CPD : Sarah Calburn's GIFA Masterclasses for October/ November 2009

'RAPID THOUGHT TRANSPORT' :: Architects re-imagine Joburg
A series of design masterclasses for professional South African architects


The following masterclasses are available for booking now, and each one will get you 4 category 1 CPD points, as well as a major injection of critical and creative design thinking, designing and debate with some of the most creative minds in South African art and architecture.

We aim to re-consider, re-imagine and re-image Joburg towards alternative urban and architectural futures. These workshops aim to open both practice and thought to productive experimental thinking that is able to impact some of the current problematics of Joburg.

You will spend a full weekend in the studio and will then produce a piece of work in your own time (with intermediate crits and conversations) which will be presented publically two weeks later.

We have been getting audiences of around 50 people to each public presentation, and this series has stirred quite an interest across all design professions in Joburg … Each workshop comprises eight architects, and two students - places go fast, so please get your bookings in promptly!

Cost is R1140-00 per person including VAT for professionals.
Cost to students is free.

Bookings will be taken by return of email: sarah@sarahcalburn.co.za


Weekend 3, 4, October 2009

Andrew Makin of designworkshop:sa

RTT 6: THE NEW CIVIC : STRATEGY & IMAGINING : Space, Fluidity and Infinity

Venue: 235A Jan Smuts Ave, Parktown North: 9 to 5 each day.

Thurs 15 October 2009: public presentation of work
Venue: David Krut Projects, Jan Smuts Ave, PArktown North

Weekend 3, 4 October 2009

Pierre Swanepoel of StudioMAS

Venue: Arts on Main: 9 to 5 each day.

Thurs 15 Oct: public presentation of work Venue: David Krut Projects, Jan Smuts Ave, Parktown North

Weekend 17, 18 October 2009

The Trinity Session: Stephen Hobbs and Marcus Neustetter


Venue: 235A Jan Smuts Ave, Parktown North: 9 to 5 each day.

Thurs 29 Oct: public presentation of work Venue: David Krut Projects, Jan Smuts Ave, PArktown North

Weekend 14, 15 November 2009

Alex Opper - Architect, Furniture Designer, Design Lecturer


Venue: JAG: 9 to 5 each day.

Thurs 26 Nov public presentation of work Venue: David Krut Projects, Jan Smuts Ave, PArktown North



As committee member of the Gauteng Institute for Architecture in 2009, and from a position in the 'Heritage and Habitat' slot, Sarah Calburn (of Sarah Calburn Architects) has put together a series of design masterclasses which will give SAIA accredited Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points to practicing architects from all over the country. Unusually, these CPD points will be earned in an atmosphere which concerns itself with design and design-thinking, rather than with the usual 'professional practice' or trade-related topics.

The masterclasses will run as a monthly series over 2009, each led by a different practicing design-orientated South African architect or artist, and will culminate in a publication which aims to project an alternative, or experimental view of contemporary Joburg. The series is entitled 'Rapid Thought Transport' precisely in order to critique and extrapolate to maximum potential our most optimistic urban becoming for many years: the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transport system - the 'Rea Vaya', which in combination with the Gautrain, could be seen to lay down the most potentially powerful public platform we have seen in the last 75 years in what is, we contend, the rapidly weakening public environment of Johannesburg. Conceptually we take the position that the time is ripe to experiment with architectural alternatives for Joburg, the time is right to explore an alternative vision which could be seen to issue a challenge to the endless unrolling of a privatized, repetitive and franchised urban environment which is losing, continuously, any meaningful architectural and urban intimacy and real access, and which fails to realize any ground breaking experimentation with itself and with its histories. The main focus of interest throughout all studios will be the problematisation of public/private access to the city and its various spaces.

Design studios will be led by innovative local design thinkers and artists such as Pierre Swanepoel of StudioMas, 26'10South Architects, Rodney Place, artist and architect, Enrico Daffonchio of Daffonchio and Associates, Andrew Makin of Design Workshop:SA, Henning Rasmuss of Paragon Architects, Stephen Hobbs and Marcus Neustetter of the Trinity Session, and Sarah Calburn of Sarah Calburn Architects. Topics will range from the re-imagination of Rosebank and Sandton, the M1 Highway as it passes from Soweto to Midrand as, paradoxically, our most private and public space, the problems and potentials of the Diepsloot 'informal city' to the quantum flows and landscape thinking that is possible both in the suburbs as it is in inner city Joburg. We will re-examine the BRT identity and the long term opportunities (not being) offered to the city by 2010. We will not consider 'sites' as givens in the usual way, we will use them as opportunities for critically charged and rebellious experimental thinking. We will tackle problems of privatization and the increasing impossibility of truly 'public' space in most areas of Johannesburg. We will aim, crucially, to deliver a landscape of critical thinking and debate around these issues which seeks alternative modes of architectural thought. It should be said that one of the most crucial aims of this series is to stimulate and foment some sort of meaningful architectural debate and discourse in South Africa.

