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h o m a i r a hm u n s a m i [M.Arch (prof) UCT. BAS (hons) UCT. BAS UCT]

architectural portfolio v1


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h o m a i r a hm u n s a m i [M.Arch (prof) UCT. BAS (hons) UCT. BAS UCT] E : homairahmunsami@gmail.com www.linkedin.com /pub/homairah-munsami www.archinect.com/homairahmunsami architectural portfolio v1

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| Profile After six incredible years at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, armed with my Masters of Architecture (professional) degree I am ready to start the next chapter in my life. That is to grow as both an architect and future urban designer.  Having the fantastic opportunity to live and work in the United States of America will allow me to broaden my architectural knowledge exponentially, through new interactions contextually, culturally and socially. Simultaneously my

cultural background as a South African, and my strong architectural skill sit, will allow for a different perspective on problems and resolutions. This portfolio shows a few carefully selected projects that highlight my written and visual skills to convey architectural resolutions. I believe the importance of each project is not success or failure, but rather the learning process. Both my graphic and architectural style relies on strong but simple aesthetics in order to communicate written

and visual architectural resolutions, which are detailed, buildable and understandable. Creative yet pragmatic, I am hungry for learning new and honing existing skills within a collaborative environment. I would like the opportunity to expand my career in an environment where I can both contribute and be challenged. “ I know the price of success : dedication, hard work and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.� - Frank Llyod Wright.

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| all projects located in South Africa

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| Selected Work Programming Potential Room for Imagination Social Stair & Youth Center Thohoyandou Highlights of Modern Architecture Other Work & Interests CV full size drawings available upon request |

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PROGRAMMING POTENTIAL Reintroducing the Children’s Psychiatric [non-institution] back into contemporary South African society

MASTERS OF ARCHITECTURE (PROFESSIONAL) DISSERTATION

Michael Foucault in Madness and Civilisation: A history of sanity in the age of reason said, “Modern man no longer communicated with the madman. There is no common language, or rather it no longer exists.” (Foucault, 1964)

2013 Supervisors : Professor Jo Noero , Assoc. Prof Nic Coetzer, Mr Robert de Jager, Francis Carter Grade : Second Class First Divison

The above statement whilst raw in its description of people with psychological disorders as ‘madmen’, clearly describes the problem which exists today, both in South Africa and abroad. Psychiatric Hospitals or “lunatic asylums” as they were previously known evoke a sense of mystery amongst those who have not directly engaged with such an institution. Their role in society, as places of isolation and confinement, is questionable in today’s context. Our perception of them has been shaped by their previous engagement in society, one that can be attributed to both its spatial and perceptual configuration. The connection between architecture and psychological disorders but could possibly be addressed through the way in which we interact with both the natural and built environment and as a result, experience. This dissertation is rooted in a [phenomenological] investigation into the creation of [a] space that may facilitate the healing and treatment of children with psychological disorders, whilst providing an environment that allows for individuality and creativity. It aims to manipulate landscape within a chaotic urban setting, to create an oasis, a gradual process of healing the mind, for children. It will re-introduce the typology of ‘psychiatric hospital’, which can be argued is still valid in contemporary society, through carefully thought out spatial ideas and will challenge previous perceptions both in form and function. It will speak of many “oppositions”: sensitive yet attracting, calming and engaging, healing and creative.

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This dissertation seeks out the existing Red Cross Children’s Hospital Division of Child and Adolescent psychiatry, a leader in the treatment of children in the Cape Town and greater western cape area, as a potential base upon on which new ideas can be tested.


The successful merging of both inside & outside environments of a programme of this nature became the challenge of this project. The placement (left) of the rooms in which group interaction and teaching take place adjacent “the ‘garden’ landscape” reinforces the idea of growth through self exploration and leaning. The children will take part in gardening sessions and learn how to interact in groups within these spaces.

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MAP SHOWING SITE IN RELATION TO EXISTING DIVISION CURRENT LOCATION OF DIVISION

PROPOSED NEW LOCATION

Whilst the existing site offered a more residential setting, ensuring the privacy and sensitivity a programme of this nature required, it logistically was not sufficient. The site, previously the old Rondebosch-Mowbry Hospital was not big enough to account for the growth in the number of children visiting the division, as well as the expansion of the training and research unit. The new site, although sufficient in size, offered far more challenges. Sitting in a more public zone (along the Klipfontein Urban Corridor), the issue of safety ,privacy and noise control are questioned. Whilst the division works relatively closely with the existing hospital, it tries to use a non clinical approach as the first form of treatment. The location next to the hospital could possibly reinforced the ‘stigma’ that already exists in the treatment of mental health, at the same time potentially making it easier for patients and staff to access it faster and quicker. Appropriating the programme with some of the potentials and limits expressed above is a driver in this project.

