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Reimagining Architecture: Sir David Adjaye speaks at UJ’s GSA International Lecture Series

The Graduate School of Architecture (GSA) at the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) within the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) hosted their ninth international lecture of the year in the GSA-Boogertman + Partners International Lecture Series on Thursday, 10 August 2017 at their downtown lecture and exhibition space, inside the Museum of African Design (MOAD), Maboneng.

Head of School Prof Lesley Lokko said, “Each year, the generous sponsorship provided by Boogertman + Partners and UJ, supplemented by one-off additional funding for special lectures, enables us to host at least thirteen prominent national and international lecturers in the fields of architecture, urbanism and design. We see these lectures as central to our efforts to position the GSA at the forefront of emerging knowledge, both within Africa and globally. The Thursday night lectures at our Maboneng ‘home’ are open to students, staff, practitioners and the general public, and are rapidly becoming a fixture on the Johannesburg architectural calendar.”

Ghanaian-British architect, Sir David Adjaye, was welcomed to the GSA by Vice Chancelor Designate Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, Executive Dean of FADA Prof Federico Freschi and GSA Head of School, Prof Lesley Lokko. Speaking to a packed audience of over 500 guests, Sir David spoke movingly about his personal and professional journey from graduate student to top of the profession, recently named by Time magazine as one of the world’s ‘100 most influential people’, the only architect to make the list in 2017

“Architecture is continuously moving, and it is profoundly important for students to embrace ideas of change and transformation,” Sir David said. “The African continent needs visibility, particularly in this field. We have been invisible for too long. African students are incredibly creative and the continent offers them multiple, incredible opportunities. It’s not about access to the latest technology. It’s about the imagination, the mind . . . yes, we need tools but ultimately, the best architecture comes from imagination. Often, the key is to unlearn everything you’ve ever learned and re-do it again and again.”

The event concluded with a dinner for Sir David, five lucky GSA students and invited sponsors.

Next up in the series is Danish Bjarke Ingels, another of the world’s most celebrated architects who will speak in the GSA-Boogertman + Partners International Lecture Series on 7 September 2017.

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