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Interview: Peter Rich
Interview by Pallavi Shrivastava

Peter Rich is one of the most significant architects based in South Africa. He has extensively documented the indigenous African settlements during the Apartheid in the 1970s and this is very much the influence on his work. His work came into international focus when his documentation and analytical sketches were made public, which he deeply feels is an integral part of architectural inquiry.

He has been affiliated as the Professor of Architecture at University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg for 30 years and he was recently a keynote speaker at 361 degrees conference in held in Mumbai. WAN’s Mumbai correspondent Pallavi Shrivastava had an opportunity to speak to him. Excerpts from the interview are presented below:

Do you believe architects can be or should be geography specific with their distinct inquiry, process and solutions?

Yes, I believe geographical physical, climatic and cultural context, provide the clues to, if responded to in an intelligent way, an enriching architecture. The challenge in a globalising world is to not be creating synonymous environments, which could be anywhere.

When did realize you wanted to be an architect? What other architects/ thinkers have greatly inspired you in your journey of architectural enquiry?

I was born an architect - my parents saw me as the successor or re-incarnate of my mother’s brother whose architect life was cut short at 29 years old - there was something mythically heroic and wonderful about being an architect.

Where do you derive inspiration in your architecture work? You mentioned in your talk at the 361 degrees conference about engaging with a local community and listening to them carefully and thus moving towards to solve it architecturally. Can you elaborate a little more on it?

I derive inspiration from observing and through drawing trying to gain deeper understanding, be it from how ordinary people live, or good examples of architecture or from my heroes. There is much to learn, from the ordinary people who we are designing for- from the delight ordinary people experience using our creations.

Globalization is being seen as a one of the disruption just like wars were previously looked at. Disruption can be a great time for re-invention of people and a nation as well. You mentioned that the world is looking at India to come up with unique architectural philosophy to respond to solve some of the challenges. Can you talk a little bit about it?

India is in a unique position in the world. It is benefiting from the infrastructure and institutional structures put in place by the British and a really good educational system at all levels of learning. India some 70 years after Independence NOW has the confidence to discover itself - its Indianness - and be proud of just that. It is the place of the fresh and the new. It has its Masters in Doshi, Correa, Neelkanth Chhaya and the late architect Raje. It has its emerging masters in Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai, Rajeev Kathpalia and Rahul Mehrotra, to name a few. In other words it has more depth of good architects who are alive than the USA.

What is your advice to young architects and designers? And which young architects you are looking up to from recent times?

Know who you are. Respect your circumstance culturally and climatically. Learn from your masters; learn from your ancient culture and from what peasant cultures attuned to their circumstance.

Young architects I am looking up to Alberto Kallash of Mexico, M3 of Australia, Bijoy Jain, Sanjay Mohe of India, Palinda Kannangara of Sri Lanka, Li Xianodong of China, Arturo Franco of Spain, Estudio Barozzi Veiga of Italy/Spain.

Hand-drawn sketches from your travels seem to be a large part of your practice. To what extent do you use digital technology (e.g. AutoCAD and BIM) in the design process and do you think that a careful balance between the two is important in the education of the next generation of architects?

Use the computer intelligently as a tool. Draw your way freehand into your ideas as it gives you access to the library of your autobiography, which is not in your computer.

What do you think of 3D printing?

It is a very useful tool.

Any particular project that you would like to talk about in brief and why is it dear to you?

The Amazwi Project- the first Womens Museum in Africa - to be built in the Valley of a thousand hills, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. The project has evolved into a centre, which is representative of both the feminine principle and its logical extension as a centre of the Environment. It is at a stage where the stakeholder dialogue is giving rise to potential built form and a dialogue between the making of the Women’s Center and the Center of the Environment.

Read more on Pallavi's Mumbai-based Metroblog for World Architecture News

Image: 361 Degrees

 

 

