architecture and design festival, showcasing six international and 20 local speakers, alongside their programme of workshops and tour leaders, which focuses on the choice of design and how its options turn into professional paths. This year’s theme is SCALE: how it transcends professions, and the endless array of interpretations it manifests.
Scale is not a concept limited to planning, urban design or architecture: it overcomes these borders. In the last century of practice, different scales have increasingly fallen into different professional camps, but AZA16 proposes that architects critically contest those divisions in the global 21st century. We are now recognising the interdependence of scales, whether in terms of physics, ecology or transnational cultural manifestations. In reality, scale is collapsing, making the nano to the global, and beyond, more knowable to all.
Scaling up and down is intrinsic to the craft of architecture and spatial practice. Scale is also ingrained in indigenous African practice, whether in the abundance of fractal patterns or the configuration of dwelling spaces, and yet it needs to fit with global scalar practices. Scaling is important for business, as the relationship between the single maker and networks of production becomes ever more fluid.
AZA16 aims to assert the capacity of architects to work at and across all scales. Expert speakers will explore topics ranging from the effects of big data on complex design ecologies, systems and territories, to the intimacies of crafted detail and local communities. It will examine how architects and other designers work across scales, how they handle ‘bigness’ and ‘smallness’, and how the micro and the uber intersect.
These are some of the speakers to look out for:
Joachim Declerck: founder and partner of the Architecture Workroom Brussels. Educated as architect and urban designer at Ghent University (BE) and the Berlage Institute (NL), Declerck’s activities focus on innovation within the disciplines of architecture and urban design, while exploring their role within the transformation of the built environment.
Matilde Cassani: moves on the border between architecture, installation and event design. Her research based practice reflects the spatial implications of cultural pluralism in the contemporary Western context. Her works have been showcased in many cultural institutions, galleries and published in several magazines such as Architectural Review, Domus, Abitare, Arqa, Arkitecktur and MONU magazine on Urbanism.
Nina Saunders: acting deputy-head of eThekwini Municipality’s Architecture Department, responsible for procurement and implementation of integrated architectural and building services. Her experience in the field of developmental architecture began at Harber & Associates and the Built Environment Support Group, before she joined eThekwini Municipality.
Denver Hendricks: an academic at the Department of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg and a Director at Urbansoup Architects and Urban Designers. Denver is currently completing his fourth qualification: a masters of Urban Studies at WITS. His research focuses on the ethnography of public space production in South Africa.
For more information on the speakers this year, click here.