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UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEMS OF THE EXISTING SITE & POSSIBILITIES OF THE NEW SITE


Below Left : 3D view of site shown in relation to the Red Cross Childrens War Memorial Hospital. Below Right : 3D view and sectional perspective of site with programme appropriated.

RESOLUTION THROUGH NEW INTERVENTION

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>the reconstruction of landscape [through]<

CONSULTATION ROOMS / OUTPATIENT UNIT These occur in both the outpatient and day & in-patient unit. Whilst itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a room that needs to be inspiring and safe for children it also at the same time needs to adequately provide space and resource for the psychologists as they spend most of their time in the space. The rooms need to be private and all should be wheelchair and push chair accessible.

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DAY & IN-PATIENT UNIT Therapeutic Learning Centre (for children up to the age of 13): Meets the needs of both day and in-patients in one facility, but should function separately as to not interfere with each other. The needs of the day and in patients are met within the classroom and consultation rooms, and the inpatients unit accommodates the rooms and resources for caring for the children beyond the school day. The in-pateint unit acoomodates children between the age of 6 and 13.

INTERDEP


PENDENT

> appropriating programme [through]<

SHARED SPACES The following spaces are often shared by the out-patient unit and the day and in patients unit (TLC). The rooms for different therapeutic treatments should be large and bright and airy, and should be able to cater for a larger group of children. The rooms are: Sensory integration room, art therapy rooms, group therapy rooms (family interaction rooms), and larger group rooms. The smaller group rooms for more individual treatment should be reflective of that and thus possess a more intimate feel.

COMMON SPACES This is the first space which both the child and parent experience upon arrival. It should be welcoming and child appropriate. The reception will need a space for administration functions and general staff equipment. A security kiosk to monitor the whole center should be located within this vicinity. The first room the child will experience is the clinc room, before they go through to the consultation, and this both the room (as a destination) and the route or corridor to it (as a journey) should be made exciting.

TRAINING & RESEARCH UNIT Teaching, training and research should be an integral part of a Child and Adolescent Mental Health centre at Red Cross. Thus, the collating if education and academic facilities with the in- patient and outpatient units are a future goal.

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Dried evergreen planters - cut and remodelled into small trees

Lasercut Cardboard - site & context

3D Printed - â&#x20AC;&#x153;tree-houseâ&#x20AC;? counselling pods.

Lasercut Triplex - Childrens Psychitaric division & training and research center

14 Left, from top to bottom : Aeriel and zoomed in views of physical model. 3D printed and laser cut. Right : Site plan of ground floor. Scale 1:250 at A1


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Right, top : Longitudal section aa, bottom, Longitudal section cc, NTS. Below : Longitudal section BB, NTS.

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The â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;hard landscapeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; (left) thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not entirely programmed becomes a place of potential enjoyment for children as well staff and parents. The steps for example can become impromptu stages during playtime. The hard nature is a continuation from the Training and Research division, whilst the vines and subtle planting starts a development towards a more softer landscape.

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Buildings sit “within” a recreated natural landscape , the “wilderness”. The building responds to this recreated landscape through its light structure (below). The outside space becomes a secondary counselling room, allowing children to play and run freely, taking part in self exploring and healing. This space , (left) which drops below road level, becomes a quiet space, away from the public access, in line with the programmatic requirements for the safety of the children. Opposite : structural composition of the “tree house” like counselling rooms. The separate parts are fabricated and subsequently assembled on site.

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A ROOM FOR IMAGINATION Silverstream Primary School : Department of Public Works, South Africa

BACHELOR OF ARCHITECURAL STUDIES (HONOURS) SIMULATED OFFICE 2012 Advanced Design Studio II Supervisor : Francis Carter Grade : Second Class Collboaration with Bianca Schaub and Richard Vincent Norman Mandy Role : design, construction details & drawings, & physical model

Designing a school which falls under a government works budget confronts one with the challenge of incorporating cost-efficiency, permanence, durability and programmatic order as well as the necessary playful, unique, flexible and welcoming nature of a primary school environment. The project aims to provide a safe space in which learning takes priority, but also engage the community it serves through after-hour use and multifunctional spaces, thus uplifting the Manenberg community as a whole.

