student blog archives

Week 7

REFLECTIONS Breaking down preconceptions At the beginning of the project we only spent a week in studio trying to formulate an approach but still preconceived ideas and notions worked their way into our explanations and planning. For most of us if not all that first site visit was an eye opening and humbling experience breaking […]

Week 7 + Reflection Post

The 29th of August had arrived and a buzz within the Denver Hostel Hall. The atmosphere in the hall on the “final” day of presentation was alive and moving, not sure if it was because of all the rush to pin up all the work on time or if the build up to this day […]

Week 7. Reflection.

Reflecting Back. After meeting with lecturers and role players to review the AT process we found ourselves looking back and learning form the process. Here are the highlights of this years AT studio. New Friends. New groups mean new people. This quarter has formed a lot of friendships that will continue concurrently with AT Studio […]

Week 6 post 3 The End of the very Beginning.

Week 6 Presentation Day. On probably the coldest day of the year the AT team gathered at the cultural hall on top of the Denver mens residence to culminate the AT studio research portion for this year. The intricacies and intimacy of courtyards creates community. Volunteers, ward councillors, NGO’s, students, friends and lecturers all met […]

Week 6

Project Feedback Session Focus on Courtyard Typologies Yesterday (Tuesday 19 August 2014) we had a lengthy presentation and feedback session with our university lecturers about our way forward with the project and our ideas around possible interventions on site. In this presentation we spoke about the scenarios and findings unique to our site. Some of […]

Week 7

The hand over. On 29th August 2014 we pinned up our work and had an informal presentation with the community.

Week 6

This week we found ourselves designing a community action plan. We discussed existing elements on site and work with it. We then decided our objective from there. we also broke up the plan into realistic and achievable plans. As well as remembering that these plans are only possibilities for the area and also these possibilities […]

Week 7: Final Presentations & Construction Deatils

We started off by expressing our understanding of spatial justice vs. spatial injustice in sketch format. Particular to Denver, we found the placing of toilets, waste collection points and water points all in one space and at some of the residents’ doorsteps to be an injustice because of the odour and the amount of waste […]

Week 7

WEEK 7 – Final Presentation The final presentation was held on site in the Denver Beer Hall. It was a combination of a pin up presentation and power point where the residents could walk around and examine the work in greater detail. Here our some of the pictures of our groups pin up.     […]


FINAL PRESENTATIONS Starting Monday morning we were told that there will be not one but two finale presentations. One will take place on campus on Wednesday and the other one will take place Friday on site. Wednesday’s presentation will consist of digital work were stakeholders, community reps and students will be present.  Where Friday’s presentation […]


MODEL, COMMUNITY INTERACTION AND IMPROVING ACCESS THROUGH REBLOCKING This week was all about preparing for the final preparation.We started finalizing our new layout of part I of the settlement to start building the final model. The layout helped us identify interaction areas where a veggie garden can be started, a playground as well as a […]

Week 7

Studio AT Denver: WEEK-7 By Sibusiso, Joana + Team ***FINAL PRESENTATION  *** The final presentation was held on the 27th August at the UJ FADA auditorium where, Denver community representatives and NGO stakeholders were present.  Spatial Justice: understanding how Johannesburg’s spatial layout is affecting the urban poor. Neglected spaces such as mine dumps and buffer strips are becoming options for the […]

D14 Week 7: Final presentation at University of Johannesburg (FADA)

The final digital presentation of the 7 week process that has been achieved at the Denver Informal settlement. This presentation took place at the University of Johannesburg’s, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) on the 27 August 2014. These are the work that has been pinned up for the final presentation. Image 1: Process […]

D14 Week 5, 6, and 7: thought process

Here is a collective of drawings that shows the thought process the group went through  Thought process before final presentation: Image 1 Thought process week after congress  General thought process  General thought process  General thought process   Final thought process before final presentation Thought process before final presentation: Image 1 Thought process before final presentation: Image […]

D14 Video: An insight to the site denver

The following video highlights some of the more challenging aspects of living in a informal settlement based on it’s unique informality. Please click on the link below to watch the video Denver Informal Settlement from Mandy s on Vimeo.

