Wits University’s Hashim Tarmahomed has been named the winner of the inaugural AfriSam Student Design Challenge, which aims to incentivise the next generation of designers to foreground sustainable solutions in design thinking.
Hashim Tarmahomed, winner of the AfriSam Student Design Challenge
The brief went out to architecture schools across Gauteng who were required to take an in-depth look at Joubert Park / the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) and how to connect the museum to its immediate community and other audiences. The winning design came from Tarmahomed who is currently doing his honours degree in Architecture Studies and grabbed the opportunity to showcase his creative design and love for sustainability.
He said the challenge to craft a symbiotic relationship between the JAG, its rich art collection and its surrounds was interesting. “The brief was clear: to reconsider the agency of boundaries and to create a new public interface.
Encouraging greater public participation
“My entry was built around the realisation that many portrait photographers come to the park to use it as a makeshift backdrop, but are not given a platform to create. My design concept was to build on a gallery-that-dissolves-into-the-park idea. The existing structures still exhibit a legacy of exclusion and segregation upon which they were built. My proposal was for the JAG make way for a public photography centre within its precinct to encourage greater public participation, and for the remaining space to continue as a gallery.”
“The project should not be seen as the gallery leaking into the streets but rather a symbiotic relationship between them. The streets and its people own the gallery as much as they do the street. Providing this sense of ownership creates a sense of place – where you can walk and cross roads feeling safe, where you can trade in a space that isn’t temporary, where you can stroll right through a gallery and emerge on the other side without passing any cold barriers, then you belong.
“I always want to remain socially aware in all that I create. My dream is not just to design beautiful buildings, but to enrich people’s lives,” added Tarahomed.
AfriSam and the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) also recently announced a call for entries in the 2019/2020 AfriSam-SAIA Sustainable Design Award. All architects, engineers, project managers and design practitioners are called to enter projects with a harmonious vision of shaping communities for livable sustainability.
“We need to respond to the needs of our world by pursuing new methods of building that are economical and environmentally conscious. We need to find ways to improve material efficiency, design and the re-use of buildings. It is also our duty to revisit ancient best practices and knowledge systems that will set us on a new trajectory towards sustainability,” said Dr Luyanda Mpahlwa, president of SAIA.