Architecture informed by social identity, meaning and memory : a provincial legislature for Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.
All architecture carries a message that may be positive, negative or indifferent depending on the individual’s experiences and background. In order for a message to be effective it needs to be understood and the primary way of achieving this is through identification with meaning and memory. South Africa needs a contemporary architectural expression which makes use of clear rational decisions. A positive architectural message needs to be understood by the collective whole of society, and with the careful use of meaning and memory, it will carry identification for all. Urban landscapes and the built environment have the power to nurture citizens’ public memory and encompass shared meaning in the form of shared territory and identity. The built environment needs to incorporate elements of social relevance in order to achieve a more successful, and prosperous building. Architecture is perceived as an expression of society and culture at a certain time. In South Africa new frames of reference need to be formulated which encapsulate the spirit of change within the country. A new democracy needs an appropriate architectural image, centered on the aspects of social identity, meaning and memory, to encourage society to redefine its image. Identity, meaning and memory have been split apart by the previous political situations in South Africa, destroying the sense of community. By combining meaning and memory with the new democratic South Africa, society can be reconstructed, creating places that evoke a sense of pride and belonging. Identity is intimately tied to meaning and memory, both individual and collective. People need to be able to identify with a building in order to create a relationship with it. If the public are unable to understand or experience the contribution of the element, it has failed in every way. Meaning is created as a biological response to the physical environment. It is a cultural creation, and without it there is no sense of civic identity and shared history bringing the community together. It is only through order and recognizing mutual dependence that elements become meaningful. The history of an urban landscape is connected to memory which is rooted in place. This memory needs to be transposed into architecture without losing any of its meaning. Architecture is a form of visual communication, which is perceived and interpreted in an individual capacity. Every memory and association is affected by past experiences and events. Architecture expresses the systematic and inter-human aspects of symbolization, through the meanings, values and needs inherent in public life. A meaningful environment is a fundamental part of a meaningful existence and the purpose of architecture is to assist in making human existence meaningful (Norberg-Schulz, 1974: 427-434).
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Indigenous arts and crafts on contemporary South African architecture : the influence of culture and identity : a proposal for an arts and crafts centre in Pietermaritzburg. Sokhela, Andile. (2012)No abstract available.
Adaptive re-use of university buildings : a case study of four academic buildings on the Pietermaritzburg campus of the University of Natal. Howe, Peter R. (2003)This study investigates the capacity of buildings to be adapted when required by changing circumstances or situations. Furthermore it has special reference to buildings constructed for academic teaching and research purposes. ...
Public transportation as a generator for change in architectural identity : the revitalization of the old Pietermaritzburg railway station into a main transport interchange. Coetzee, Denzil Prestin Romulis. (2014)South Africa, like most developing countries, has struggled with the effects of economic globalization. This, through apartheid, has caused a reduction in policy barriers to trade and investment amongst other things including ...