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Conversations on Architecture 2013 – Cape Town

conversations on architectureDistinguished international speakers from as far afield as UK, Germany and Paraguay together with our local architectural prodigies will be probing important matters pertaining to the ‘built environment’.

Sponsored by Caesarstone and hosted by Decorex SA, COA is tailor-made for design and building professionals, including architects; lighting specialists; interior designers; architectural and interior design students and other industry related professionals.

Hosted by Hugh Fraser, the diverse line-up of international and local industry players will once again put the spotlight on contemporary issues in the architectural field. The in-depth presentations will be followed by enlightening panel discussions, giving a different perspective on the various topics of the day.

Caesarstone will also launch and showcase their exciting new additions to the Classico collection at each COA event, with Durban getting the enviable first peek. This new range can be viewed at the Caesarstone stand at each of the Decorex exhibitions in 2013.


DATE :                   Monday 25th March 2013

TIME:                    08h00-16h00 (registration & breakfast from 08h00)

VENUE:                 The CTICC

COST:                    R950.00 inc vat. (Includes refreshments & entrance to Decorex Cape Town)




International Perspective:

Solano Benitez

Solano BenitezAward-winning Paraguayan architect, Solano Benitez graduated from the School of Architecture of the National University of Asunción (FAUNA) in 1986. In 1987 he founded Gabinete de Arquitectura, the office he currently shares with Alberto Marinoni and Gloria Cabral. It is a professional structure that promotes architecture by applying research in the area of design, construction and education.

Among the prizes and distinctions Bernitez has received are an Outstanding Youth award from the Junior Chamber of Paraguay for contributions to national culture (1999); the BSI Swiss, an international prize given to architects under 50 for their contribution to contemporary architecture (2008), an Honorable Mention in Paraguay’s National Congress for contributions to the country (2011), the Architect of the Bicentenary award from the Paraguayan Architects Association (2011), and an Honorary Membership in the American Institute of Architects (2012).

Jorg Leeser

Jorg LeeserJorg Leeser of German architectural practice, BeL Associates that he established in 2000 with Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, hails from Essen, Germany and he attended RWTH Aachen University and Barlett School of Architecture, London. He later became project architect at Leeser Architecture in New York City. Leeser’s past positions include that of design director at Intelligent Agent, a magazine for interactive media in New York and assistant professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York in 1998.

Leeser collaborated with b+k, Cologne in 1999 to 2000 and he served as assistant professor, constructive design, at RWTH Aachen University between until 2006. Between 2008 and 2009, he was professor of contextual architecture at Bergische Universität in Wuppertal.  Most recently, Leeser is Professor of Urban Context Architecture Studio at Peter Behrens School of Architecture, Dusseldorf.

Alex de Rijke

Jorg LeeserHeadline speaker and Dean of Architecture and Interiors at the Royal College of Art in London, Alex de Rijke will be showing and discussing his body of work.

The architectural work by De Rijke’s firm, dRMM, is characterised by its social relevance, conceptual clarity and inventive use of new materials. Their built projects have been the subject of much critical acclaim, and the practice has received many design awards including the American Institute of Architects’ Excellence in Design award and the Royal Fine Art Commission’s Building of the Year award. De Rijke combines his dRMM leadership with on-going research into materials, methods of construction and sustainable technologies.

COA delegates can expect De Rijke to touch on his particular fields of interest which include: Engineered timber structures, architecture in relation to art, digital and analogue design methods as well as prefabricated and mobile architecture.

Local Insight:

Jonathan Green

jonathan greenEco-architect Jonathan Green is in private practice in Cape Town as well as financial director of Green Integrated (sustainability consultants to the construction industry established in 2012). Having returned to Cape Town after obtaining a master in science degree from the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University (MSc Theory & Practice of Sustainable Design), he is now also lecturing part-time at the UCT School of Architecture in sustainability, and assisting in the 3rd year studio.

Green has developed a tool to assess architectural products and rate them according to their sustainability footprint. Called SPEARS (Sustainable Product Evaluation and Assessment Rating System), the tool is currently in development phase pending further funding.

Heinrich Wolff

Heinrich WolffHeinrich Wolff is an architect who believes architecture can be a force for social change while advancing the global architectural debate. Born in South Africa, Wolff studied at the University of Pretoria and the University of Cape Town.Heinrich Wolff is an architect working in Cape Town, South Africa. He is in practice with his wife Ilze as Wolff Architects. Their design studio is concerned with developing an architectural practice of consequence through the mediums of design, advocacy, research and documentation. Heinrich was in partnership with Jo Noero from 1998 – 2011. Heinrich’s work has been exhibited internationally, the most significant exhibitions being the Venice Biennale (2006 & 2010), MoMA (2010), the Sao Paulo Biennale (2005 & 2007) and  the South American Architecture Biennale – Ecuador (2008). In 2007, Heinrich won the prestigious DaimlerChrysler Award for South African Architecture, in acknowledgement of his work in South Africa. With his practice Heinrich received the Lubetkin Award in 2006 from the RIBA for the Red Location Museum of Struggle. He has won several other international and South African awards for excellence in design, most notably for public buildings such as schools and hospitals. Heinrich has taught at universities in South Africa and in the USA and currently holds an adjunct associate professorship at the University of Cape Town. The focus of his research and writing is on developing an imaginative and proactive attitude to political change and social justice through architecture.

Johann Slee

Johann SleeJohann Slee is the principal partner at Slee and Co architects, based in Stellenbosch. In recent years, Slee has received numerous awards from the South African Institute of Architects, the Gauteng Institute for Architecture as well as the Cape Institute for Architecture and he is widely regarded as one of South Africa’s leading “high spec” domestic architects.

The South African Institute for Architects will be assessing and validating the conference for between 0.5 and 1 CPD credit.


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Joe Social

I'm writing this cos I have a lot to say and sometimes I can't sleep unless I write it. Then its gone from my head. I am a blogger, and a property dude. I "entrepreneur" the shit out of things. I run on tequila and good food.

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