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TRANSIENTS

Part 2 Project 1999
Morag Campbell
University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg South Africa


I feel the emerging spatial occupation has the potential to inform architectural design.
Acknowledgement of this change and redefinition of spatial occupation in the contemporary Inner
City, Johannesburg, demands an understanding of the complex demands presently made on space.
An appropriate response to these new social configurations necessitates an understanding of how
individuals create, define and occupy their own space on a temporary basis within the city. Validity
is given to ways, outside of the formal process, to spatial occupation of individuals previously
marginalised by bipolar separation. A process of discovery through systematic research into the
inhabitants of the city space established a dialogue, and acted as basis for transformation in the
creation of spaces that prepare the grounds for multiple transient occupations.

The built environment is conceived as a heterogeneous organism that functions through the
democratic framework and thereby challenges the previous static hierarchical architectural models.
Investigations into this temporal possibility of the new urban African city, evolved into a new
interpretation and understanding of the inter-relationships between the public and private agenda.

This design intervention is an investigation into the nature of an organisational enabling framework
that promotes individuals to transiently take possession of space while functioning within the
plurality of the urban fabric, thus promoting the coexistence of regulated and deregulated activities.
Site specific and issue based, it is a quest for spatial comprehension of the complex interdependent
and interconnected relationships between different activities, and built form.

Please note, that slides are complemented by a more complete set of drawings attached in A3
portfolio; transients - an approach to the evolving public realm of the inner city, Johannesburg.


morag joy campbell | university of witwatersrand | south africa

Morag Campbell


TOPICAL THINKING - framed the discourse for the 1998 THESIS Bachelor of Architecture
program. Although 'design discourse' in the Department of Architecture is directed at independent inquiry,
current investigations by thesis candidates have tended to reflect the events and concerns in the
contemporary SA city. The city, as perhaps the highest form of built human expression, therefore, becomes
a natural locus for speculation and thinking topically. Individual topics have been specifically identified
through a process of research around issues of transformation in relation to emerging political processes,
as well as to contemporary architectural theory. In particular, the critique of type and its associative
limitations in relation to the assumptions and certainty associated with the
position have predominated. The discretionary influence of both precedent and the linear
method promoted by this departments conception of architectural history demands
direct confrontation. Site and Program have been interpreted as verbs demanding a researched and argued
uncovering of 'siting and programming' as core design generators. These issues have been re-interpreted
through a 'narrative process' whereby interactive exercises sought to provoke difference and effect new sets of social arrangements. Consequently, process has been privileged above that of final product, in an attempt to overturn the other hegemony of material culture which seems to be the predominant global value. Phenomenal experience and temporal possibility have become checks for developing a thoughtful and
resilient material culture within the architectural inquiry.

Selected for its provocative and meaningful contribution to debates surrounding the post-apartheid city, Morag's project, has evolved an intelligent response to conditions of nomadism in the inner city. Through in depth readings of cultural constructs in the emerging city, her project has set new spatial relations for addressing the condition 'Inter-modal Transit and Informal Trade' in the transforming city. It has been thinking process rather than formal resolution that has premiated the selection.

1999
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