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Fragments: A Place for Architecture

Part 2 Project 2002
David Louis
John Sharp
University of KwaZulu-Natal Durban | South Africa
" Fragments - A place for Architecture" is a manifesto for new urban conditions to accommodate architectural interventions within the "fragments" that exist in our city.

The city produces its own wastelands: sites, residual urban structures and ill-defined links severed from the traditional centre by railway lines, motorways and fly-overs.

These unresolved spaces within our city create a confusing yet potentially liberating situation. For it is here in-between, in the absence of existing precedents to develop and codify these areas, that traditional planning authority and their methods have become obsolete.

This fuels an architectural ambition intended to fully benefit from the latent potential of these "derelict" sites, drawing inspiration from the poetic beauty of the seemingly "artless", "empty" and "mundane".

With a design philosophy deeply rooted in an optimistic attitude towards the potential of our contemporary (D)urban landscape, it is the intention that these quasi-programmed spaces can and will be colonised at will by an emerging architecture.

This dissertation seeks to devise a powerful building typology attuned to these landscapes hence...

"Fragments - A place for architecture"

The intended architectures are essentially catalytic interventions at strategic, geometric points of "loss" in the city where an exciting opportunistic architecture emerges, moulded by the events that take place on the local site whilst still contained within the overall geometry of the city.

Site and space will acquire new dimensions that will constantly put the traditional sense of scale and proportion and movement to the test. They show a multiplicity of possibilities both formally and functionally: this acts as a stimulant for architectural mobility, experimentation and freedom.

In addition consumers society's dependence on road infrastructure and the easy access they provide to passing or marginal zones makes for highly visible, unutilised parcels, the potential of which is begging to be exploited.

Collectively these architectures will become a system of architecture, an "urban acupuncture"; nodal urban stimulation in the interest of promoting overall (D)urban well-being.

In this context, the intended programme for the (D)urban fragments aims to reconcile site, culture and personal urban experience, through creating an architecture devoid of preconceived (D)urban notions.

David Louis
John Sharp

The design project entitled "Fragments - A Place for Architecture" has expanded the conventional boundaries of the Design Project. In scope, this proposal demonstrates the ability of successfully addressing a range of adaptable solutions in any number of locations.

The author has identified the universal preponderance of urban leftover space and cleverly sets about addressing appropriate interventions suited to the individual needs and contexts of these "wastelands". In the milieu of the African City, and in this particular instance, that of Durban, the functional needs of the city are skillfully addressed in a case by case study, resulting in a kit of well-resolved and technically sound components that may be readily assembled in a range of configurations. The author proceeds to test these configurations within a number of contexts, and, it his felt, has achieved commendable success within these applications. The result: an appealing structure of adaptable form addressing appropriate functional requirements, while creating relevance and meaning to an otherwise disregarded fragment of space.

The project has been rigorously documented and is of the highest standard in terms of architectural exploration, presentation, computer graphics and choice of visual material. The submission is deemed to be meritorious in its entirety.

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