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Shower theory turned on
Bamboo Chocolate Factory
DETAIL Magazine
St. Petersburg Pier
2012 Royal Gold Medal for
Parque Termal Dolores
Olympic Park competition
African American Cultural
Energy Surplus House
Gales wreck wind turbines
Hyotan hot spings
10x10 Review
2011 WAN AWARDS Colour
2011 WAN AWARDS Commercial
Palestinian Museum
Queen Elizabeth Olympic
The top 10 stories of 2011
WAN AWARDS 2011 –
2011 WAN AWARDS Commercial
WAN House of the Year
Tarlungeni Open Space
CARE International Tsunami
Steve Jobs Statue
WAN launches three new
Cost saving scandal casts
Colour in architecture
HS2
Hotel de Glace
T30 Hotel
Guggenheim Museum
RUN, Olympic Park
RIBA President’s Medals
Financial experts voice
Kodak’s legacy
Plastic Bottle Lights
RULA Maps
Three buildings collapse
Strange But True
Building Trust
The Near and the Elsewhere
The Finnish line
MoMA PS1 Performance Dome
120 Hours
Education design forced to
Wind Turbines
CTV Building
African Union Headquarters
WAN House of the Year
2011 WAN AWARDS
Cultural Projects
Case Study: 15 Union
Jiri Pelcl - The
2011 WAN AWARDS
WAN AWARDS 21 FOR 21
Napoleonland
ENYA Harlem Edge Design
Inspiration and Process in
Moscow Agglomeration
New York’s Center for
Zap' Ados
Lusail Marina Mall
Green Building and Climate
WAN INTERIOR DESIGN AWARDS
Ben Marshall joins WAN
Levitated Mass
Museum of Contemporary Art
Paul Morgan Architects
Made in USA - German
Future Housing
Wacom Inkling
Air Danshin Systems Inc
Angkor Wat Replica
North West Cambridge
The Architect Trailer
Sino-Singapore Tianjin
Changes to UK Planning Laws
Book Review: Spomenik and
Healthcare Awards get
Pedestrian Bridge
ACE signs Tangiers
New NPPF finalised
WAN AWARDS 2012 21 for 21
WAN AWARDS 2012 Education
New York Works Program
Vissershok Primary School
Urban Explorers climb the
'From Beijing to London:
WAN AWARDS 2012 Education
Citizens of No Place: An
Nuclear Test Site
New addition to WAN
Azerbaijan Tower
What makes an architect?
Earthquake Experiments at
WAN Jobs
WAN AWARDS 2012 21 for 21
Orangutans as Engineers
Kampala - Entebbe Highway
Aga Khan Award for
WAN Innovation Network
Qatar 2022 Supreme
Lazika Masterplan
Guggenheim Museum
eVolo 2012 Skyscraper
2012 Habitat Youth BUILD
City of Arts and Sciences
Dancing Dragons
Recycled vinyl at the
WAN LIGHTING AWARDS 2012
Record-breaking swimming
Honduras - Charter City
Priority School Building
Luftschloss
Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon
VILLA TUGENDHAT
LEED 2012
Glacial Water Bottling
WAN AWARDS 2012 Healthcare
2012 WAN Hotel of the Year
National Stadium
I Love Architecture Auction
AIA concerns over U.S.
Mosque and Islamic Centre
Maggie’s Cancer Caring
WAN 21 for 21 Award
European Spallation Source
Capri Power Station
WAN AWARDS 2012 Healthcare
4 World Trade Center
Corruption Eradication
Rock-Sette Disaster
CTV Building Inquiry
THE SELFRIDGES BEAUTY
FIELD OF LIGHT
New International Trade
Battersea Power Station
Aquatics Centre and Field
New technology park
Global stadia by FCC
425 Park Avenue
World Cities Network
Formula 1 Lotus Sculpture
Monolithic apartment block
AllesWirdGut
Floriade 2022
Peter Murray Protests for
World Architecture Day
Xiqu Centre
Nelson Mandela Legacy
Egar Mueller street art
Imperial Plaza Sky
City of Dreams Pavilion
HOTEL BALZAC
London 2012 Olympic Park
The Golden Temple
iPad winner
Stirling Prize Shortlist
2012 RIBA Lubetkin Prize
Ingfah Restaurant
Today's Tenders
San Antonio Library, Texas
Anish Kapoor exhibition
The Center for Innovation,
Today's Tenders
Olympic Opening Ceremony
Martin Luther King Junior
RIBA and Fees Bureau's
Today's Tenders
THE VIOLIN FACTORY
WALLPAPER BY DEBORAH
CLAYWORKS
Protection for heritage
WAN China
London 2012 Olympics sets
WAN AWARDS 2012 Civic
WAN AWARDS 2012
CIOB Photography
WAN Effectiveness award
Increase in Chinese
Today's Tenders
Breaking News: China
World Architecture Day
Better cities, better lives
Better cities, better lives
