18:00 SAST

18:00  SAST

Architecture As Language

Paper Portals for Black Leisure from American Modernity to Afro-Modernity in Salexandra

Olive Olusegun

MArch 2022

Unit Leader: Tuliza Sindi
Unit Assistant: Tshwanelo Kubayi
Unit Assistant: Miliswa Ndziba

Unsettling Ground: Beyond the Terra Nullius

Examiner’s Choice: Jeanne Sillett

The work investigates urban public spaces of leisure, specifically for black South Africans.

The mall is the most dominant form of public space in Johannesburg (Heer, 2016). This consequentially gradually erases African cultures and prevents their modernisation in replacement of American consumerism customs (Eduful & Eduful, 2021). 

The project uses the Dikenga construct of time (Adjaye, 1994), combined with Roos’s graph of Afro-futurism (Roos, 2020), to propose interventions offered sequentially in three design stages – Global Speculative, Local Speculative, and Local Realistic. The project sites of intervention are the ideological plan of the apartheid city and its corresponding socio-economic and cultural conditions in Johannesburg; and the M1 Highway between Sandton and Alexandra. 

A series of urban manifestos, policies, and guidelines are developed to speculate alternative forms of leisure for urban black South Africans, which are not geographically limited within the original white apartheid city, or constrained in the confines of the township. 

Malls were specifically designed using the same infrastructural tactics of cathedrals to seduce users into the pervading paradigm of American consumer capitalism (Scharoun, 2014). The urban provocations and interventions invertly use these tactics to seduce the black population into the proposed paradigms of Afro-modernity.

The research question is conducted through cartoons, comics and photo-collage, informed by various Archigram drawings (Archigram Archives, 2012), as well as paper mechanics, as a way to collapse the speculative and the realistic.

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