Agenda-setting thought leaders who work in creating city spaces around the country will descend on Nelson Mandela Bay from today for the city’s first ever Urban Assembly of architects, academics administrators and the public.
“The Eastern Cape Institute of Architects’ (ECIA) inaugural Urban Assembly is an attempt to draw together disparate sections of society and industry contributing to place-making initiatives so a conversation about re-imagining cities of the future can be stimulated,” said ECIA president Tim Hewitt-Coleman.
A series of highlights mark each day of the three-day event, culminating in a debate-orientated climax on the final day, where top South African city-makers debate a motion aimed at addressing the crises in South African posed by the ECIA.
Amongst the 20 other nationally acclaimed and internationally operating speakers are Professor Henri Comrie, a Cape Town based architect and urban designer and associate professor and chair of the Master of City Planning and Urban Design Programme at the University of Cape Town.
He is joined by Dr Roger Fisher, whose interest in architecture “as a phenomenon of culture within the ecosystem, and in the innovative and resourceful use of materials and technologies so that the needs of the broad community are aesthetically satisfied”, incorporates his love of heritage and history within the built and cultural environment; and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) Professor Gavin McLachlan.
The Mandela Bay Development Agency’s (MBDA) chief executive Dr Pierre Voges also responds to the motion together with his contemporaries from the Johannesburg Development Agency, Thanduxolo Mendrew, and Andrew Boraine, head of the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership and former Cape Town city manager.
“While the final day engages the motion, the first two days are equally important and punctuated by top speakers from the urban domain and a drive to educate young learners and university students about architecture and built environment opportunities,” said Hewitt-Coleman.
In particular, Nina Saunders, outgoing deputy president of the South African Institute of Architects and a practising architect focused on urban regeneration and the opportunities presented through cultural, social and heritage projects as catalysts to this end, will address attendees at the invite only breakfast to launch the congress.
The afternoon of day one and the whole of day two is youth focused under the theme ‘expectations’ and open to the public. It features a series of speakers on the actual realities of working in the urban and built environment, including a presentation on concrete innovations in urban regeneration and sustainability strategies by PPC’s Daniel Van Der Merwe, a practising architect, lecturer and landscape architect,
A day two highlight is the free, public Milde McWilliams Memorial Lecture featuring Luyanda Mpahlwa, top South African architect and Eastern Cape export hailing from Umtata.
The finale event on October 16 is the invitation-only ECIA Awards Dinner, where leading trends analyst and fashionista, Cape Town based Craig Jacobs, will give the keynote address on trends shaping urban design.
The Urban Assembly boasts cutting-edge thinking, networking opportunities, high-level debate and engagement, and the chance to meet leading national and local architects. It is complemented by a major exhibition of student and professional work.
The Urban Assembly is sponsored by PPC Cement, Safintra Roofing and Steel, and the MBDA and takes place between October 14 and 16 at the Port Elizabeth Opera House from 9am each day. Adult tickets for the 3-day conference are R300 and student tickets are R100 – on sale at the ECIA offices at 12 Alfred Terrace, Central. Some events are closed to the public.
These businesses support MyPE:
MyPE supports PE business: