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Luyanda Mpahlwa: Thirty years in architecture: The Politics & The Architect (October 10, 2011)01:13:45

Luyanda Mpahlwa begins by describing how in 1978 he was part of the first group of Black students permitted to study architecture in South Africa. His education was interrupted by five years at Robben Island Maximum Security Prison, after which he completed his education at the Berlin Technical University. He notes how working in Berlin during the reconstruction period immediately following German reunification was a good preparation for post-apartheid South Africa after 1994. Mpahlwa describes his work as project architect for the Felleshus campus of five Nordic embassies in Berlin, and as designer of the new South African embassy in Berlin. He reviews his work in Cape Town since 1994, including an extension to Parliament, and the international airport, a luxury home, and participation in the committee overseeing the construction of ten new stadiums to accommodate South Africa hosting the 2010 World Cup. Mpahlwa describes conditions in the townships, where the Black population struggles without services and facilities much of the world takes for granted. He describes a number of his architectural interventions, including a school, a youth center, low-cost housing using sandbags in the Mitchells Plein area of Cape Town, the Nike Football Training Facility in Soweto, and his proposal for a Design District Incubator for the Fringe district of Cape Town–an area which had been an urban Black community until being cleared by apartheid. Mpahlwa responds to questions about the usefulness of the World Cup stadiums after the games, working in difficult environments with very limited resources, and the value of architects intervening creatively in townships.

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