UJ alumnus participates in global project on sustainability in inner cities

Candidate architect Taswald Pillay worked in Paris earlier this year as part of a global project focusing on housing, safety, migration, youth, mobility and economical subsistence. ​​

​The project, Nine Urban Biotopes, develops dialogues around social urban sustainability in various inner cities across Europe and South Africa.

Pillay participated as an exchange artist-architect in the Nine Urban Biotopes project in 2014.​​

“My residency was in Paris, France where I worked with a Roma (Gypsy) community, architecture students and various associations. I’m currently wrapping up that project,” he says.

“I joined a unique project with them in an attempt to build a bridge between their informal, almost inhumane living conditions and the formal life of an emerging suburb.”​

Architecture meets street cred

​Architecture, with its focus on learning history and finding meaning and spatial identity through critical engagement with the city, is able to suggest and create spaces that enable development, interaction and integration between a city and its users, says Pillay.​​​​​

​He plans to delve deeper into experiential architecture.

​”I use what I call my ‘street cred’ to develop and nurture my designs around words like ‘incremental’, ‘adaptable’ and ‘architecture of engagement’. These ideas orbit around more stationary ideas, which are space, time and materiality.

​“I’m personally trying to evolve my approach to conceptualising architecture,” says Pillay.​​​

​​​Developing young designers

Pillay wants to contribute to solving problems of urbanity through mentoring young designers and his own practise.​

​”My intention is to collaborate with a few peers collectively designing and building small structures. The intention is to promote the idea of social cohesion design throughout the project. This, in turn, leads to a hands-on approach, hence the concept of ‘learning by doing’.”


While studying architecture at UJ, Pillay participated in projects ranging from upgrading initiatives to various architectural workshops and area mapping exercises. He also won four national design awards.​​​​​​

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