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M.A.D.D.( Music Art Dance Drama)in the city: D(urban) Arts Junction

Part 2 Project 2004
Charlene Pillay
Steffi Pathmarajah
University of KwaZulu-Natal Durban South Africa
Present society offers a rich, complex and in many ways more paradoxical spectrum of choices than ever before. How do we plan and build for a world that becomes more heterogeneous everyday? The architect is divided between programmes in continuous societal transformations and the task of integrating them with the world of conventional things, in accord with political circumstances and the aspirations to that which is ideal, complete and unified. This has resulted in a change in the historical mission of architecture, owing to the complexity of social relationships and interactions, and also to the radical collapse of time in which social exchange takes place. It is no longer sufficient for architecture to accommodate or express ideas and events, but rather that it participates in social transformations, becoming more fluid and kinetic than ever before.

In theory, M.A.D.D In the city is a search for “a new approach” in both language and tools of architectural expression. Instead of a complete system, which results in a finished, defined building. It is an open work, inseparable from the urban tissue. While simultaneously having the capacity to adapt to a changing environment and remain ‘open’ to the new or the ‘unexpected’, it is an attempt to create an architecture, which is no longer, just a part of the urban setting, but one that performs on the urban stage.

In practice,is an intervention that reinterprets conventional performance space and galleries and caters for the needs of a changing SA urban culture. An interpretation that fuses contemporary performance space with the spontaneity of street art, and is easily accessible to city inhabitants . It is devoid of cultural association but rather a facilitator of dialogue between the arts and the public. The location in the heart of Durban provides the eclectic backdrop for a newness of post-apartheid Durban present amongst the shadows of colonial Durban past, an expression of culture through creativity.

Charlene Pillay
Steffi Pathmarajah

This submission won the acclaim of the examiner’s for its engagement with complex urban issues in a changing society and the production of a high quality document suited to the professionalism of a coffee table issue.

The multi-faceted research exploration has borne a strong theoretical underpinning for the subject matter. The document cleverly synthesizes the findings and results in a gem of a building portraying the multi-cultural diversity and interchangeability of present day central Durban.


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