In this three-week long project we focused on The Business of Security as a theme. The aim in this studio was to develop our ability to spatially translate ideas in a coherent and provocative manner.
We partnered with a local artist, Stephen Hobbs, and his studio became our conceptual base-camp for the first week. During the first week we declared a design intention through a collage and then constructed a corresponding artefact. The site I chose was Ivory Park, Johannesburg. The idea was to have an explicitly clear intention and a spatial response.
My initial models explored the idea of Security through Visual Connections. I built models from cardboard and string, which demonstrated degrees of visual security and also safety through visual obscurity. I then looked to explore framing views as a parallel theme, which I later abandoned.
My final conceptual model articulated the concept of Security through Visual Connections by expressing a visual connection across Masakhane Street, Ivory Park, which is obscured through individual security measures. This model (below, far left) was made using Perspex; Wire mesh and Galvanised Strapping.
The spatial model (below, far right) articulated the spatial resolution which I derived from the concept- the form of a complex Periscope.
In the second week we identified one business in our chosen site that had great interest and potential. We investigated what it is, how it works and what potential is yields for our cities through the narrative of the operator. The design proposition sought to take a contemporary business and make it resilient to threat and responsive to opportunity.
I identified a mobile trader, who trades in Produce. I sought to ground the trader in an existing infrastructure in order to legitimise his enterprise, in keeping with the City by-laws.
I chose the Rea Vaya stations as the infrastructure which the trader could plug into. Through the process of reviewing the Rea Vaya stations as under-utilised infrastructure, my focus shifted to exploring how the stations could be better occupied and populated with more than one function (which is currently transitory movement)
The concept then became a Produce Parade, where the stations are used to grow produce through Hydroponics and linked to one another by a skyline walkway, akin to that of New York’s Highline.
Critique: Since the inception of the Rea Vaya stations, Johannesburg streets have become obstructed, with traffic having to navigate around these under-utilised constructed islands. What I should have sought to do was bridge the divide caused by these stations, instead of reinforcing their linearity. Instead of abandoning the concepts formed in the first week of the project, I could have found ways to integrate the two ideas- that of visual connections (and the spatial resolution) with the idea of re-purposing the Rea Vaya station.