#mokena makeka

Building a City of Neighborhoods

Architect Mokena Makeka discusses housing inequality in Cape Town, and gives Urban Africa an…

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WATCH: Video fly-through of MoDILA. Cape Town’s Guggenheim?

“Whilst architects have retained their traditional strength of cultural and aesthetic formal considerations, they have lost their numeracy and the ability to demonstrate that architectural intention and performance need not be diametrically opposed concerns, and in a nation which is still largely design illiterate, the price that society pays for ill conceived and overly simplified solutions to the built environment has been the production diminished public environments, and increased isolation of the architect from the public imagination as a trustworthy and responsible practitioner and agent for change.”

The design for MoDILA is a bold, provocative iconic building that serves not only as a building to house works of art and design, but to be a place and space that captures the imagination of citizens. It lends itself to being a contributor to various sectors of our society ranging from tourism to the arts. The building will serve as a catalyst to unleashing the socioeconomic potential of its immediate surroundings and contribute to the forming of a clear relationship and understanding between our country and design.

Watch the video fly-through after the break.

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Upgrading of Cape Town Station’s Strand Street Facade

Construction is currently underway to upgrade the outer facade of Cape Town Station on the Strand Street section. Below shows the history of design proposals for the facade.

What we have before us are two solutions to the same design inquiry. Where one proposal is bold loud and attention grabbing the other steps back humbly falling in the background. The one makes clearly visible through text what lies beyond whilst the other assumes its citizens know where its public buildings are.

Which do you prefer? Click on the images to see larger version.

Current Cape Town Station Wrap upgrade design

Design 1

Original design for Cape Town Station wrap

Design 2

Construction currently underway with Design 1

A new way to think about Cape Town by Mokena Makeka and Rory Williams

by Mokena Makeka and Rory Williams

Our politicians have been quick to latch onto the idea that design is part of the city-building process, and that public transport is something that should be designed to create a more equitable and inclusive city.

This is true, of course, but what the World Design Capital (WDC) brings to the exploration of our future is the concept of a design-led approach that responds to the needs of residents in meaningful ways. Designers need to be at the foc’sle of the ship, watching for hazards and routes to our destination.

It’s not enough to say that we need better public transport, or more tourism and foreign investment. What are the drivers, the forces that we can harness in designing the city?

Read the full article, entitled “A new way to think about our city”, which originally appeared on 24 November 2011 at The Cape Times website.

l Makeka is founder trustee for the Museum of Design, Innovation, Leadership and Art (MoDILA), and a Cape Town Design Network committee member. Williams is a transport planner with Arup. Together they write the weekly Cape Times column Men about Town.

Video: A glimpse into Cape Town 2030. A connected city.

This is the vision for a section of the Cape Town CBD for the year 2030. The idea is the brain child of Mokena Makeka, the Principal and Creative Director of Makeka Design Lab, a proudly South African design practice. Makeka Designs or MDL as it is affectionately known, have been doing ground breaking architectural work for a practice that is only 6 years old.

  • Neighbourhood A: Intense mixed-use, cultural centre, government workers, commercial opportunities
  • Neighbourhood B: Innovative technological research and educational centre Informal markets, research and creative academy. Galleries etc.
  • Neighbourhood C: Government services
  • Neighbourhood D: Health and lifestyle centre. Tennis courts, squash courts, parks, green link, public swimming pool

News Clippings:

1. City mulls massive urban regeneration proposal

2. Cape Town’s R20bn facelift

3. Cape Town: World class city or glorified fishing village?