TUT|Tharabololo is an initiative based at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and is a partnership between the Department of Architecture and Industrial Design, Department of Mechanical Engineering. This is a entity constituted within the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE). Our team was constituted in 2017 and we have links with the University of Johannesburg DSD Desis Lab.
TUT|Tharabololo aims to promote design for social innovation in both departments at TUT and to establish partnerships across other higher education institutions in the region of Gauteng. We also aim to establish long term partnerships with communities that we are involved with. We aim to gear our teaching programmes towards design problems that are of high relevance to the socio-economic conditions or the context we practice in as well as being aligning with global approaches to social innovation. We have also established regular “conversation” sessions where these issues are debated and are actively involved in producing research on teaching, design-build and community engagement methods and outputs. We also develop design studio briefs based on these principles.
Design-by-making research project: Enabling micro-infrastructures
The main objective of the research is to investigate the insertion of portable (movable/lightweight/temporary/prefabricated) infrastructure in an existing context on service delivery and place making. These solutions hold the potential to promote micro-scale socio-economic activities within an informal settlement. An experimental design-by-making research approach will be used for this study. The process will be iterative using a series of small and low-cost projects in achieving the objective of the study. Combining visual (design process) and experimental (full-scale prototype built structures) research, a design-by-making laboratory is currently established to: conduct feasibility studies; understand design and real world problems; investigate design-based solutions; prototype solutions; observe how targeted end-users inhabit the prototypes; gather feedback from end-users; make improvements of prototypes for further feedback; communicate developed solutions; further investigate scalability of solutions.
Italy / South Africa Joint Research Programme 2018: A social and spatial investigation at the Moxomatsi village, Mpumalangy (SSIMM)
An integral part of anthropology is the investigation into human societies, cultures and their development. Studies in social anthropology examine how human societies and social structures are organised and understood. Architects, on the other hand, focus almost exclusively on the spatial construct while designing spaces for human habitation. This project brings together the aforementioned disciplines in a unique manner by focusing on a forgotten African society. The envisioned project brings together the social and spatial perspectives of different research fields to provide a greater understanding of the unique relationship that the Bokoni tribe had with the land inhabited by them during the 1500’s. The project participants will work together to accurately measure and interpret the stone terraces erected by the Bokoni people at the Moxomatsi village in Mpumalanga, South Africa. The aim of this project is to cross over between different subject fields to not only develop sustainable institutional links between the Italy and South Africa, but also between the partnering disciplines. This collaborative project will see Italian expertise being made available to South African academics from a previously disadvantaged institution to assist in the transfer of knowledge.
Bertrams Community Project: HUE @ FADA/UJ, CARINBE @ UJ, Architecture @ TUT, Town and Regional Planning @ UJ, and partners
HUE_UJ and partners (including the Architecture Department at TUT) has partnered with a community of residents in Bertram’s Johannesburg. The intention is to support the community in improving their living conditions which are currently very harsh. The community already work well together and are well organised. The building they inhabit currently belongs to government and sits on a government priority block. The existing inhabitants have resided in this residence for a considerable number of years; the majority between 5 to 20 years. Over these years they have faced constant turmoil and threats of eviction. Due to organizations like Plan Act and ICRC that have educated the residents about their rights, the community has managed to remain in the building. Although they do not pay for renting out the building, the residents of the premises, have taken great steps in ensuring a better life for them and their children. The premises is communally cleaned, and they have worked together to provide for basic services and security to be met in the building. All maintenance is done by the residents themselves. Currently there are some major structural and health hazards in the building that the residents do not have the financial means or professional expertise to address. What we propose with our partners (ICRC and Plan Act and CARINBE) is to document the issues that the building currently has, compile this into a document, and workshop ideas with the residents as to how we can move forward to improving their homes. We will then attempt to lobby financing and professional expertise to improve the building and in doing so, also improve the safety and livelihoods of the residents. Thereafter we intend investigating possible phased interventions to improve conditions – perhaps ultimately transitioning into a functioning, safe mixed use residential development.