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njabulo phekani

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making r.o.o.m in a parade: acknowledged public space in the city of cape town

This dissertation is a personal architectural palimpsest of earlier architectural theories applied to the public and urban realms of design and planning. These concepts within the dissertation are being reinterpreted and appropriated into new theoretical structures in order to begin a personal proposal for how I, as an architect, might begin to address and solve the question of “how can we begin to resolve historical injustice?”

The thesis will investigate Cape Town’s urban fabric as a collection of rooms within a macro-scale room, which is the city. The investigation looks to zoom in on the possibility of reusing public space as the ideal platform to begin probing and application of reparation. This will be achieved through the lens of the everyday human experience, navigating the journey in and out of the city, whilst bringing acknowledgement to a previously rarely unearthed past of South Africa. Early on in the development of this theory, the Grand Parade was chosen as the ideal microscopic lens to start digging into the potential of R.O.O.M.’s re-appropriated conceptions that establish criteria for application and invention. In an intuitive manner, the project has looked at addressing historical injustice through the lens of “rights reason and repatriation” as parameters that. Addressing the past atrocities in the current state of South Africa in itself has become a highly contested issue as to where one begins. The dissertation, instead of looking to question the legislature and the powers that be, rather looks at approaching and revealing.

The initial renominates of the colonial structures, whilst also beginning to question and rethink the spatial practices leftover by the looming hangover of a colonial past of multiple powers making decisions, but none of which looked to consider nor take account of both the native people of the nation or the colonised. The opportunity to begin to re-appropiate previously colonial public realms and, more specifically, ‘the parade’ will allow for the use of urban design strategies, spatial programming, and architecture to at the very least begin to provide clues, experiences, and room in order to look at the cities in which we, as South Africans, inhabit with a new lens focused towards change, acknowledgement, and reason.

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