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The school is designed to foster a sense of home, a learning environment that encourages pupils to feel welcome and at ease, a safe place within a harsh, drug-ridden and poverty-stricken neighbourhood. The concept is a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;back-to-the-wallâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; approach where the building stretches itself out along the entire length of the east side of the site allowing full surveillance from the building onto the rest of the site. The corridor spine stretches the length of the site connecting entrance, admin and kitchen / dining hall with the multi-purpose hall and indoor court at the end of the spine. This spine is a lockable linear route. The informal, covered, outdoor play spaces between classrooms beside the corridor spine encourage, in contrast, a meandering movement route.


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surrounding architectural typology : single story, monotonous and undifferentiated residential units

treet

nS Jorda

existing houses

boundry on east side where existing houses overlook the school - unused and vacant space

i fonte e n i u D

d n Roa

SILVERSTREAM PRIMARY SCHOOL

phoenix high school

meandering informal walkways to back of site, to netball court and grade R classroom

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existing school food kitchen


Concept sketches showing the progression of design ideas. Specialised lockable classrooms were originally positioned closer to the sports field (above left) to act as surveillance for the rest of the school. Due to security reasons they were moved to closer to the corridor spine (above middle and right) along with the reception, kitchen and hall.

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Double volume outdoor teaching spaces are designed to allow armth and light to penetrate spaces below and to foster informal learning environments within a fixed governmental program. They also encourage interaction between different phases above and below. There is a strong focus on strengthening the different experiences of each individual space by both learners and staff as well as promoting a sense of difference within a monotonous and undifferentiated landscape of single story fenced off houses

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Left : Ground floor plan. Scale 1:100 at A0 Right : Physical model of school


SPINE - a spine is defined as a central feature or main source of strength. In the Silverstream Primary School the North-South corridor spine forms the core connective space of the building, connecting all spaces of the school and serving as a lockable after-hour route from which specialized classrooms, reception, kitchen and dining area, grade R access point and hall branch off . The spine combines informal social space, homework space, play space and reading space in the main staircase niches as well as acting as a thoroughfare, connecting the entrance of the school to the hall - the termination of the spine.

Below : Construction drawing of Section AA showing the the design response to the sun, NTS.

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POP - a term referring to elements deviating from the “regular” and in doing so creating interesting niches and spaces for gathering and socializing. In a broader conceptual manner ‘pop’ refers to how something small can make a big impression.


VOID - The voids provide light into the outdoor play areas and creates warm comfortable spaces for the children to play in. They also serve to open select areas of the compact building, allowing interaction between classrooms above and play space below.

NICHE - A niche by definition is a recess into a wall. In the Silverstream primary school these niches occur in the form of first floor classroom outdoor reading, play or homework rooms between the classrooms in the places where classrooms shift or ‘pop’ off the grid, in the seating areas in the corridor spine between the grade R classrooms, in the main staircase niches which form more intimate reading and relaxation spaces, and in the pop-out grade R window seats that serve as connectivity windows to the spine as well as smaller play ‘rooms’.

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152mm x 75mm x 0.9mm aluminium gutter powder coated charcoal grey, stainless steel screw-fixed to GMS Cchannel end purlin

0.58mm galvanized klip-lok roof sheeting colourcoated charcoal grey, roof pitch 8º, on 150 x 75 x 20x 3mm GMS lipped C-channel purlins at 1500mm c/c cut 75mm into I-beams screw-fixed to 50 x 50 x 3mm GMS bridging angles welded to I-beams

9.5mm gypsum plasterboard suspended ceiling from roof purlins, skimmed and painted white

steel ‘clip-on’ roof structure

50 x 50 x 3mm GMS bridging angles welded to I-beams

75 x 50 x 0.6mm rectangular fluted aluminium rainwater downpipe (powder-coated charcoal grey) down centre of GMS H-column flange infill brick walls bagged and painted white with the exception of plastered and painted shifting / ‘popping’ classrooms

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152 x 152 x 12mm GMS H-column (perpendicular to 8° roof) powder coated charcoal grey,welded to 254 x 146 x 12mm GMS I-beam; pre-welded element bolted to base plate fins on site

2 x 8mm GMS vertical fixing fins for bolt connection to steel H-column, welded to vertical 220 x 152 x 12mm GMS plate cast into concrete slab

bolted connecti


Structural Development The primary change in structure after the sketch design proposal was from first floor classrooms as steel framed units (clad in colour-coated aluminium corrugated sheeting) that shift within a larger steel frame supporting the steel roof, to masonry construction on the first floor (plastered and painted colour only where classrooms ‘pop’ or shift from the grid).

vierendeel truss formed by 152 x 152 x 12mm GMS H-column struts at 2000mm c/c welded to top and bottom I-beams, 90° to edge I-beam above; aluminium windows between struts

In summary the structure consists of:

tion

254 x 146 x 12mm GMS I-beam supporting re-inforced concrete bondek roof slab with fall to fullbores 254 x 146 x 12mm GMS I-beam powder coated charcoal grey

