The value of physically constructing architecture cannot be overstated. It is only when one experiences the process of building that one can truly understand the meaning of every line drawn. To understand that a line represents the inside edge of formwork or the edge of a brick wall is invaluable. Such an understanding truly enables the architect to put him/her-self in the shoes of the contractor/craftsperson/labourer – the people who will ultimately realize the architect's vision. It is critical that the architect has an intimate understanding of standard construction, but that his/her vision is not grown solely from this understanding. Standard construction methodology is invaluable if it supports the architect's vision, but detrimental if it dictates is. As such, the architect must intimately understand construction in order to be able to design buildings which transcend construction – buildings with are not only practical, but also poetic.
For this project, students were tasked with activating the courtyard behind 94 Republic at 94 Juta Street, Braamfontein. The process involved generating a master plan for the courtyard, designing the individual elements contained in the master plan, and physically building those elements. Students were required to liaise with the owner of the bar in order to generate a comprehensive brief and ensure that the proposed solutions offered value to the client.
The final project includes five elements which serve to successfully activate the courtyard:
- Outdoor bar
- Retractable roof over the bar
- New boundary wall
- Decking platforms
- Full scale games