Natural History Museum
Better cities, better lives
Today's Tenders
WAN's top 100
Highlights from the Venice
Better cities, better lives
Senkaku & Diaoyu
Renovated synagogue, Poland
Today's Tenders
Forest Mews, Forest Hill
Interviews from La
Vallecas Housing
Will Alsop
Airbus 4D Light Show
CIOB Photography
Tottenham Rejuvenation
10x10 Drawing the City
WAN Adaptive Re-use Award
Michael Hammond podcast
Flawed construction
Sliced Porosity
Rethink Vancouver
CTBUH 2012 Shanghai 9th
The Value of Quality
Today's Tenders
Veracruz Architects
Ode À La Vie
World Architecture Day -
2012 WAN AWARDS Civic
Today's Tenders
World Architecture Day
World Architecture Day
World Architecture Day
World Architecture Day
World Architecture Day
World Architecture Day
World Architecture Day
Austerity School Plans
Highline for London
VIEW Showcase
Today's Tenders
The Architecture of James
Student Competition Winner
Flat Pack Design
Today's Tenders
2012 WAN Product of the
2012 WAN Effectiveness
WAN AWARDS 2012 Transport
STARBUCKS ESPESSO JOURNEY
WAN winners speak at WAD
Today's Tenders
Bhartiya City
Hurricane Sandy hits
10x10
WAN AWARDS 2012 Transport
Masjid an-Nabawi Mosque
New National Stadium
Mercury City
2012 WAN Urban
WAN AWARDS 2012 Urban
New skyline for Tel Aviv
Sustainability: Where are
Today's Tenders
London’s future hub
East or West?
Reader Image of the Week:
Sustainability: Where are
WAN Workspace Interiors
Sustainability: Where are
Tsunami-resistant port
INSTACON
SkyCity
Shipping Container Homes
We want your reviews!
Obituary: Oscar Niemeyer
WAN AWARDS 2012 Commercial
Report: CTV Building
Oscar Niemeyer 1907-2012
Sydney International
WAN AWARDS 2012 Adaptive
Today's Tenders
Reader Review:
Reader Review:
WAN Adaptive Re-use Award
WAN AWARDS 2012 Commercial
Season of Goodwill: The
2013 Honours List
Festina Lente
Designing for better
$11bn investment in
Today's Tenders
Ada Louise Huxtable
World Architecture Day 2013
Iceberg
Broken Bridge II
Chicago Building Fire
Experts Comment: The
Sinkhole appears in
Deal struck for promotion
2012 WAN House of the Year
WAN AWARDS 2012
WAN Sustainable Building
New City of El-Menia
Ambulance Playground
WAN AWARDS 2012
Less is More: Should
Bow Street Magistrates
Rational House
Hotel Wiesergut
The LEGO House
'Designing for Champions'
Reinvent the Payphones
361 Degrees Conference
eVolo 2013 Skyscraper
[PACIFIC] New Ocean
MIPIM Awards 2013
Steel structure shelters
Design and dementia
Shortlist announced for
Topshelf by Greyroom
Australia 108
New scandal in Chinese
Joao Havelange Stadium
40-storey hotel engulfed
Park Inn Radisson Hotel in
Penn Station
Reasons why Denise Scott
Preston Bus Station
American Folk Art Museum
2013 WAN AWARDS Education
21 for 21 Award 2013
Regent Street Windows
WAN AWARDS 2013 Education
Portland to Portland
Jan Shrem and Maria
Aga Khan Award for
Miami Beach Convention
21 for 21 Award Exhibition
Swiss report on the health
Penn Station
Breaking News
Hôpital Universitaire de
Goethean Science Building
Vertical Forest Building
CONRAN TO JUDGE WIN AWARDS
Architecture: Steiner
Container Vacation House
KONE UltraRope(TM)
Dayiwul Lirlmim
WAN AWARDS 2013 Healthcare
2013 WAN Hotel of the Year
Portland 2 Portland
CTBUH 2013: Height and
Denise Scott Brown and the
Exbury Egg
Portland 2 Portland
Israel's Architectural
Torre David
2012 London Olympic
2013 WAN Hotel of the Year
PET bottle installation
WAN AWARDS 2013 Healthcare
KGH Tower, Bahrain Bay
Towards 8 Billion: Housing
Museum for Underwater
Podcast: Portland 2
The Langham
+ Pool
Bank of England App
Portland 2 Portland
Heathrow Airport
2013 RIBA Stirling Prize
UK Airport Debate
From Elephant & Castle
Flinders Street Station
Madison Square Garden
House of Peroni
Sky City
Singapore Life Church
House of Peroni
CityVision Rio Competition
Flinders Street Station
Endless Stair, Tate Modern
Windhover Contemplative
Culture Shed
'Hyperloop'
Rebuild by Design
Hudson River Park
QueensWay
White Collar Factory and
The Langham
