Date: August 13, 2018

A student-organised class debate on issues of housing and everyday life in Namibia took place at the Department of Architecture and Spatial Planning on Wednesday, October 15th, 2014. The debate was organised by the third-year students, who invited professionals from various fields related to the production of housing as well as lecturers of the Department. After an introduction to the Housing and Everyday life course content by the lecturer Guillermo Delgado, each presenter took 10 minutes to elaborate on their field of expertise before the session closed with comments and questions from the students and a dialogue between the guests. 

Moderators,Sara Nakalilaand Nangula Shilongo(third-year students)

Environmental and architectural perspectivesNina Maritz, architect
Nina Maritzelaborated on the paradoxes of current construction typologies (one-story detached houses in individual 300m2 plots) as well as construction materials vis-a-vis the desert landscapes in Namibia. She suggested that denser typologies of housing are needed not only to reduce the footprint (geographical and environmental) of Namibian towns and cities, but also to trigger a more urban experiences.

Community-based planning perspectives, Braam Harris, planner, Namibia Housing Action Group
Braam Harrispresented on the current state of living conditions in informal settlements in Namibia, as well as efforts by NHAG and SDFN in order to not only improve materially the living conditions of inhabitants, but also to develop a process of empowerment through organising, self-enumeration, and participation in planning decisions.

Inhabitants' perspectives, Ronnie Hoxabes, member, Shackdwellers' Federation of Namibia
Ronnie Hoxabesspoke about the lived experiences of living in informal settlements, and questioned whether housing was a luxury, a right, or a basic need.

Sustainable planning perspectives, Hennie Ferreira, planner, Bob Mould architects
Hennie Ferreiraargued that sustainable planning lies in the intersection between economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social equality.

Pilot projects on alternative housing typologies in Windhoek, Bob Mould, architect
Bob Mouldpresented a self-initiated pilot housing project in Goreangab which presented an alternative to the current housing model in favour of more affordable housing developments and typologies oriented towards higher social interaction.

Comments on mass housing in Namibia, Gabriel Marin Castro, architect, Special Advisor on the National Mass Housing Program (NMHP), Ministry of Regional, Local Government, Housing and Rural Development (MRLGHRD).
Lozonte Lopez, Senior Consultant Land Management, Ministry of Regional, Local Government, Housing and Rural Development (MRLGHRD).
Gabriel Castro Marínpresented the challenges that developing a mass housing program for the first time meant for Namibia. He stated that none of the institutions had experience on building at this scale, and that the program needs to be seen in that light. He also prompted for a more careful use of resources, both in terms of construction as well as in the contracting procedures.
Lozonte Lopezalso spoke about the current challenges regarding the mass housing program, particularly explaining how the attempts of the NHAG and SDFN, although highly appreciated, fell outside the program in views of the inability of these houses to be accepted by banking institutions, which are also a player in these process.

It is worth noting that property managers and developers and banking institutions were invited to the debate, but ultimately were unable to join.

Download student reports of the session here:
Carmen Besser
Nangula Shilongo
Esther Shipuata

*Originally published on 9 November 2014


Date: August 13, 2018

Public Lecture by Leon Barnard and Alistair Rendall on the revitalisation of Windhoek's urban river system as public space.

Tuesday 21 October, 18:00 at the Polytechnic Hotel School

*Originally published on  20 October 2014


Date: August 13, 2018

Public Lecture by Catharina Nord, Architect and Associate Professor at Linköping University, Sweden

Wednesday 21 May, 18:00 at the Architecture House

*Originally published on 30 May 2014


Date: August 13, 2018

The FNB Foundation has generously provided funding the publication of the "Legacies of a Colonial Town" book. This forms part of the ongoing project “Legacies of a Colonial Town” at the Department of Architecture and Spatial Planning that goes back to 2012, when the then Department of Architecture was approached by the British Council in London, through the Directorate of Arts at the Ministry of Youth, National Service Sport and Culture to develop an exhibition on Namibia's architecture and design for the 2012 International Architecture and Design Showcase in London.

Mr Phillip Lühl, a lecturer at the Department of Architecture and Spatial Planning was appointed as project coordinator and developed the concept for the Namibian exhibition in collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Architecture, some local architects and institutions. The British Council offered seed funding, which the Directorate of Arts generously complemented, so that the content for the London exhibition could be developed within a few months.

After the initial success of the exhibition in London the exhibition was re-staged at the National Art Gallery in Windhoek in January 2013, and a second time at SOWETO market in Katutura as part of the "Land Matters in Art" project in March of the same year. Around these local staging’s three public were organised, which provided lively debate and exposed the huge challenges ahead for Namibia, if it wants to overcome the architectural and urban spatial legacies of Apartheid planning and segregation, that continue to structure our everyday lives.

This book, the compilation of the research process, documentation of the exhibitions as well as public debates, will not only speak to the reader interested in architecture or urban issues alone, but more importantly it is directed towards a more general public in the same way the exhibitions were. It aims at providing the base for further debate, and calls for further and more in-depth research. It will be useful for primary and secondary educational purposes, where there is a need to advance critical thinking, rather than mere dry historical facts. It might be a good introduction for the culturally and socially interested visitor to Namibia as well as for “cultural diplomacy” outside of the country. Last but not least it will be a milestone in the work of the Department of Architecture Spatial Planning.

As the main funding partner of the exhibitions in London and Windhoek, the Directorate of Arts has assured funding for the book, which however needed to be complemented to ensure a publication of high quality with the necessary visual and editorial professionalism. The FNB Foundation has since agreed to fund the graphic design, proofreading as well as a dissemination campaign for the book. In addition, the Foundation has voiced interest in funding 250 extra copies of the book for distribution to Namibian school libraries, an initiative that is highly commendable.

Our sincere gratitude goes out to the FNB Foundation, the Directorate of Arts and all the other supportive people and institutions for making this book a reality and I am looking forward to its publication.

*Originally published on 16 April 2014


Date: August 13, 2018

Four architecture students recently won the second prize in a Slum Improvement Design Competition during the VII Architectural Forum in Luanda from 3rd to 7th October 2013, organised by the Lusiada University of Angola. 

The forum, titled "Slums", aimed at sharing ideas, knowledge and experiences in tackling issues related to inner-city slums. The objective was to make architects understand slums as a multidimensional urban form, so that their interventions will not lead to alienate slums identity but to respect the morphological difference of slums as a factor of urban diversity. Furthermore, to make architects identify architectural and urban models which are essential for the identity of the slums.

The key word system approach, which guided the 24-hour design competition, enhanced student's creativity and amplified the dynamic created by students observations and identification problems on the ground. Students enriched their academic experience and learned that architecture and urbanism could be used as intervention tools in interpreting geo-anthropological slums and ensure a process of sustainable improvement of spaces in the urban landscape of most cities. Eight universities from Angola, Namibia and South Africa took part in the competition.
Maria Marealle

*Originally published on 15 October 2013



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