The successful three traveling exhibitions of 2016 entitled PALLADIO AND THE MODERN, that highlights the universal principles of architecture, were hosted by The Cape Institute for Architecture in April in Cape Town, by the Department of Architecture of the University of the Free State during the Free State Festival in July in Bloemfontein, and by the School of Architecture and Planning of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in August/September in Johannesburg during the AZA16 Architecture Students Congress presented by the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA).
The traveling exhibition returns to its home city with a final exhibition being hosted by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum in Port Elizabeth from the 17th of August to the 15th of September 2017. The opening of the exhibition is on Thursday 17th of August at 6pm at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum. This exhibition is open to the public and free of an entrance fee. The citizens of Port Elizabeth, members of the Architectural profession and students are kindly invited to participated in this important one of its kind cultural event.
The Director of the School of Architecture, the Architect Boban Varghese, said that the School of Architecture of the NMMU is engaged in addressing architectural education that is appropriate, relevant and responds to the contextual challenges shaped by local and global issues. A series of projects that further academic engagements are being implemented under his leadership and that the traveling exhibition is one of these projects.
Besides being a recognition of student work, the aim of the traveling exhibition is to, not only, introduce the work to students of other Architecture Schools and the Architecture Profession itself but also to share the Discipline of Architecture with a wider public to increase public awareness of the role of Architecture in contemporary society in its social and cultural context. In this attempt in promoting public understanding, widening thoughts and debate about architecture, its history of ideas and buildings, theory and practice and its role in contemporary society, the exhibition is an educational and cultural event. There is a call to the conscience of modern and contemporary architecture to protect its past and advocate for its future as a vital art form and a public concern.
This important aspect was manifested by the support of the Nelson Mandela University, the South African Institute of Architects, the collaboration of South African Schools of Architecture who hosted the exhibitions, Professional Practising Architects and the interest shown by visiting architecture students, pupils from schools and the general public.
As the title suggests, the 36 Villas of the Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio (1508 – 1580) and the 36 houses of International and National architects from the 20th and 21st century reflect on the similarities and differences of work from different centuries placed in direct conversation through the 288 drawings and 144 models on exhibition, in their reciprocal themes of exploration of the language of architecture.
The 432 exhibition pieces show the first two projects that the first year architecture students were engaged with, after leaving school with little experience in architectural drawings and building architectural models. Their dedicated commitment to the task given, forms part of a three year research program of 2013, 2014 and 2015 in architectural composition given by the Senior Lecturer Arch. Ernst Struwig with Senior Lecturer Arch. Dr. Magda Minguzzi and Lecturer Arch. Jean-Pierre Basson.
All the work exhibited is realised by hand. Students of the School of Architecture of the NMMU were directly involved in the installation and striking of the three exhibitions.
It is the first exhibition of its kind of scale, over 400 exhibition pieces, in South Africa of first year architecture student’s work. The traveling exhibition received attention in the local press and was published in the ARCHSA, Journal of the South African Institute of Architects No 82 Nov/Dec 2016.
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