Economically, anticipated overall growth of less than 2% told the sad story of how sluggishly our economy performed in 2017. And, the political instability that resulted in South Africa being downgraded to sub-investment status certainly did not improve the situation.
The built environment was not saved from the effect of slow economic growth as companies resorted to shedding jobs in an effort to remain afloat. In addition, limited work opportunities in the architectural sector added to the woes faced by architects plying their trade in a very hostile environment.
The shenanigans playing out at the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) did not help matters. The lack of promulgation of the Identification of Work and Professional Fees documents by SACAP continued to keep the industry in limbo.
The South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) was, however, able to forge meaningful engagements with the minister, which culminated in the latter gracing the prestigious SAIA Individual Awards and Presidential Inauguration Ceremony held in Pretoria during November.
We remain optimistic that 2018 will bring better prospects for the profession and our eminent members. We continue to call upon our esteemed members to keep their hands firmly on the ‘architectural professional plough’ and ply their trade with excellence and distinguishment. This is, in fact, the reputation that South African architects are known and recognised for on the African continent and beyond.
HANNAH LE ROUX, associate professor at the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Architecture and Planning, is concerned with remediating the consequences of apartheid and colonial construction through critical design, narrative and collective studio work. A Mellon research fellow, she is part of the Canadian Centre for Architecture’s project, Architecture and/for the Environment.
GAARITH WILLIAMS, an architect at the Development Action Group (DAG), has taught at the University of Cape Town’s School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics. He serves on the Built Environment and Landscape Committee of Heritage Western Cape.
GEORGE ELPHICK, a founding partner of Elphick Proome Architects and an Emma Smith Art Scholar and Le Sueur Scholar, has served as a design critic for five national universities. His completed projects include the design and implementation of corporate offices, mixed-use developments and high-rise apartments, as well as interior design commissions throughout Africa.
NICHOLAS (NICK) PROOME, a founding partner of Elphick Proome Architects, is experienced in master planning of medical and educational buildings, precinct planning and mixed-use development. His expertise lies in the inception and implementation of large commercial and industrial projects requiring overall co-ordination to ensure economic viability, and subsequent construction.