CAPTION: Designers and architects with a passion for the creative space can yet again look forward to ArchitectureZA (AZA), Africa’s first and largest premier urban culture festival. This year’s AZA16 will be a bonanza of creative minds who operate in the architectural fraternity, and will take place from 31 August to 03 September 2016 at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. One of the speakers to look forward to is Emeritus Professor of Architecture at the University of California in Berkeley, Stanley Saitowitz, (pictured above).

AZA, founded in 2010, has been running annually for six years and offers a plethora of information for those operating in the design and architectural industry. Last year saw more than 1 000 delegates in attendance and this year promises to be even bigger.

The AZA16 theme, ‘SCALE’, will explore ratio and proportion in design,” says Daniel van der Merwe, President of the Gauteng Institute for Architecture (GIfA) and architect at PPC. “The conference will examine how architects and other designers work with both ‘bigness’ and ‘smallness’ across disciplines. We will show how architects can work across all manners of different scales, incorporating both micro and macro scale into design. The Wits Johannesburg campus, as the venue, allows for a fantastic array of SCALE elements to be incorporated into the programme,” he adds.

The AZA16 festival brings together leading local and international professionals. Workshops, seminars and exhibitions provide opportunity for multi-disciplinary delegates to network and learn. Keynote speakers will include experts from both South Africa and abroad, such as Stanley Saitowitz, Emeritus Professor of Architecture at the University of California in Berkeley, and Baerbel Mueller from the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Saitowitz will explore the topic of ‘building the city’ – an ancient process which has been in progress for millennia. He will demonstrate how each contributing part in architecture should add to the whole of a city, taking its surroundings into account.

The festival also provides a fantastic opportunity for students to showcase their unique designs. A submission area for the Des Baker 2016 competition will be set up at AZA16. To qualify for the competition (with up to R 25 000 to be won), students need to identify issues related to urbanisation and develop long term interventions. The task is to design multiple small urban objects for various locations, forming a network as part of a strategy to address an identified issue. For more information, visit

“This year’s AZA is going to be the best yet!” says van der Merwe. “We cannot wait to see the creativity and growth that will take place at the event. It will showcase how solutions, both big and small, can make a positive difference in areas where urbanisation is taking place. For designers and architects, it is most definitely one not to be missed,” he concludes.

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