The School of Built Environment and Development Studies hosted the Hans Hallen: Collective Architecture in Durban exhibition at the KZN Institute for Architecture.
The work was curated by lecturer Dr Silvia Bodei in collaboration with Mrs Michele Jacobs of UKZN’s Architecture Archives, and masters student Ms Roanne Moodley.
The exhibition showcased the work of third year students created for the module History of South African Architecture – a critical analysis of six projects designed by South African architect Hans Hallen through the mediums of models, pictures, videos and original drawings.
Their work focused on collective buildings in Durban which are related to the idea of living in a community and sharing spaces. The selection includes Huletts Head Office (1978) in Umhlanga, Saint Olav Norwegian Lutheran Church (1967), the housing building Bellevue (1965) in Musgrave and UKZN’s Mabel Palmer Residence (1966), the Scully Dining Hall (1965) and the John Bews Residence (1964).
‘The work aims to cultivate an awareness of the composition and articulation of the built forms and ideas of Hallen’s projects revealing the different aspects and references incorporated in each building,’ said Bodei. ‘An important result of this work was to discover the close connection between the architectures studied and the site in terms of climate, materials and landscape.’
Student Ms Katherine Meyer, who worked on the Scully Hall building, said the experience was amazing. ‘While working on the projects that Hans Hallen designed, we identified that he had an artistic flair for designing buildings and was quite immersed in modernism particularly in South Africa. He also managed to create UKZN residences that incorporated social spaces for students. We have learned so much from this module and Hans Hallen that we could use in our future designs,’ said Meyer.
Academic Leader for the Architecture discipline Mr Lawrence Ogunsanya applauded the hard work and dedication of the students saying: ‘This exhibit really shows that the work we produce has relevancy in Durban and we appreciate the support over the years.’
Hans Hallen, who now lives in Australia, sent a video message to the students that was played during the exhibit. Said Hallen: ‘I am delighted to see my work through the eyes of students at my alma mater. It brought back so many great memories designing those buildings.’
He advised students to work hard but to also be mindful of incorporating Art into their future designs.