December 2013 Letter from KZNIA President – Kevin Bingham

Dear KZNIA Friends

I clearly recall my welling emotions while standing at the arrival of Nelson Mandela at the opening address of the XIII World AIDS Conference at the ICC in Durban in 2000. It is a similar emotion that I get when singing our National Anthem and one that I again have experienced listening to the many speeches and messages of remembrance for our great leader, Nelson Mandela, that have been aired over this period of mourning. This emotion is and was fuelled by the immense awe for the man and his lived message, and for the foothold that he has given our nation.  We give thanks for his extraordinary life and for the lessons he taught us. RIP Tata.

We have reached the end of another year – one in which Architects have received mixed blessings. I know of those who have had a successful year, while others have moved away in search of their greener pastures.

My sense is that we, the KZNIA, have had a good year. Our Institute is all about its people, and we are very blessed to have a dedicated Team, both in the administration, and those serving on the Regional Committee. I thank our Committee for their many hours of voluntary engagement on a variety of task teams, all geared to improving the architectural playing field and to assist you, the member. I also thank our administration team for attending to the day to day needs, and for their work in promoting the KZNIA.

Nina Saunders and I have served as your 2 representatives on the SAIA National Board this past year. SAIA is in the process of re-writing its constitution, following a directive given at an Imbizo held earlier in the year. This includes a re-think on Corporate membership and the functionality of SAIA both nationally and regionally.

The major focus at our Institute is the preparation for the UIA2014 Conference. Please remember that the early-bird registrations close at the end of this year! Be one of the 7000 delegates!

We congratulate KZNIA Journal Editor, Walter Peters and the Editorial Board under Nina Saunders, with support from Maria Criticos, on another set of exceptional issues. Wally is relocating to the Western Cape and will be handing over the well contoured reins to a new editor. The upcoming edition will cover the prelude to UIA2014. We again thank Corobrik for their unstinting support.

The Education Task Team has produced another fine New Paradigms Conference, and has been instrumental in setting in place a facilitator programme at the UKZN Archi-School. Thank you to the many members who have given of their time voluntarily, following an appeal by the School. The students are producing excellent work and Professor Ora Joubert, the Design (Thesis) Project external examiner had this to say after this year’s examination: “I truly stand in awe at the industriousness of your students to not only produce thoroughly researched and extremely comprehensive documents that are consistently well-argued, logically structured and well-written, but thereupon able to produce designs of a high quality”, and “I have no doubt in my mind that the architecture students from the UKZN produce the best and academically most sound design dissertations in the country.”

The Open Architecture programme, enabling office-based students to study on-line while in architectural employment, kicks off in February, through the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. This SAIA/KZNIA initiative will initially start at B.Tech. level, progressing thereafter to the Masters level. Students located all across South Africa will be registering for the first offering. Talks are currently underway with UKZN regarding a proposal for Open Architecture to deliver the part-time Master of Architecture programme. We thank the eThekwini Municipality for their support in this legacy programme.

Our Practice task team deals with your concerns related to your everyday issues experienced in the office. The recent focus has been the relationship with the local authority. A meeting has been set up along with a delegation from SAPOA to visit the Municipality’s Dr. Moyo early in the New Year.

Interestingly, most of the niggles that we have to deal with regarding our membership and their clients is borne out of there being no Client-Architect agreement in place, and hence a lack of understanding on the services to be rendered. Thank you to our 3 Wise Men for their support and guidance over the year.

Our Heritage Task Team has had 2 project proposals accepted by UIA2014. They are:  30 Durban Landmarks and Architectural Heritage Conservation in KZN (film shorts).

We also enjoyed the KZNIA Awards of Architectural Excellence function held at the KZNSA Gallery; saw the enjoyment of “Be an Architect for a Day”, the sandcastle building competition, the Heritage photographic competition and members’ exhibition. The Regional Corobrik Student of the Year award ceremony was held at our home, and students were regular visitors to our functions.

Our Membership Task Team will soon be knocking on your door for a short chat with your staff regarding the direction and essence of the KZNIA. Three practices have been visited thus far with great responses reported.

All in all a busy and productive year!

We thank you for your support and trust that we have been of good service to you in 2013. Best wishes for the year-end break.