1. Load-bearing masonry walls - for all single story spaces such as the grade R classrooms, corridor spine, the admin block and the nutrition block including the dining hall. Walls bagged and painted white. 2. Concrete column and beam with brick infill- for hall and ground floor classrooms below first floor. Concrete columns continue through first floor classroom walls but where column is exposed they change to GMS H-columns. Concrete and steel columns support reinforced concrete in-situ floor slabs and steel ‘clip-on’ roofs. Concrete columns 450 x 450mm for hall and 300 x 300mm for classrooms. Infill brick walls bagged and painted white with the exception of shifting / ‘popping’ classroom walls which are plastered and painted colour as per finishing schedule. 3. GMS ‘clip-on’ steel roofs- for hall and first floor classrooms. For the hall, a system of 203 x 203 x 12mm GMS I-beams and H-columns with I-beams making up trusses supporting 150 x 75mm C-channel purlins and klip-lok roof sheeting. For the classrooms, a system of 152 x 152 x 12mm GMS H-columns and 254 x 146 x 12mm I-beams supporting 150 x 75mm C-channel purlins and klip-lok roof sheeting. Steel structure divided into separate members, pre-welded off site and assembled on Left : Exploded 3D view showing the method and specifications of construction.

concrete column and beam structure with brick infill re-inforced concrete and steel columns supporting reinforced concrete in-situ floor slabs and steel ‘clip-on’ roofs

29 2 x vertical 8mm GMS fins welded onto 300 x 300 x 8mm GMS base plate for bolt fixing to steel H-column; base plate bolt fixed into concrete foundation


Right : 3D view down corridor spine showing main staircase reading niche. Above & below : detail construction drawings of reading niche. NTS

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DETAIL

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SOCIAL STAIR & YOUTH CENTRE Public Space : Cape Town, South Africa

BACHELOR OF ARCHITECURAL STUDIES

2009 (updated & reworked 2013) Design Studio II Tutor : Anya van der Merwe Miszewski

PART 1 - One of the few green spaces in the suburban neighbourhood of Rondebosch, Cape Town, acts as both a thoroughfare and destination point for people using public transport. Whilst it does get a vast amount of foot traffic by people just passing through or waiting for public transport, its is a rather neglected space. The purpose of this exercise is to create a social space, through which more public interaction takes place, making the space more of a destination, even temporarily. The response to the organic site was a very structured arrangement of platforms (formal), along the existing pathways (informal). The platforms, structured objects, direct movement towards a grand staircase leading to a viewing platform in the middle. A subtle response to the organic nature of the park itself. The platforms become spaces for people to rest and kids to play whilst the staircase becomes a leading element that directs ones view towards the beauty of Table Mountain, peaking out through the trees. The hard and ordered nature of the terraced platform is complemented by the use of concrete, whilst the playful staircase is constructed from timber.

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Legend 1. Concrete terracing 2. Water 3. Timber staircase with steel railing 4. Viewing deck

Site Plan scale 1:1000

1. 4

3. 2. 1.

1.


3. Organic / Informal - staircase & viewing deck : the unexpected

2. Geometric / Formal Terraced steps providing structure

1. Existing - drawing from the existing man made pathways that are orgnaic in nature

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section aa scale 1:150


SOCIAL STAIR & YOUTH CENTRE Public Space : Cape Town, South Africa

BACHELOR OF ARCHITECURAL STUDIES 2009 ( updated & reworked 2013) Design Studio II Tutor : Anya van der Merwe Miszewski Grade : First Class

Site Plan scale 1:1000

PART 2 - Taking the strong yet simple gestures of the social staircase, a more pragmatic and benificial ressponse to the site was created in the resolution of a YOUTH CENTRE. The centre would cater to children from the area after school hours, providing a safe and stimulating environemnt for them. The building, like the staircase, is more structured along the exterior, acting as a ‘shelter’, and more organic and playful within the interior. This becomes the ‘safe’ space for the youth. The same material choice from the straicase is applied within the architecture thourgh the use of concrete, timber and glass. Rather than standing out, the building sits eloquntly within the site, and blends in naturally. Legend 1. Entrance & reception 2.Internet room 3.Games Room 4.Administrators office 5.Accounts Office 6.Social workers room 7.Staff kitchen 8.Chair Store

9.Multipurpose Hall 10. Cafe /Kiosk 11.Refuse room 12. Public toilets 13. Stairs to roof garden 14. Outdoor space 15. Parking

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Floor Plan scale 1:500

8.. 9.

7.

6.

10.

14.

