The Architecture of life in Durban – UIA 2014

The Union of Internationale Architects (UIA) 2014, “Architecture Otherwhere” was held in Durban last week from the 03-07 August, 2014 and one of the key points had to be – exploring the talent and the history of Durban. There is a special aura that Durban holds with its Durbanites’ and this aura lies at the foundation of being a Durbanite and ultimately a South African. This can be described as a fusion of the minds and activities in Durban central, the jazz artist (saxophone slung over his back) making his way downtown, the Muslim shop owner that rushes through traffic for the call to prayer, the taxi driver who rhythmically hoots for more passengers, the business women trying to find a free parking in midday madness…All these are what connects us as Durbanites, we are constantly in a rush and yet still laid back (doesn’t sound possible but it definitely is). The Architecture OTHERWHERE expo shared accentuated this relationship and allowed a sense of pride to be displayed with Durbanites and South Africans alike.

One of the core features of Durban central has to lie in its architecture. The immense history that lies within the buildings oozes a special antiquity that cannot be cloned and is rare to find in this day and age. It’s all too common to immediately judge the field of architecture and equate it as being boring and rigid, but in actual fact architecture holds such great value in society. It is the construct of modernity, a field that gives rise to landmarks that surpass our lifetimes. It is for this very reason that we as Durbanites should take a minute to appreciate our surroundings, absorb the design of a building, the intricate nature of transforming a plain drawing into a three dimensional structure. A building is not just a building, it holds a history, it holds stories of different people, it holds scars and bruises. Case on point: Durban City Hall – this building has housed concerts and debutant balls, conferences and weddings and with all of that, birthed a story of a young girl falling off to sleep in the auditorium at a religious concert and that same girl sharing her first slow dance with her boyfriend in front of her entire family. These stories are what gives a building character and although these stories are not always aired, the walls of that building album each moment and hold the sanctity in place for years and years.

So when you think of putting a value to a building, remember that it’s never just a building, it’s an iconic landmark that houses your memories, your secrets and your story…much love from the GoRhino Insurance team.

P.S Check out a lovely account of Durban with Karen Van Pletsen made by UIA Congress: Architecture OTHERWHERE Durban

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