Week 3

Week Six The week started with a progress crit…. Populating the space The group presenting in pecha kucha format our idea progress the studio space the crit group discussion after crit on the way forward The following day we went on a site visit to try and gather more information on the plausibility of our […]

Week 6: Micro – Communities & Nodes

  Concept for our “tool” that would be given to the community for development of the settlement.  Disposal System for waste water thrown out of ukhukhus used as nodes.Placed at comfortable walking distances. Micro – communities built up by landscaping typologies  

Working on our final proposal

We started the week in anticipation of our final design ideas that were floating around for our community action plan that we are going to implement. We all put our final input in for our short, medium and long term plans and proposed that LIGHTING will be our main concept which then got separated even […]

D14 Week 6: Emergency services

The following images represents key problems on site that we have defined in Denver. This images represents the main health and safety issues that are currently on site andhappening around Denver Here are the distances and costs that is mentioned above for the available health servicesfor the residents in the Denver Settlement Crime statistics 

Week 6: Exchange & Collaboration building our Community Action Plan.

Week 6 Group 9 Perception on the ground AT Denver.Developing a way forward with our strategy plan driver, Group9 has seen how each individual can see the same situation but from a completely different view. Just like in architecture how two people can be looking at the same building but see it differently as they […]

D14 Week 5: On site community engagement

Friday the 22 August 2014  Our group went to the Denver Informal Settlement, to teach some of the community members how to make some vertical veggie gardens. This initiative was powered by the rat problem that is currently on site and the availability of land for veggie gardens, these rats are every where! When the […]

D14 Week 5: Post UIA Petcha Kutcha Presentation about Joburg process

The Post UIA Presentation about the Group Work that was taking Place while some Students were at UIA The following few slides are part of a wider collective of the Post UIA Presentation that was held at the University of Johannesburg to inform our fellow students that whent to UIA, what process and work has […]


During week 5 of our 7 week AT Denver Studio project, we were given an extension of the existing brief dealing with the heath implications in the Denver settlement. We interviewed community members about the system and if it needs any improvement.  Through this process we discovered that there is not such a big need, […]

D14 Week 5: Post UIA Petcha Kutcha Presentation about UIA.

The post UIA Presentation about the UIA Congress. The following few slides are part of a wider collective of the Post UIA Presentation that was held at the University of Johannesburg to inform our fellow students that stayed behind. What went on and what was held at the UIA Congress. The following images are the […]


During the fourth week of the AT Denver Studio, some members of our group went to Durban for UIA  (International Union of Architects). A conference bringing together architects from around the world to talk about architecture and its issues. One member of our group stayed behind to represent our group here in Johannesburg and in […]


The week before most of us had to leave for Durban, we wanted to show the community of Denver our work. We hung up all the work we had on washing lines. This fitted in well with Denver. The community came and engaged with us asking questions and critiquing our work. We appreciated their input, […]

Week 3

Week Five – Part two The master students were asked to research and and develop a broad understanding of their assigned Socio-Technical Practitioner. Their research must explore:– the training of your practitioner– the influences of your practitioner– the methods of your practitioners– the theories that guide your practitioner– -the ‘tools’ your practitioner uses to execute their work The […]

Week 3

Week Five – Part one We started the week by catching up. The class split in two groups those who attended congress and those who stayed behind. Each group then prepared a presentation to brief the others in what they have seen an learnt. Following that the group was busy with several activities. Some members went to site […]


Durban Recap Week 5: Pecha kucha presentations. Having come together from Durban and JHB, we were assigned to present on our experiences at UIA and Denver. Groups were divided up and assigned specific topics from UIA to present on. Our groups topic was the Student Debates that took place. This was part of a student […]

Site Specifics

A Wednesday of Mapping Week 4: Diary Entry Thursday (28 July 2014) was our pin up. The preceeding Wednesday was when we decided to do a lot of our work. Thus a full site visit of mapping. By this point our knowledge of the area was pretty good and the level of our mapping was more […]