13.

6.

11. 12.

14. 1.

5. 4.

3.

2.

15.


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Left : 3D view of interior courtyard space, which is for recreational use by the children. Above : Exploded axonometric explaining the concept and organising of the building.

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3. Organic / Informal - staircase leading to roof garden in the centre of the building : the unexpected

2. Geometric /Formal programme dispersed around the exterior, providing a shelter and structure

section aa scale 1:200

1. Existing - drawing from the existing man made pathways that are orgnaic in nature

section bb scale 1:200

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south elevation scale 1:200


work experience

THOHOYANDOU

TAXI RANK

Transport interchange Limpopo Province, South Africa

RUBEN REDDY ARCHITECTS

*all work shown here under copyright of Ruben Reddy Architects published with permission

2011 Role : Tender and construction drawings & documentations, detailing & design , schedules & finishes. consultations with structural engineers , quantity surveyors and various other role players.

The Thohoyandou Inter-Modal Facility is a multi- purpose facility that will incorporate various land-uses including transport, retail, office and recreation. The scale and diversity of the Facility provides the design team with a unique opportunity to integrate multiple sustainable strategies for energy, water and habitat at a precinct scale. By doing so, the development will become an economic hub that is mindful of the needs of the users and the surrounding community while greatly improving the environment performance of the entire precinct. Objectives of the project : - Promote and regulate the use of public transport within the community. - Improve the system capacity. - Improve the operational efficiency. - Reduce congestion and minimise conflict. - Promote safety and comfort. - Reduce passenger walking distance and delays - Provide adequate facilities for informal and formal traders thereby promoting business. 38

The project consists of a taxi rank and a bus rank, situated on two separate sites, but which are connected by a link road, which is a vital part of the design. Although the design concepts for the different facilities are independent of each other, they both speak the same visual language as inspiration for the designs came from the culture as well as the flora and fauna indigenous to the area.


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Above : Thohoyandou Taxi Rank shown in relation to the bus rank (below left). Right : Site development Plan highlighting the location of the informal trade stalls.

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One of the characteristics of all South African transport facilities, especially train stations, bus, or taxi ranks are the presence of informal trade stalls. These stalls are the location for many locals to sell goods and as a result provide an income to care for their repective families as well as to contribute to the local economy. In order to regularise and keep track of the various traders, stalls are now deisgned and built in conjunction with the architecture of the facilities.

Below : construction drawings of three variations of the informal trade stalls. NTS

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Below : Construction drawing of cross section Section VV with zoomed in detail of the facade.

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THOHOYANDOU

BUS RANK

Transport interchange Limpopo Province, South Africa

RUBEN REDDY ARCHITECTS

*all work shown here under copyright of Ruben Reddy Architects published with permission

2011 Role : Tender and construction drawings & documentations, detailing & design , schedules & finishes. consultations with structural engineers , quantity surveyors and various other role players.

The Thohoyandou Inter-Modal Facility is a multi- purpose facility that will incorporate various land-uses including transport, retail, office and recreation. The scale and diversity of the Facility provides the design team with a unique opportunity to integrate multiple sustainable strategies for energy, water and habitat at a precinct scale. By doing so, the development will become an economic hub that is mindful of the needs of the users and the surrounding community while greatly improving the environment performance of the entire precinct. Objectives of the project : - Promote and regulate the use of public transport within the community. - Improve the system capacity. - Improve the operational efficiency. - Reduce congestion and minimise conflict. - Promote safety and comfort. - Reduce passenger walking distance and delays - Provide adequate facilities for informal and formal traders thereby promoting business. 44

The project consists of a taxi rank and a bus rank, situated on two separate sites, but which are connected by a link road, which is a vital part of the design. Although the design concepts for the different facilities are independent of each other, they both speak the same visual language as inspiration for the designs came from the culture as well as the flora and fauna indigenous to the area.

Above : Site development plan of Bus Rank


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Below : Construction drawing of cross section Section VV Right : Construction drawings of load area canopy

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HIGHLIGHTS OF MODERN ARCHITECTURE Intentions, Reuslts, Experience & Influences

BACHELOR OF ARCHITECTURAL STUDIES (HONOURS) EXAMPLE OF WRITING

“A modern, harmonic and lively architecture is the visible sign of an authentic democracy.” Walter Gropius