2017 World Expo
Nyt Hospital Nordsjælland
Open House
Ground/Work
Aga Khan Award for
Tokyo to host 2020 Summer
Southbank Centre
The SPA
Architects House Exchange
The City of Dreams
Emporis Skyscraper Award
Metropolitan Police
George Washington
Clermont Hotel and
WAD13 Evening Reception
Sagrada Familia
World Architecture Day
MAG Group Residences
The Lagoons
WAD Report: Building on
Stavros Niarchos
A Dolls' House
Tokyo Stadium comes under
WAD13: Jay Cross
WAD13: Craig Dykers
WAD13: Practical Utopias
WAD13: Yama Karim
WAD13: Waterfronts Today
Workshop: Evolutions in
WAD13 Round-up
Earl Shapiro Hall
Energy Bunker
Interview: Alex Ely
Battersea Power Station:
Sydney Architecture
New possibilities in
World Trade Center
A Dolls' House charity
University of Manitoba
10 x 10
Possible changes afoot for
Mini M
Raouche Skywalk
Expo 2020 Dubai
Outlet Village Kievsky and
Royal Adelaide Hospital
Çanakkale Antenna Tower
Iniala Beach House
National Centre for
Axel Springer Media Campus
Palace of Westminster
The best architecture
Park or parking lot?
Festive Feature - March
Kimbell Art Museum
Interview: Nico
Clearpoint Residencies
NYRP EDGE/ucation Pavilion
Inaugure Hospitality
Schüller Showroom
Park Russia
Bridge as sustainable
Alumni Hall at Vanderbilt
The Photographer's House
Demolition of American
Shard Number 3
EDITION Hotel, Times Square
Shop Talk: Will Alsop
Street Smart
Growing Underground
Showcase: Year of the Snake
Frank Lloyd Wright and the
2014 Sochi Winter Olympic
World Architecture Day
Hy-Fi, MoMA
432 Park Avenue
Designing with Nature
Reversed tributary housing
In other news...
Kiosk Exhibition
Sommelier's Home
In other news...
Nobel Center
Shop Talk: Morten Schmidt
In other news...
Shop Talk: Bob Fry
Residential property
Arbre Blanc
July 22 Memorial
WAN Survey
In other news...
Serpentine Pavilion 2014
la Biennale di Venezia:
In other news...
Ferrari Land
Review: Being an Architect
Shop Talk: Morag Morrison
Museum of Modern Art and
North West Cambridge
RIBA Shanghai Xintiandi
Battersea Power Station:
The Farrell Review
Report: Concrete Action
UK Pavilion for Milan Expo
Liverpool Flyover
3D Printed Houses
BUS:STOP Krumbach
WAD14 Editorial: Transport
Mackintosh Building,
Kaleido
Golden Lion: Phyllis
Skyscraper Competition
Cellular Tessellation
Pont des Arts
14th International
Frazer Stokes
Vitra Slide Tower
RIBA Manser Medal
Tech Focus
City Beach NYC
Sokolniki Park of Culture
Breaking News
BioCasa_82
Breaking News
Clark Art Institute
Mall of the World
Wanda Skyscraper
Nobel Qur’an Oasis
Heathrow City
Stirling Prize Shortlist
PSES Building
Heron Tower to become
WAD14 Partnership with Mr.
Lucas Museum of Narrative
Sir Richard MacCormac:
Interview: OTXOTORENA
River Champagne Bar
The Structural Awards 2014
SMALL ARCHITECTURE NOW!
RiF010 Water Sports Arena
Interview: Tomas Koolhaas
Interview: Richard Glover
Still listening after all
WAN Facade Award
Urban Shade
Guggenheim Cruise Ship
Al Maktoum International
We Are The City
AND Film Festival
Guggenheim Museum
World Architecture Day 2014
ASH
Danish Education Design
WAN Mobile
Underwood-Pavilion
Mont Tremblant Discovery
Long Museum West Bund
WAN Sustainable Building
Ledge House
Ciputra International
LEAF Awards 2014 winners
11th Street Bridge Park
Taichung Condominium Tower
RIBA international design
Technology and Design
The Architects' Ball
Wunderbugs
University of Pembangunan
Guggenheim Helsinki
Dr. Verna and Peter
Situation Room, Storefront
Yinchuan Greenland Center
Parliament - Senate -
Interview: LAVA
Richardson's Yard
Building the Essence
10x10 Drawing the City,
Léon Blum viaduct
Future Ground
Sunrise to High-Rise
'Sancaklar Mosque'
Leventis Art Gallery
Roche corporate
Super Tower
Unboxed
Lincs2Nepal
Køge North Station
Book Review: Cabins by
Oaks Prague Competition
Mesa City Center
The Attendant
Mackintosh Building,
Case Study: The Safety
Guggenheim Helsinki Design
Millharbour Village
Holiday Reading
 
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