UIA prep

Pamphlets Week 3: Our Pamphlet for UIA. In order to garner interest down at the UIA, we’ve been tasked to design a pamphlet that we could give to people. In the spirit of design (but mostly rebellion). We made a transformer pamphlet. ] (Front Page. Mithals car hosting our on site meeting with community leaders […]

Week 2

Ethics and Design Template Week 2: Pecha-Prezi As a group we’ve been tasked to explore the ideas of Ethics , Co-operative design and a Code of participation. After a lot of discussing, unpacking and exploring we produced our individual slides and made a Prezi to show to our class mates. Below is a link to our Prezi.    Check out our […]

Week 1 post 2

A something to make friends. Week 1 In keeping with the ‘On the Ground’ theme in the ‘Studio AT Denver project, which focuses on working CLOSELY with community members to form an Aformal environment, we designed the pamphlet below to introduce ourselves to our community. Aformal: When a formal and informal system grow into one […]

Week 1

Places and People Week 1: Intro The third quarter of the UJ academic year will involve a vertical studio between Mtech 1 students and 3rd year students in the architecture department. The ‘Studio AT Denver’ where AT stands for Aformal Terrain will take place in Denver. The project will hopefully span 5 years (in the […]

Week 2

Week Four  UIA and Map on site In week four the group split up as some of the members attended congress and the rest of the group participated in putting together all the groups figure mapping and painting it on site. Stitching together of the Frankenstein map Putting the map on the wall to see how it fits […]

Week 5: Construction Hybridization Concept

Natural topographies, reclaimable bamboo, building rubble & quartzite to create a sustainable farming/food production & biofiltration interventions. Then later scale these up to create place & space that is sustainable & contextually managed.    A biofiltration system and methods of upcycling water using specific ecologies. Overview of the intervention along the water channel. Breakdown of […]

Week 5 Site Visits

This week we experimented on site. We conducted our own work shop on site which allowed residents from Denver to participate in the design process and have a say on what they thought was appropriate and not appropriate. our group was manned in two places and a table was set up to conduct the work […]

Week 5 Task 1 For AT Studio

For this week we had to again make a Pucha Kucha which forced each group to break up into 2 groups. One group which talked about their experiences in the in Johannesburg and the second group which talked about their experience in UIA Durban 2014.

Week 4 Johannesburg AT Studio

This week all the groups collaborated to work on a installation that was to be erected on site (Denver Beer Hall). The installation was to paint the whole map of the Denver informal settlement on a corrugated wall. We had two work shops one at UJ and the other one at Denver this was to […]

Week 3 Task 2 for AT Studio

Our second task for the week was to produce a pamphlet that we would use for UIA Durban 2014. this pamphlet was open ended, meaning that any information, any format, any colors were allowed on the pamphlet which allowed for a vast creativity. The concept of the pamphlet was derived from the transparency of the […]

Week 4 UIA Durban 2014

This week we were privileged to go for UIA which was held in Durban. 4 members from our group had left for uia and 5 members were left in Johannesburg to do further work on the AT Studio Project. At UIA a workshop was conducted by Eric Wright which looked at long term, medium term […]

Week 3 Task 1 for AT Studio

For this week we had two tasks, the first was to produce a pucha kucha that will be show cased at the beer hall on site. We produced alot of information in the a very minimalist manner. This allowed for the information to be read by almost any one and allowed for sketches to be […]

Week 3 Site Visit

We still conducted research during this week where the group split up and viewed different aspects of our site. This research was then placed onto formal maps so that our group could understand them better.

Week 2 Site Visit

For week 2 site visits we conducted many research exercises. Gathering as much information as possible in the little time we had. to do this we had to split up into two groups.