Leon van Schaik once memorably said that there is only a living debate when at least 3 schools of thought can be identified. One of the key aims of this series is not to 'push a line', but to bring up as many concepts and viewpoints that we can… It is to start from a willing position towards an experimentation with- and re-reading of ourselves. We are sure that there are many practicing architects out there who would welcome an initiative that set them, once again, on a path towards an active re-imagination of this city in all its flawed and problematic facets… Who would welcome the chance to think, and think again in a free atmosphere of experimentation... Who would welcome the space to think about this city with open minds and rekindled imaginations…?

We find ourselves now, as post '94 South Africans, in a position where we really need to start some sort of active re-imagination of ourselves - both at home, and in the world. We cannot afford to work any longer within the old binary paradigms - which seem, still, to be so pervasively at work.

Each masterclass will run over an intensive weekend - Saturday and Sunday - of studio workshop time, and presentations of finished work (one piece per participant) will be shown at a public event either one or two weeks hence. There will be 8 professional participating architects in each workshop who will be joined by 2 architecture students taking the same masterclass, in order not only to stimulate cross-generational thinking, but in order to 'up the ante' of a more experimental, or 'free' approach. It is important to note that the whole will form a body of work around a central critical agenda.

The workshops will take place variously at both the Nirox Foundation at Kromdraai, and Arts on Main, an innovative new development of studios and workshops, coffee shops and restaurants in ex light industrial inner city Joburg. The location of each Workshop will be decided to suit the topic and the thought process particular to it: for example, the Diepsloot Project will run at the Goethe Institute projects space at Arts on Main, a suitably urban (and at this moment, unfinished) location, while the M1 Highway Project will run at the Nirox Foundation, a highly landscaped environment with Workshop space available, as this project engages landscape-urbanism as well as public art in its range of concerns. The Nirox Foundation also has an on-going and vital program of artists in residency, many of whom are engaged with Public Art and urban scale sculpture, and we envisage, therefore, a strong cross-over program with various international public artists and architects.

Presentation evenings will take place at David Krut Projects, a street front art gallery on Jan Smuts Avenue in Parkwood. This means that presentation work will have to be of a high graphic (or other medium) standard, as it will be shown in 'art' space, and will, crucially, be visible from the street. Presentations will be attended not only by interested architects and members of the public and press, but also by the relevant city planners, developers and officials who we believe should be exposed to the work. One of our important aims is to engage public policy makers beyond the limits that are usually set - in other words, we would like not only to challenge current policy, but to influence it.

Too few public projects in this city are put out for public debate, too little work is offered to architects through competition, too little innovation is demanded, we believe. We are of the opinion that South African architects have largely lost their historic prerogative as 'urban visionaries', and that this series has the potential to raise not only the stakes of our urban future, but also, then, the profile of architecture as a whole, and the profile of participating architects in particular. Architecture, is, we believe, an art, a specialized spatial language… It is one of our most powerful and revealing human manifestations.

Work will be compiled in a catalogue type publication at the end of the year, all presentations will be filmed, work will be directed towards both the Venice and the Sao Paulo Biennales, and there will be an Award for best project announced at a final event to be hosted at Arts on Main.


If you are interested in attending a masterclass (and please note we would welcome architects from all over the country), please contact:

Sarah Calburn: sarah@sarahcalburn.co.za
Guy Trangos: guy.trangos@gmail.com

Costs: R1000-00 per head. Provide own drawing and presentation materials except bumf, which will be freely available in large quantities.
Dates: Available through Sarah Calburn. Basically Workshops will run mid month weekends May through November with presentation dates one or two week’s hence on a Friday night. Please specify best date for you.
CPD points: are in the process of evaluation by SAIA, and should be available by 27 March 2009.
Accommodation: to be arranged by participants individually