Competition: 2015 Des Baker Architectural Student Design Competition

Deadline: 21 August 2015 - 12:00pm


Conveners: University of Johannesburg

This year, following the overall theme of AZA2015, our interest is in future African cities. In architecture and urban design, the future – and particularly science fiction – is often treated warily, as though architects and urban designers are afraid to commit their vision to paper or stone. But in many ways, ‘science fiction’ might be better described as ‘speculative fiction’, since it may have nothing to do with science at all, but rather more tangible human endeavours such as our relationships to resources, the way we farm and the way we live and love – endeavours that at their heart are more cultural than scientific, less rational and predictable and more prone to change.

The brief

Using the science/speculative fiction model, you are asked to imagine an African Future City, based on a potent, creative mixture of extremely high densities; food and energy shortages; space travel and alien life forms. In your Future City, the history of ancestors, rural farming and tradition rub shoulders with as-yet-unimagined technologies, new forms of energy and survival. Your project should consider an overall sense of the large scale, but should zoom in on details of new, home-crafted solutions to basic resources such as food, water and energy, inspired by the vast library evident in science fiction cinematography, from David Lynch’s Dune or the Mad Max series to Ridley Scott’s classic, Blade Runner.

Film has always been a medium of fascination for architects and this year, we are asking you to put aside the ‘traditional’ tools of architectural representation and design (plan, section and elevation) and explore the spatial qualities inherent in film. Your proposed African Future City should be presented in cinematic format (either in film, animation or film stills) of no more than 9 minutes, accompanied by a single A1 drawing, for which a graphic template will be provided. You are also asked to construct (at any scale), an artefact/model that incorporates (or represents) some aspect of your film. This could be a section of a stage set; a time machine; a wearable body suit; a detail of a new housing typology – the only criteria is that it should be 3D and constructed/fabricated.

This competition is open to all registered students of architecture in Africa enrolled at a tertiary institution at the third year (or BTech) level.

All queries must be submitted via e-mail to Sarah de Villiers, UJ-AZA Coordinator by the 15th of April ([email protected]), with the subject line, ‘Des Baker Enquiry.’

More information can be found on the Student Architecture Festival website.

Photo Credit: Monash University

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