Week 2 Tasks for AT Studio

In the beginning of week two all groups were tasked to develop a pucha kuchs. Which entails groups to provide 20 power point sides timed at 20 seconds each. The topics of discussion were: ethics, collaboration and participate design. By the end of the development of the pucha kucha, our group had a great understanding […]

Week 1 Site Visit

Our first group site visit was quite interesting. Our eyes were wide open and were emotional unprepared to see humans living in such sad conditions. On some of the site visits we focused on the construction of certain informal housing From the site visits we realized that the people of Denver have a great ability […]

On going process and collection of data

Our site visit on Wednesday was of quit an interest as we gathered more information and data on our region A. We went to site and planned it too be very productive as we analyzed what we were tasked to do in Phil’s brief. When we got back to studio we spoke about our site […]

Report on UIA week Presentation

After getting back together with one another from UIA we started sharing our information that we had gathered from the week down in Durban and in JHB. We were then approached by the lecturers and had a thorough discussion of what we all learnt and what we actually brought back, a little more than others […]


WORKING MODEL, CONSTRUCTION PROPOSALS AND A SOCIO- TECHNICAL PRACTITIONER This week we build a working model were we can add our construction proposals to. We also had to finalize our construction proposals as we now have to start drawing full scale details. Our m-tech (Kashiya) had to do a Pecha-Kucha on a research assignment of […]

Pecha Kucha Presentation on Quilian Riano-Research

Below is a Pecha Kucha presentation based on Quilian Riano which Kirsty Fick did research on in order to better our information and process going forward with the Denver informal settlement. The presentation was based on how he approaches work and obstacles in the working environment and how he graphically represents his findings Slide 1:Socio-Technical […]


UIA/Studio This week the group was split into two groups. The one group went down to Durban for UIA and the second group stayed at studio and represented us on site The week was used to finish the on site map at Denver.The Group that stayed in Johannesburg started to build a contour model as […]


PROGRESS PRESENTATION: We had our first presentation on site where the community came to have a look at our work. This presentation consisted of the work we had done in the past 3 weeks. The presentation gave us an opportunity to have a chat with the community and show them the work we do while […]


 SITE MAPPING: Week Two we stared doing our on site mapping. We started looking at a few points this includes:Materials, Electrical, Water, Litter, Boundaries, Land use, Drainage, Nodes/Activity, Rubbish Heaps, Routs We the went back to studio and had a look at what we mapped, this helped us identify problems on site. A few of […]

Week 4: Map Production on Site // UIA

Mapping of figure ground and relevant data of each region were stitched on site to create the frankenstein map.   Groups working on their region of the settlement to add to frankenstein map on site. Gabriella the journalist, observing stitching together the regions. Stencils of Denver  UIA STAND Overlooking rape and abuse of children & […]

Site Pictures – Week two

The first time we went to site and were able to take pictures on site. This is Sipho one of our group members ready to sketch.

Week three: Pecha kucha – Presentation before UIA

This presentation represents what we as a group have accumulated over the few weeks we have learned about our site Denver. The first slide represents the 5 senses with which you hear, see, touch, taste and smell and that is what we applied to our visits to Denver. The second slide is the group members […]

Week 1

Week Three Pamphlet for UIA and Site Presentation We were tasked with compiling a pamphlet for the students attending UIA- Durban to take with and show as a means of starting dialogue.  On site Presentation Identifying possible amenity sites for a design intervention

Week 1

Studio AT Denver: WEEK-3  By Joana Ferro *** In week 3 we decided to start understanding the identified constraints of the physical environment. We together with the community identified 6 main problem areas to focus on which included :1. Site access 2. Water situation 3. Litter 4. Electricity 5. Shack fires 6. Crime. The problem tree was […]

Week 1

Week One – Define these words Formal – (A)Formal – Informal For our task in week one we were given a list of words and had to interpret them on an A0 piece of paper. The Go Team! decided the best approach for this would be to use visual interpretations of the meaning of the words and how […]

D14 Week 3: In-situ interviews

Please note the following interviews are mainly done in Zulu, You may need a translator if you are not fluent in Zulu.

Week 1: Defining & Understanding

We defined words by drawing them in relation to our first thoughts of Denver. During this process, we found that many of the given words could have various perspectives. We followed that with our individual understandings which can be viewed here.