2012

The Nedbank building in Durban stands to be one of my favourite buildings, and is my inspiration and drive for studying architecture. The building is designed by Norman Eaton, and is ‘considered by many to be his finest work’. ‘Eaton’s bank is certainly the most striking in its vicinity. It commands attention because its size, form and finish are all utterly dissimilar to those of surrounding buildings...’ Growing up in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal, I used to take a drive down West street every single Sunday afternoon with my parents, a family tradition that continued up until last year, and on the way back home, we would drive up Smith street, now known as Anton Lembede street. Just past the city hall, and to your left, sits The Nedbank Building. In all honesty, I only truly noticed this magnificent piece of architecture last year, when I had the privilege of working in the Old Mutual Building just across from it. After completing my undergraduate studies, and moving back home to Durban for my year of work experience, armed with all the architectural knowledge I had acquired, I started to look at Durban in a new light, seeing buildings, and spaces that I had previously overlooked, differently. The Nedbank building, completed in 1965, is considered to be a regional piece of modern architecture to be built during the Modern Movement (Viviers, A (2011)).Norman Eaton, can be considered to be regional modernist architect, and is influenced by the work of Le Corbusier, as well as Frank Lloyd Wright.

Advanced History & Theory of Architecture Tutor : Professor Jo Noero Grade : First Class

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“To be modern is to live a life of paradox and contradiction. It is to be overpowered by the immense bureaucratic organisations that have the power to control and often to destroy all communities, values, lives; and yet to be undeterred in our determination to face these forces, to fight to change their world and make it our own. It is both revolutionary and conservative...” (Berman, M (1988)).

The Nedbank Building is both visually and spatially a tranquil relief in an otherwise hot, humid environment eminent in Durban. The external elevations of the building were reliant of the functional spatial requirements of the spaces behind, and in the design of the building much thought was given towards the climate. The ceramic screening, a distinctive feature of the Nedbank Building, is not only visually pleasing, but was also utilised to challenge the heat of Durban. The building makes reference to orthodox modernism charecteristics, in particular the ones defines by le Corbusier, such as the pilotis, which was to lift the structure of the ground, Although the building does not directly lift itself off the ground with columns, it does achieve the same effect by having a podium on which the building sits. Another similarity is the roof garden, which provides a space of calm and comfort in the middle of the


usually busy, hot and noisy town. Lastly the open and free interior void of cluttered structural supports is reference to Le Corbusier open floor plan whereby floor space was free to be configured as they wished (Harrop-Allin, C (1975)).

Image (left): The Nedbank Building: Front Elevation. (Right): The Nedbank Building: Roof Garden. Images: Harrop-Allin, C (1975), Norman Eaton: Architect, A study of the work of the South African Architect Norman Eaton.

Image: (left) Nedbank Building showing the raised platform on which it sits. (Right) The building in its surrounds. Images: Homairah Munsami, 2011.

“One of the eternal rules of great architecture is that it must stand up, visually, from two vantage points: from far away and from close quarters. The masters of the Acropolis, of the Gothic and of the renaissance all knew this truth; only in recent years has it been forgotten, for much of modern architecture looks simple and clear from a distance, but only flat and somewhat dull at close quarters.” (Halg, B. (ed.) (1985))

Image (left): Frank Lloyd Wright ‘Falling Water’, Pennsylvania. (Right): Villa Savoye, ‘Sao Paulo Museum of Art’, France. Images: Filler, M, (2007), Makers of Modern Architecture.

The Nedbank Building then is a good example of a great piece of architecture, because at closer inspection the smaller more intricate details of the building are visible, whiles from a distance the building is still diagrammatically and clearly understood. In referencing Clinton Harrop-Allin in Norman Eaton: Architect, A study of the work of the South African Architect Norman Eaton, Norman is said to be a devotee of an organic architecture, similar to Frank Lloyd Wright. This ‘organic architecture’ was achieved as a result of the ‘complete harmony of the parts of a building’ as well as the blending and integration of the architecture into its surroundings. “His talents were channelled by the architectural theory of the Greeks and Romans’, and here is where the original roots of organic architecture as referenced by both Eaton and Wright, lie. “He studied history because he was convinced that it held vital lessons in terms of contemporary practice.”

Another architect, working in Brazil around the same time that Norman Eaton was working in South Africa, is Lina Bo Bardi. Lina, like many other modern architects practicing in Brazil at the same time, she believed “the architecture they produced responded to the needs of their unstable nations’. “There search for a national identity, therefore, developed between two extremes, a situation that could not but engender tensions and conflicts. In many cases, antagonism, led to popular revolts and violent incidents. Within these difficult conditions, the above-mentioned architects attempted to overcome these ideological positions to demonstrate, through their urban and architectural work, what a modern and hybrid national culture should be.” (Bednarek, N, (ed.) (2003))

Lina Bo Bardi, just like Eaton, also took a regionalist approach to her work. Her buildings, although incorporating orthodox modern characteristics, were contextually based. Unlike Eaton though, her work also took a socio-political stand point, a reaction to the happenings taking place around her. Just like the other Brazilian modern architects, Bo Bardi’s work combines “attributes of European and North American Modernity- the influence of Le Corbusier is clearly visible with architectonics elements borrowed from the national cultures. This synthesis led to distinctive and fascinating architectures and spaces, inseparable from their context.” (Bednarek, N, (ed.) (2003))

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Image (left): Lina Bo Bardi ‘Glass House’, Brazil. (Right): Lina Bo Bardi ‘Sao Paulo Museum of Art’.


