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Monday, December 14, 2009


(Pic: In the foreground is the model of the Moses Mabhida Stadium with other exhibits on surrounding walls)

Structured designs on display at Durban Art Gallery.

Currently on show at the Durban Art Gallery is an interesting array of the city’s most magnificent architectural landmarks from past, present and future, captured uniquely in an exhibition appropriately titled According to Plan.

“It’s an exhibition unlike any other because it is more than just showcasing works of art, this vibrant display embodies the essence of a professional department doing its best to simultaneously serve its public mandate and its professional responsibility,” says Jonathan Edkins, Deputy Head – City Architects.

According to Plan was officially launched in October last to coincide with World Architecture Day as a means of highlighting the role of local architects in Durban. It is a clear indication of the eThekwini Municipality’s progress in its journey towards achieving the goal of a “caring and liveable city” by 2020.

“The displays that make up According to Plan consist of small models of significant landmarks from days gone by, like the St Mary’s Church precinct and distinctive structures that defines the skyline of our magnificent city including the ICC Arena. This single exhibition encapsulates our journey over the past two decades,” says Edkins.

According to Plan demonstrates how City Architects, in close collaboration with other municipal departments and local architects, have assisted in transforming Durban to one of the most visionary cities in South Africa.

Edkins cites the continuing development of the Nkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre as an example of how the municipality, through City Architects has contributed to the regeneration of the business district, boosted the GDP, created job opportunities, and attracted thousands of international guests to Durban: “The Warwick Junction Project and other strategic city initiatives have built on the experience and knowledge gained and retained through the ICC project, which received the SAPOA award for excellence and innovative development when it was completed,” he explains. “Most of the initiatives on display have been conceptualised, managed and facilitated by senior architects and programme managers in the department. Ethekwini’s City Architects are responsible for all major and minor architectural projects, including all aspects of engineering, quantity surveying and urban design, carried out on behalf of the eThekwini Council.

“Apart from our core function of providing an integrated and sustainable professional service to the city, we are constantly working to respond in our work to the actual needs, priorities and desires of the people, as articulated through the IDP and various surveys,” Edkins continues. “Each project that is undertaken is carefully planned and monitored with close attention to detail. We are, after all, the custodians of the city’s architectural environment and are responsible for the municipal buildings that are erected.”

City Architects is part of the Engineering Unit and Procurement & Infrastructure Cluster. In addition to the strategic architectural projects branch, there are nine other branches within City Architects. These include: architecture and project management, quantity surveying, architectural maintenance, electrical building services, mechanical services, urban design, structural engineering, facilities management and architectural business support. Currently, 68 professional project staff and 205 maintenance staff contribute to the day-to-day operation of City Architects.

According to Plan remains on exhibit until January 22 2010 at the Durban Art Gallery.