Facilitating change through design

CREATIVE: The students presented their work to community representatives.

BTech Architectural Technology students are gaining valuable work experience and life skills while working with an NGO to design a public gathering space for a Philippi community.

Senior lecturer and BTech coordinator, Jolanda Morkel, said students are working with NGO Ubuhle Bakha Ubuhle, to come up with a design proposal for an existing site in Sweet Home Farm, to explore design possibilities for consideration and possible future implementation.

The aim is for the students to consider the community in the process of design and to increase the opportunity for social impact.

The students are required to align the needs of the community with the current water crisis to create innovative spaces where the community can congregate, access natural and digital resources as well as trade.

BTech lecturer and water activist, Caron von Zeil, who just returned from attending the Global Water Conference in Brazil, is helping the students to understand the impact of important water issues on design decisions.

“The project gives BTech students the opportunity to work with the community, listen to their needs and to come up with valuable solutions,” said Morkel.

Morkel said the project has not only shown students that architecture can be practiced in different ways but also taught them that through design, quality urban spaces can be created, that are dignified and uplifting.

Olwethu Jack, a former student and the founder and general manager of Ubuntu Growing Minds, also gave the students a presentation of his work in informal settlements, after which he gave interim feedback on the students’ work.

Morkel said the students were inspired by his approach to facilitate change and transformation in communities, and empower them through his facilitation.

The project was coordinated by lecturer, Lloyd Pretorius.

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