Focus On: Shaping our spaces and cities

Architects design the habitats we dwell in. We feature four thought-provoking talks on approaches to the challenges our times present to the built environment.

David Adjaye on evolving typologies in architecture

Principal architect of Adjaye Associates, David Adjaye is interested in responsive architecture; much of his work questions new modes of construction and life. At Design Indaba Conference 2013 he gave insight into the fundamental principles of his practice.

Believing that geography plays a fundamental role in architecture, Adjaye spent 11 years in Africa documenting the continent’s architecture in order to get a sense of what the continent needs today. As geography, culture and place are inextricably linked, Adjaye proposed to move away from political architecture towards a geographical one to showcase the connections established through geography and place that binds inhabitants.

I want to move away from South African architecture or Ghanaian architecture to forest, mountain and desert architecture. 

Watch the full speaker talk here.

Asif Khan on experiences determined by those who experience them

Asif Khan is a London-based designer whose work embraces the fields of architecture, industrial and furniture design. At Design Indaba Conference 2013 he talks about various projects his studio has undertaken in the last few years.

Khan begins his presentation by stating that design works with what is already there: “I believe that design responds to a context, and being an architect that context for me is the city." Design also works in the context of people’s minds, he says:

Your memories and where you have come from and where you are going is all imparted into your various projects.

Watch Khan’s full speaker talk here.

Urban-Think Tank on a curriculum for a new urban planet

Interdisciplinary design practice Urban-Think Tank is dedicated to high-level research and design in contemporary architecture and urbanism. At Design Indaba Conference 2012, founder Alfredo Brillembourg speaks about a curriculum for a new urban planet.

Architecture is coming to terms with the realisation that we have largely ignored how the majority of human beings live.

Watch the full speaker talk here.

Heinrich Wolff on architecture as a force for social change

In societies where inequality is rife, Heinrich Wolff believes architecture needs to be both engaged and autonomous. In this talk from Design Indaba Conference 2012 the Cape Town-based architect discusses architecture as a force of social change in South Africa. He also looks to the environmental responsiveness of buildings and how they form an important component of social change.

At times of rapid social change, architecture has the capacity to contribute to the outcomes of those kinds of changes.

Watch the full speaker talk here.