Week 1

Studio AT Denver: WEEK-2 By Sibusiso, Joana + Team SITE ALLOCATION Figure 1: Our site allocation with Jhono Bennett being appointed as our lecturer. Before going to the Denver community to begin our course of research, the group had to collectively decide on a number of questions that just and ethical. Below is a model […]

UIA – Architecture Otherwhere Durban 2014/JHB Collaboration

Eric Wrights workshop #studioATdenverUIA From GP to ND it was… After some time we were all set and ready to travel from Johannesburg, Gauteng to Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal for the annual architecture world cup. UIA Beach interaction We arrived in sunny warm weather and that just set the spirit that it was going to be […]

D14 Week 4: Denver Site Presentation

The Washing line exhibition on site  The week leading up to the UIA Congress we gave the community members a peek/ preview of our work that we have done till up to the, date of the on site presentation. This presentation was done in a Pecha Kucha style presentation, but instead of showcasing it in […]

D14 Week 3: UIA Pamphlet

Each individual group was tasked to create a pamphlet of the work that was done up till the UIA Congress that was held in Durban This pamphlet’s was created to give a brief view of the work that was done so far in the Studio AT Denver project and to encourage discussion with professionals and […]

D14 Week 1:Train Ride to Denver

AFORMAL TERRAIN TRAIN An everyday experience that the residents of Denver face on a daily basis is the journey from place to place using the train as their main form of transportation. Below is a video of the train journey that the UJ Architecture students experienced going to and from site:

UIA Phamphlet and Site Presentations

The week before we were off to Durban for the world cup of architecture known as UIA prepared us to give the community of Denver a Pecha Kucha site presentation on the outcome of our pamphlet for UIA and the progression of our site analysis and mapping. We were tasked to construct a ‘washing line’ […]

Week 1

Week 3_ Site Presentation A presentation of the progress of site analysis and mapping. Residents invited to view and speak to students about the progress. It was an engaging experience with all members of the community.


DEFINE THESE WORDS: We as students were divided into groups and given our first assignment. The assignment entitles us to define words and to create a A0 poster of how we as a group defined these words. We discussed these words and each student started to sketch there understandings.As we went through the words the […]


As 3rd and 5th year students we found that the brief consisted of many complexities and at first felt intimidated. It was vital for us to first unpack the brief to its simplest form.This is our way of unpacking the brief: Ruben Smit Binaica Morar Aisha Balde Looking back at our attempt at unpacking the […]


Our next task was to do a PechaKucha  presentation, which was to prepare us for our site visit when approaching the community of Denver Informal Settlement.  The following codes were given: Codes of EthicsCodes of EngagementCodes of Participative Design Process As a group we came together and started brain storming our ideas of what our […]

Unpacking of the brief – AFORMAL

As we gathered together after being put into our various groups we were assigned our first task which included the unpacking of the brief and researching. We started analyzing the various words and came up with a way we were going to present our A0 poster as we saw the words overlap and need to […]


Vertical and horizontal Informal Studio collaborative project between 3rd and 5th years.

D14 Week 2: Petcha Kutcha; Ethics, Engagement and Participative Design

What are the motivation for engaging the community? Better informed decision making Community building Improving service delivery Process of not further disadvantage marginalized sections of the community  Ethics + Engagement Careful planning and preparation Inclusion and demographic diversity Collaboration and shared purpose Openness and learning Transparency and trust Impact and actions Sustained engagement and participatory culture […]

D14 Week 1: Thought Diagram

We analysed each word and came to the conclusion that the words can’t be used in isolation, but rather needs to be used in conjunction with each other.

Ethics of Engagement: Pecha Kucha

Research and group collaboration. 17-07-2014.                     We should understand that there are different types of people living within the area and that we should respect them and their environment. We should not bring harm to them and also respect the cultural differences between ourselves and them. Diverse groups rallying behind a […]

Week 1

Studio AT DENVER, JOHANNESBURG 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:) …                         […]

Week 1 Tasks For AT Studio

Define these words!!!!! Week one we were tasked to develop an A0 poster which would define certain words in a creative manner. Firstly the group had a debate on these words what they mean in general and what these words could mean for our collaborative design process. We tasked ourselfs to express our meanings of […]