ACADEMIC

The following projects are explorations from Kathleen's academic career. These projects display a special interest in the poetic relationship between the body and space, where interaction occurs and the expression of public space as the 'third place' (The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg (1989, 1991). These projects celebrate shared space and the everyday. The promote emotive qualities amidst the mundane. They explore civic spaces as anchors for society - exploring spaces that reconnect us to the rhythms of the natural world and promote being present

THE INVISIBLE OBJECT

CIVIC SPACE IN ATTERIDGEVILLE

MProf(Arch) Pretoria

Ramohoebo Square, the heart of Atteridgeville, currently lies dormant. This dissertation explores the possibility of introducing a new pattern of events to expose the extraordinary in the midst of the mundane.

Conventional approaches to township architecture are challenged as a means to return place to the citizens of Atteridgeville. This study is dedicated to recreational space guided by an underlying theme of the surreal in an attempt to celebrate and enhance the quotidian by allowing for moments of serendipity and reverie.

An argument is developed towards changing attitudes and preconceived ideas towards townships and the bodies who occupy them by proposing a new perspective on old systems.

The full dissertation can be found here.

MARABASTAD

URBAN GENEROSITY

MArch Hons Pretoria

There is a need to assist the occupants of Marabastad to protect its rich heritage. The focus area is of interest for its cultural value in relation to an existing mosque and the use-value of the historic market-stalls. The investigation is based on using event to redevelop identity and a sense of a community through charity-driven activities to conserve and build communities. By honouring and validating what exists, the citizen is re-established within an inclusive public environment. 

 

The proposed intervention includes a Halal slaughterhouse and butchery, along with public amenities and a relationship with a new public park which for part of a larger framework investing in homelessness and security in the context of Marabastad. This was complemented by a homeless shelter and home for destitute women to the west, designed by my colleague, Ali Sadiq.

 

An investigation into sustainable technology and services was executed to develop a scheme for public programmes which was as energy efficient as possible, while ensuring maximum comfort and flexibility. This was hugely successful in creating a self-sustaining pilot scheme for Marabastad.

 

This project helped me develop my normative position. It further strengthened my belief that architecture and the built environment plays a crucial role in how we as humans, relate to one another. This scheme set the tone for my dissertation which focused specifically on civic space in an old dormitory town, Atteridgeville. 

Expanding on the previous quarter’s work, the design was developed further, refining sustainability aspects.

Thermal control, water and energy use, rainwater collection and solar radiation were all considered as important points of investigation. This developed into a scheme for public programmes which was as energy efficient as possible while ensuring maximum comfort and flexibility. This was hugely successful, creating a self-sustaining pilot-scheme for Marabastad.

This portion of the project was a collaborative effort with my colleague, Ali Sadiq.

The focus of the iteration quarter was on thermal control and hygiene. Considering the need for a slaughterhouse to remain cool during processes to ensure the most hygienic environment, the exploration considered different ventilation and cooling devices which did not rely on mechanic assistance, and used only natural light.

The conclusion was that this could be done successfully by incorporating a green roof, evaporative cooling and strategically placed openings for ventilation and natural light.

MARABASTAD

Craftmanship as a point of engagement

MArch Hons Pretoria

The tailor and clothes maker were identified as potential clients, in conjunction with the small shop owner. Their current environment limits them by means of low economic potential and opportunities, and a low social cohesiveness. The lack of potential to invest results in a difficulty to safeguard personal investment which further perpetuates problems on site.

The intention is to encourage and begin to define a stable environment where self-establishment and self- sufficiency can occur, while catering for the existing networks related to clothing industry in Marabastad.

The intervention acts as a catalyst for local industry, which feeds back into the existing networks rather than replace them.

ASYLUM

For Corrupt Politicians

Undergrad

“...to make love is to feel one’s body close in on oneself. It is finally to exist outside of any utopia... all the invisible parts of your body begin to exist... we love so much to make love, it is because, in love, the body is here.” - Michel Foucault

I attempt to explore the difference between a self-conscious body and one that is self- aware. Taking from Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s differentiation between self-love and a love of self, the asylum for corrupt politicians explores an architecture that could rehabilitate those who seek to acquire wealth and power. To address spatial awareness and self-awareness within this precinct, programmes responding to sex, pain and branding are considered. The goal is to create architecture that responds to and facilitates the development of a vulnerable body.

The corrupt politicians are introduced to a hermetic lifestyle with a slight twist. They undergo rehabilitation through an acknowledgement of the body. Stripped of all their belongings, they move to their cells. The influence of the elements and control of space and time allow rituals to develop within the asylum. Based on these rituals, the prisoners ‘escape’ to a vast bathing area. Open to elements and potentially the public, a relationship between actor and spectator is established. The body is made self-conscious as they proceed to the sex chambers. Here the self-conscious body is taught to be self-aware, to be ‘here’ and to abandon superficial, material desires. Surrounding the asylum is the public realm that accommodates traditional healers, tattoo parlours and gardens. Here a reconnection with the body is to be introduced. With the recognition of one’s own body, one may then occupy the city.

SYMPTOMS OF DEATH

Accommodating Homo Faber

Undergrad

Death is something we have become accustomed to disguising through the preservation of the deceased. When our loved ones die, they are embalmed and viewed at the casket and we pretend that they are sleeping. When cremated, we store their ashes to have a piece of them with us. By preserving our deceased, we have turned our loved ones into a commodity. The intention of this investigation is to contest this notion.

In the imposed context of the Waking City analogy, this relationship with death would change. The popular euphemism for death would no longer be applicable as sleep would be a foreign concept to the residents of our precinct. Death would become a harsh reality to accept. By creating a new ritual, this mindset can be altered.

Through Arnold van Gennep’s concept of liminality, the ritual of the mourner is brought to attention. The liminal stage of the ritual involves the ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals where one no longer holds the pre-ritual status but has not begun the transition to the status held when the ritual is complete.

Van Gennep identifies a three-part sequential structure in the initiation process. The first is the preliminal rites or rites of separation in which the initiate undergoes a metaphorical death. The second, the liminal rites or transitional rites involve the creation of a tabula rasa. The final post liminal rites or rites of incorporation involves the initiate being reintroduced to society. This sequential process manifests itself through the movement of the mourners and the spaces (events) they are exposed to.

©2020 by Studio Poetica Architects.