“ The forgotten (or supposed) truth about modernism was that the radical new forms of architecture and urbanism its practitioner advocated were only parts of broad and highly detailed agendas for the reform of life in everything from economics and politics to spirituality and class equality.” (Filler, M, (2007))

In referencing Bo Bardi, and Eaton, there work derived from the wants of the client and the demands of the surrounds. This regionalist and functionalist approach, a characteristic of the modern movement, is what influences me in my own work. During my undergraduate studies at UCT I was ‘forced’ (and I used the word force here lightly) to engage in the design of conceptually driven buildings. This is something that I battled with. The idea of a ‘concept’ to me then becomes a more ephemeral approach to architecture. And here I use an example of my parents. My parents, both intellectual individuals, enjoy the culture and pleasure that art has to offer, even though they were never brought up exposed to the classical art culture. When experiencing a building however, I see their enjoyment in good adequately provided spaces, rather than trying to discover what the concept the architect is trying to explore. I reference Louis Kahn’s Kimbell museum in Fort Worth Texas, which I had the pleasure of visiting last year with my parents. Kahn, like Eaton, saw Classical architecture, ‘as the necessary starting point for a return to contemporary architecture with a more contemporary spiritual grounding’. The building is truly a magnificent piece of architecture. My parents, from talking to them after we had left, had not only enjoyed the art on display, but also the building, Should then, the driving force behind every building or public space designed by an architect, be the passion to create pleasant spaces rather than conceptually driven buildings? Their enjoyment of the artwork was also encouraged by the way in which they moved through the space, and this is obviously reliant on the architecture of the building and the ideas of the architect. One can see that in the design of the Kimbell that Louis Kahn focussed his attention on how to bring out the best in an artwork and the way in which the people will experience the space, a functional and regional approach.

Image (1-4): Warm interior spaces of the Kimbell Museum, Fort Worth. Feeling of warmth and intimacy. Images: Homairah Munsami, 2011.

The Kimbell Museum is all about the experience of the internal spaces. It’s an introverted building, which only truly reveals its magnificence once you experience it, this can be contrasted to Tadao Ando’s Museum of Modern Art in Fort Worth, which sits across the road from the Kimbell. The museum which was completed in 2002 can be considered a postmodern piece of architecture. In Ando’s words he tried “to relate the fixed form and compositional method to the kind of life that will be lived in the given space and to local regional society. My mainstay in selecting the solutions to these problems is my independent architectural theory ordered on the basis of geometry of simple forms, my own ideas of life, and my emotions as a Japanese.” The building concept called for diffused and reflected light in the building, which with its extremely high glass facades and cantilevered roof structures, comes across as being an extroverted building, however paradoxically making the spaces inside the building seem cold, and uninviting.

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Image (left): interior spaces of the Kimbell Museum, Fort Worth contrasted with the interior space of the Modern Museum of Art, Fort Worth by Tadao Ando. A more cold and hard characteristic is given communicated. Images: Homairah Munsami, 2011.


This brings me then to the question of ‘divided representation’. When I talk about divided representation here I am referring the to the ‘ideas’ and ‘concepts’ that architects have about a building, which is represented in their drawings and schemes, yet sometimes not fully realised in the end product. With the focus on concept rather than function, regionalism and as a result culture, this divide becomes more evident in the buildings produced today. If we bridge this gap, then as Dalibor Vesely in Architecture in the Age of Divided Representation puts it, “ the restoration of this communicative role of architecture as the key to the restoration of architecture as the topological and corporeal foundation of culture” (Vesely, D (2004)), as architecture should be communicators of culture in which we live. The aim of this paper was not only to suggest that that many of the contemporary ideas of architects in the contemporary (modern) age were not infact new, but had their roots in the eras which preceded it, but also to expand on the work of a few architects and their work that influences my thinking. I draw upon certain aspects of each of the architects aforementioned, at the same time critiquing and questioning their decisions. I use similar approaches as precedent in my own work, sometimes resulting in a critique of their approaches and ideas. The idea of a regionalist approach to architecture and design is appealing especially today, when the issue of sustainability in the built environment is so prevalent and important. We sometimes only gain a full understanding of a place and its characteristics by studying it and applying to it. When designing and moving forward as an architect, I think about my own family and the way in which they react to buildings and spaces, from a non architectural background. Studying architecture, or even art, makes one see the world in a truly different light. It opens your mind up to other possibilities and thoughts which may or may not be picked up by people who have not been exposed to architecture and art on a deeper level that we engage in by studying it. My aim through in my architecture in the future is to allow everyone to experience the spaces within, in the same way we, as architects experience such spaces. “To be modern is to live a life of paradox and contradiction. It is to be overpowered by the immense bureaucratic organisations that have the power to control and often to destroy all communities, values, lives; and yet to be undeterred in our determination to face these forces, to fight to change their world and make it our own. It is both revolutionary and conservative...” (Berman, M (1988)).

