Architecture and Art 2016-04-18 10:13:06 AM

An everlasting union 

Since its beginning, architecture has been inextricably entwined with art. 

In ancient times, public spaces (especially religious buildings) were designed and built to inspire. A wide range of 'artists' and decorative craftsmen were engaged, as well as labourers. 

Both the exteriors and interiors of these buildings were often showcases for fine art painting (e.g. Sistine Chapel), frieze and relief sculpture (e.g. The Parthenon, European Gothic cathedrals), stained glass art (e.g. Chartres Cathedral), and other artworks like mosaics and metalwork. 

Public building initiatives were often inspired by the development of visual art, and most major 'arts' movements (e.g. Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassical) influenced both architecture and the fine arts. 

Sometimes the architecture of a gallery becomes its defining characteristic, the thing that draws you to visit – and that influences the sort of work you can see there. 

Does architecture impact on your experience of art? Should architecture impact on your experience of art? 

A few years ago the Tate Gallery asked:

·         Is it possible for the spaces we see art in to be neutral?

·         Are some galleries so interesting architecturally, they dwarf the art?

·         Or are gallery spaces malleable – do they seem different when they show different work? 

But “is it art?” 

Pritzker Prize winner Richard Meier claims that architecture is in fact “the greatest of the arts.” Architect Philip Johnson took it a step further, and once declared “Architecture is art, nothing else.” 

Yet Dessen Hillman, a graduate student at MIT, pursuing his SMArchS degree in Architecture and Urbanism pointed out that "Art is a form of self-expression with absolutely no responsibility to anyone or anything. Architecture can be a piece of art, but it must be responsible to people and its context." 

What is YOUR design philosophy

We would love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts with us on our Facebook Page.

Why We Love Malapa So 2016-03-01 1:04:55 PM

There is a death trap 40-odd kilometres outside Jozi.  A hole in the ground of a brown valley – with an occasional wildebeest passing by.  Two million years ago, the hole was a much deeper, making an escape for anybody that fell in impossible. And this is why the Malapa excavation site is such a treasure trove of fossils. 

After Lee Burger’s discovery, a new branch was to the human family tree: Australopithecus sediba, a nearly two-million-year-old relative from South Africa. 

Any time human fossils, especially skeletons, are unearthed it’s a big deal.  What makes the Malapa site so special is its incredible time capsule:

  • The hominin remains include bones that are often preserved only as fragments have survived intact here.
  • The hominins represent a range of developmental stages, including an infant, which will allow the study of maturation in the species.
  • The fossilised plants and animals at Malapa are the actual plants and animals the hominins had in their environment.

The once 30- to 50-meter-deep underground cavern with a shallow freshwater pool at the bottom, provided conditions which allowed for the preservation of some unusual features such as:

  • teeth from the young male - the research team was able to analyse the tartar for clues to what he ate in his final days
  • molecular imaging of what appears to be skin preserved on some of the bones supports that interpretation. If verified, this would be the first evidence of fossil hominin soft tissue, and could conceivably provide insights into A. Sediba’s skin colour and hair colour, and the distribution of hair and sweat glands. Such skin features are themselves clues to the body’s ability to offload excess heat, which became increasingly important as hominins became more active over the course of evolution.

How exciting to have this and other paleontological discoveries in our back yard.  And what an honour to have designed the visitors’ centre and platform over the “death-trap”.

Watch a Youtube Video

2016-02-08 10:49:08 AM

Five Reasons Why It Rocks to Hire an Architect 2016-02-08 10:47:28 AM

Hello there.  Thanks for stopping by.

Liam and Gerhard had successfully grown their business to a stage where they desperately needed more space for their thriving organisation.  However, with the credit crunch, they weren’t keen to buy new premises, so the decision was made to extend their existing building.  As it wasn’t a particularly big job, Liam and Gerhard tackled the alterations themselves – hey, how difficult could it be? 

Ten months (and infinite grey hairs later), Liam and Gerhard conceded that while they were brilliant in their own field, architecture is best left to the experts. Here’s why: 

Architects design EVERY SINGLE DAY.  So it’s natural that they are able to clearly see the big picture.  An architect will readily maximise your property’s potential, overcome constraints, and easily reconfigure rooms.

Well-versed in everything from the legislative requirements to building best practices to the latest materials and design concepts, architects are the experts.  Allow yourself to draw on their skills and knowledge.

Whizzes at ergonomic functionality, an architect will ensure that your space works FOR you, and flows with your day-to-day needs.  A well-designed building is an efficient structure – saving you money on utilities.

Red tape and government departments are a nightmare at the best of times.  But when you are working on one of your most valuable assets, time really IS money.  An architect will help navigate you through the planning process and building regulations.

Your architect, if decided by agreement, will oversee construction activities and will ensure that your project is being built in accordance with the construction drawings and specifications.


Don’t fall into the same trap as Liam and Gerhard did.  From the get-go, hire an architect to guide you through the minefield of updating your environment.

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Body Building - Architect Style 2016-01-19 11:21:04 PM


Architect Sou Fujimoto described in a Harvard University lecture, the contrast between what he calls the “nest” and “cave” type architectures.
To sum it up, he identifies the nest-type architecture as an environment that is made for people, customised for them in order to comfort them in specific ways.
Conversely, Fujimoto describes the cave-type architecture as a building with an integral “landscape” — where within the architectural fabric, occupants will ultimately find their own comfortable place which suits their needs.

The corporeality of architecture is as old as architectural thought.  The body-column metaphor is traced in archaeological material from Egypt, Asia Minor, and the Levant, as well as from Greece.  Vitruvius compared the human body directly to the body of a building, and then made a sequence of claims for this analogy that far transcended the need to explain the meaning of proportion, symmetry, and harmony in architecture.


The Eleatics, the Atomists, the Pythagoreans, Plato, and Aristotle et al all weighed in on the relationship between architectural form and space and the human body.

More recently, Joseph Rykwert used a blend of archaeology, psychoanalysis, and anthropology to look below the surface of architecture in an attempt to critically examine the way the classical orders, which have dominated Western architecture for nearly three millennia, were first formulated.  His findings were published in The Dancing Column.

If the human body and architecture are engaged in a “dance” where each adapts to the other, their link is a primary requirement of architectural viability.

Design should begin with an understanding of the human form and its relationship to habitable space.

Architectural design is all about finding the right balance between the two – the interplay of where body and building meet, exchange, part ways, and influence one another.


What are your views on the connection between the human form and architectural space?  Please drop us a mail at to share your thoughts with us.