Breaking down preconceptions

At the beginning of the project we only spent a week in studio trying to formulate an approach but still preconceived ideas and notions worked their way into our explanations and planning. For most of us if not all that first site visit was an eye opening and humbling experience breaking down the bubble of isolation in which we place ourselves.

The more time we spent on site and interacting with the community these preconceptions of what it should be like and what we thought was needed started to break down.


One of the first things that strike you is the innovative methods used by the residents in using their surroundings and what is available in an effort to improve their living conditions. The second is the tight knit sense of community which you would struggle to find in most suburbs of Johannesburg. 

The 29th of August had arrived and a buzz within the Denver Hostel Hall.

The atmosphere in the hall on the "final" day of presentation was alive and moving, not sure if it was because of all the rush to pin up all the work on time or if the build up to this day was more appreciated than most students would have thought going into the beginning of this project.


Reflecting Back.

After meeting with lecturers and role players to review the AT process we found ourselves looking back and learning form the process.

Here are the highlights of this years AT studio.

New Friends.

New groups mean new people. This quarter has formed a lot of friendships that will continue concurrently with AT Studio and long thereafter. Also, working with senior students provided a measure of the course progresses students from year to year. In design new friends means new skills, programs and ways. We learnt alot.


Week 6

Presentation Day.

On probably the coldest day of the year the AT team gathered at the cultural hall on top of the Denver mens residence to culminate the AT studio research portion for this year.

The intricacies and intimacy of courtyards creates community.

Volunteers, ward councillors, NGO's, students, friends and lecturers all met in one place. With all the culminated work! Volunteers and residents where acknowledged for their wonderful contribution and assistance so far by recieving a certificate of participation. The community cheered for its individual characters and personalities.


Project Feedback Session

Focus on Courtyard Typologies

Yesterday (Tuesday 19 August 2014) we had a lengthy presentation and feedback session with our university lecturers about our way forward with the project and our ideas around possible interventions on site. In this presentation we spoke about the scenarios and findings unique to our site. Some of these include a very active retail strip along the main access street, a recycling station, a pig sty, we also have a rather inactive vegetable garden. 

This retail strip runs along the Western side of our site.


The hand over. On 29th August 2014 we pinned up our work and had an informal presentation with the community.
This week we found ourselves designing a community action plan. We discussed existing elements on site and work with it. We then decided our objective from there. we also broke up the plan into realistic and achievable plans. As well as remembering that these plans are only possibilities for the area and also these possibilities have the potential to change.

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