Bibliography Eisenman, P, (2004), Eisenman Inside Out: Selected Writings 1963-1988, New Haven & London: Yale University Press. Berman, M (1988), ‘The Experience of Modernity’, pp. 35-48, in Design after Modernism –Beyond the Project, Thackara, J. (ed.), London: Thames and Hudson. Bednarek, N, (ed.) (2003), Cruelty & Utopia: Cities and Landscapes of Latin America, New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Halg, B. (ed.) (1985), UIA. International Architect: Southern Africa (Issue 8), London: International Architect Publishing Ltd. Harrop-Allin, C (1975), Norman Eaton: Architect, A study of the work of the South African Architect Norman Eaton 1902-1966, Johannesburg: C.Struik Publishers. Hearn, F (2003), Ideas that Shaped Buildings, pp. 1-21, London: MIT Press. Filler, M, (2007), Makers of Modern Architecture, New York: The New York Review of Books. Frampton, k, (1992), Critical Regionalism: Modern Architecture and Cultural Identity’, pp 315-327, in Modern Architecture: A Critical History, London: Thames and Hudson. Placzek, K, A. (ed.) (1970), Four Great Makers of Modern Architecture, New York: Da Capo Press. St John Wilson, C, (1995), The Other Tradition of Modern Architecture: The Uncompleted Project, pp. 6-78, London: Academy Editions. Vesely, D (2004), Architecture in the Age of Divided Representation: The Question of Creativity in the Shadow of Production, Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. Online: Viviers, A (2011), 24 Hours in Durban, Available at: http://www.visi.co.za/content/ article/130/24-hours-in-durban, Accessed: (18th May 2012). Images: The Nedbank Building: Homairah Munsami, 2011, Durban. Kimbell Museum: Homairah Munsami, 2011, Fort Worth, Texas. The Modern Museum of Art Fort Worth: Homairah Munsami, 2011, Fort Worth, Texas. Cover Page: The Nedbank Building, Homairah Munsami, 20122, Durban. Lina Bo Bardi: ‘Glass House’- www.interiordesign.net. ‘Sao Paulo Museum of Art’ – www.brazilmycountry.com.

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OTHER WORKS & INTERESTS

2009 Technology II Supervisor : Heinrich Wolff Grade : First Class - Facade (Screen & window) detail of a gallery project created in Design Theory II

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2010 Technology III Supervisor : Heinrich Wolff Grade : First Class - Tensile structure (Train station canopy)


2009 Representation II Supervisor : Leon Coetzee, Assoc. Prof Nic Coetzer Grade : Chosen as winner , poster reproduced & displayed around school and by email -Poster for the School of Architecture, Planning & Geomatics advertising an upcoming talk

2012 Advanced Technology Supervisor : Francis Carter Grade : Second Class - Case study of structural composition using a building of our choice : - Caltrans District 7

2013 Design Dissertation Supervisors : Professor Jo Noero , Assoc. Prof Nic Coetzer, Mr Robert de Jager, Francis Carter Grade : Second Class - First Division - Photoshop collage

Graphics

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OTHER WORKS & INTERESTS

Handrawing : Istanbul , Turkey 2013 54 Right : The Blue Mosque, seen from a window in the Haga Sophia, Sultanahmet.


“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” ― Ansel Adams

black & white photography | series of three Top : Nedbank Building by Norman Eaton, Durban South Africa, 2011. Below: Istanbul, Turkey 2013.

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â&#x20AC;&#x153; [Homairah] exhibits a promising skill set, a clear and legible drive to succeed and a level-headedness in her decision making; traits fundamental, but sometimes rare, within the industry.â&#x20AC;?

- Sudeshna Nair, Architect & Town Planner

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Architectural Portfolio V1 | Homairah Munsami | 2014  
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