IN: Inspiration

SOUTH AFRICA’S ARCHITECTURAL CHALLENGES

Rapid urbanisation is a major crisis facing South Africa and its people. Daniel van der Merwe, Technical Marketing Specialist at PPC, tells Leading Architecture and Design Magazine why architects will play a major role in finding new solutions.

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Daniel Van Der Merwe is a man of many passions. Aside from his role as PPC Cement’s Technical Marketing Specialist, van der Merwe is also an enthusiastic thought leader on South Africa’s architectural industry. It therefore comes as no surprise that he is set to lead the annual Architecture ZA conference, taking place in September this year.

A key topic at this year’s conference will be the architectural challenges created by rapid urbanisation, a serious issue facing our country. “Never before in the history of mankind have so many people relocated to cities on such a scale,” he says. While this statement holds true across the world, it is especially relevant in South Africa where an astonishing 64% of the population resides in urban areas. Furthermore, this number is expected to reach 70% within the next 15 years. Rapid migration has led to a number of problems, including severe pressure on existing city infrastructure and town planning efforts.

It’s not all bad news, though. Problems are an opportunity for innovation, and Daniel van der Merwe believes that groundbreaking architectural concepts are sure to emerge from this challenge. “Quality collective spaces for private and public use is paramount for social enablement, and architects’ and designers’ roles in creating these environments are ever more essential,” he adds.

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