Week 1


By Joana Ferro
***THE TEAM***
Introducing our team consisting of a collaboration
 between four third year and 2 Mtech 1 students. 

Team members include Melissa Brand, Crystal Francis, 

Vikash Mithal, Pierre Perrault, Joana Ferro and Sibusiso Lwandle

And introducing our theme song:) … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oK19iX3L87w

Summary of the brief. Sibusiso Lwandle

Presentation unpacking relevant definitions. 
The next few images will hone in on some of the definitions of the poster to better clarify our representation and understanding of the words: 
Model representing the AFORMAL within the formal and informal. 

Model representing Collaboration and the importance of teamwork.
Representation of the importance of both sides working together,
 sharing skills and knowledge to attain successful processed outcomes.

Nuance represented subtle differences or of gradients of meaning. 

Participation and how various entities can be
 represented in the final outcome.
Pre-site visit preparation questions with the code of
ethics strongly weaved into the exercise.


From this point the group focused on the themes/ codes of ethics, engagement and participatory design. After the group engaged in a group discussion they were furthermore split up into groups of two that focused on the different themes for the Pecha Kucha presentations.

Early drafting of the Pecha Kucha


“Good morning, today as a team we will discuss the themes of ethics, engagement and participative design for architects in approaching a community, its importance as well as examples of their outcomes.”


“Ethics, are the basis for all human relationships, interactions and engagement. Thus engagement, then becomes the platform on which all participatory design can take place, which is then the birthplace of co-production – which is a process involving, two or more parties, geared towards the formulation of a common vision.”


“It is difficult to attempt to use the learned solutions of academia, in addressing the challenges of an environment that was not established on the same principles. In a context where the residents are the designers of their own space, there is a call for a mind shift, where the role of expert shifts from the architect, to the resident.”


“RESPECT:          Through research and discussion within our group, we came to the realization that to fulfill all of our ethical obligations towards the community we simply need to respect them as human beings. To treat the community in a manner that we would like to be treated ourselves.”


“We also feel that equality plays an important role in ethics. This will encourage the community to collaborate with us as designers, the private sector and government to work towards a shared vision that could potentially better their lives.”


“Transparency will help build a trustworthy relationship between us and the community members. Being completely honest with our intentions and our responsibility. To involve the community with all decision making that will occur within the next few weeks.”


                        “Is the foundation of trust…you cannot have the one without the other.
We as architectural students have been entrusted with a key to unlock and discover new relationships and forms of engagement between the government, private sectors, the community and ourselves, representatives of the scholastic domain.”


“ENGAGEMENT:           is any process that involves the public in problem solving or decision making, as well as uses public input to make decisions.”

“Architects have useful skills that allows expression and communication to happen and develop in many forms, through simple diagrams, model building, writing and so on which accommodates individual learning differences promoting confident engagement. They also have the ability to see the bigger picture and solve complex problems.”

“BUT are we listening and asking the right questions?…especially to the people it most affects, who will have to live with the consequence of what professionals decide for them. Sometimes the most important solution is not about devising the right answers but about asking the right questions.”

Co-design is a philosophy which states that if every individual has different ideals and perspectives, then any design process must acknowledge this. Therefore, we turn to the community to validate an approach, a strategy or choice of tactic based on their experiences and the professionals or the organisations provide their expertise in tandem.”

“Participatory Design Process, can be interpreted as, a process where design ideas are driven by community feedback.”
“This is achieved by taking community wants and needs and finding an intermediate between them, distilling this information and ultimately filtering out their most important needs.”

“This process includes, Presentation of findings and ideas; the discussion thereof and the refinement of these ideas based on discussions.”
“This finally results in a combined vision between all parties which are involved.”


“Slovo park project which the 1:1 Agency of engagement was a part of was an example where time was spent on engaging with the community extensively through mapping and a community participatory process.”


“At the end the project was relevant to the community. friendships grew and remain maintained and the ascertain through engagement grew into friendship and through that respect and dignity partook in creating a project that the community can be proud of, as well as confident to conquer more projects now that they know they can”.


“Manica football for hope centre in Mozambique is one such community that was impacted due to lack of community participation. FIFA and Architects for humanity role played a superficial engagement that appears to have been consistent through documentation but in fact only happened once or on occasion. No local mapping was done, no feedback sessions, and the process mainly consisted of empty design consultations.”

“The NGO was also falsely accused of stealing money and The design changes of the centre was ultimately controlled by foreigners that had never been to Manica. All the events leading to the opening of the centre left the community coldD and distant as what was given to them was appreciated but more could have been done to make this permanent project more of a success.”

“It is evident that professionals and organisations need to focus more on giving communities experiential engagement opportunities.. Although more time and money will be spent initially the projects can, however fulfil various functions and morph over time with the community making it a valuable investment. The friendships that will be established will benefit professionals and community members a like over time.”



Our first site visit as a group was on Friday the 18 July 2014 which coincided with 

Mandela Day where 67 minutes was to be shared doing acts of public service. Our 

contribution to Denver together with the collaboration of the community was to paint a 

portion of the old beer hall that will be used to paint an intuitive map of the site. The map

 will aid as a tool for where collective dialogues with the community can take place. No 

cameras where allowed on site for the first week. Below are series of sketches from 

site and initial design ideas. We met our community volunteer, his name is Temba from 

KZN and does not speak English very well…most of our communication with him takes

 place in Zulu. Temba has been very friendly and informative.

Drawing of the central communal space at the Denver site.
Initial community introduction with the students of UJ. 

As a group we found the electricity solutions on site facilitating.

A series of conditions and social aspects on site.

Initial understanding of electrical supply in the settlement.

Proposed mixed media draft that might come to illustrate how the formal gave rise to the informal.