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Architecture plays vital role

Posted On Thursday, 26 September 2002 10:01 Published by
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Industrial development projects need architects who help meet human needs
The role of architecture in industrial development is increasingly gaining recognition.

The result: is industrial developments with a more human face.

Though architecture is slowly gaining ground in industrial development projects, serious threats remain, according to architects at a recent seminar on the relevance of architecture in industrial development projects.

This is because many industrial projects take place out of public sight, and the exclusion of architects from the initial process of development renders aesthetics and related aspects somewhat irrelevant.

In many situations the role of an architect is swallowed by other professionals working on an industrial development project, like structural engineers.

Industrial Development and Engineering Association chairman Lynell Fliss says the role of an industrial architect cannot be substituted. It has to be seen as an arm of a development project dealing with two interfaces environment and the human factor.

Norman Green of SkorpionZinc in Namibia says the industrial architect needs to create a landmark with any industrial project he works on by making it different from its surroundings.

However, most architects feel they should strive to integrate developments with the environment, not create something that will clash with the surroundings.

Green says architects have another key role engraving an aesthetic theme into industrial projects through shape, material, pattern and colour.

Colin Brown of SemArch says that involving architects in industrial development projects minimises potentially hazardous situations.

Architects agree, stressing that there is a need for industrial architects to strive for a balance between functionality, meeting human needs and aesthetic requirements.

They say industrial architects must understand the core of the industrial activity for which a particular project is designed to be able to strike this balance.

Architects must strive to get involved during the planning stages of projects because when they are brought in later, they are seen as a 'foreign' derailing factor.

Projects such as SkorpionZink and Mozal, the aluminium smelter in Mozambique, are good examples of where architects have played a role in industrial development, scaling projects to meet human requirements as well as industrial needs.

Saldanha Steel a steel mill 'that wanted to look like a cathedral' came under fire for being one of the worst examples of industrial architecture.

The seminar was hosted by the Industrial Development Engineering Association in Johannesburg last week. It drew representatives from a variety of industrial activities ranging from mining to manufacturing. The panel included Franco Pellegrini of TPC Architects, academic Hugh Fraser and Anglo Gold executive officer Nigel Unwin.

Business Day

Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day
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