ECIA rebrands to align with the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA)

BY NEILL KIEVIT - NOVEMBER 23, 2015

The East Cape Institute of Architects (ECIA) is once again honoured to feature in the 83nd Edition of the Business Link magazine and are proud to be associated with Ricochet Publishing.

2015 has been a significant year for our Regional Institute of Architects and we are proud to announce that we are now called the: Eastern Cape Region of the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA).

The adjustment of our nomenclature is particularly meaningful in that it represents a new constitutional relationship with our National Body (SAIA). I liken this constitutional reform to a process where the regions have been ‘grafted back’ into our parent body. 

So what does this mean to members of the Regional Institute and equally important, what does this mean for the Clients of Architects who are Regional Members? Simply stated, Professionals can now access a significant resource pool that will hone our skills and enable practitioners in turn to add more value to their Clients.

Whilst we are the second oldest Regional Institute with a long and proud History, the Eastern Cape is also one of the smallest of the 11 official regions. Our current membership of some 80 Professional Architects represents 70% of all registered Architects within our geographic region.

At the same time, as we are actively running our own programmes, our funding is governed by numbers and when compared to our well-endowed sister regions like Gauteng and the Western Cape, we are unashamedly poorer. Whilst we might be poorer in rand terms, our sense of Architectural community knits our dedicated band of volunteers into a group that is programme/output driven. The new alignment grants all regions access to an expanded knowledge resource with a more equitable sharing of the national budget.

This now provides a platform to launch our new logo that is more representative of the constitutional reforms. We have boldly adopted the National SAIA emblem as a statement of the ‘renewal of vows’ with our parent body. This is the 1st public launch of our new branding, so watch this space for more activity…

One of our premier events is the Biennial Awards Dinner where we recognise and celebrate the excellent work of local Architects. We received a bumper submission of 20 entries for the September 2015 Regional Awards cycle, including two publications. Whilst the scope and typology of the projects were diverse, the jury awarded a total of eight projects with regional merit awards at our prestigious gala dinner.

These projects will now go forward to a national round of adjudication and stand as a proud testimony of a significant body of work from the Eastern Cape. I have long campaigned for local architects to stop being so parochial. The aggregated construction value of the twenty projects that were submitted was in excess of R700 million rand – ex VAT. This represents a significant regional investment and I trust (in hope), that the 2017 awards submissions are equally, if not more, bountiful.

Whilst the awards recognise and celebrates the excellent work done by local architects, in no way should it diminish the value and significance of small projects with modest budgets. I need to caution my fellow Architects that we don’t misplace our humanity in our quest for stardom and status.

Our craft is sometimes stealthy, and the ink on our drawing paper is NOT the representation of the value we bring to a project - contrary to the misguided and oft quoted opinion of some clients.

The famous British statesman, Sir Winston Churchill provided this compact and powerful insight into the significance of structure and space: “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”

And as true as that might be, the protagonist in the theatre of life is not only the bricks, mortar and beams. 

The Architect Denise Scott Brown, somewhat less famous than her post-modernist husband (Venturi), so aptly pronounced that: “Architects can’t force people to connect, it can only plan the crossing points, remove barriers, and make the meeting places useful and attractive.”

Humanity provides meaning and significance to that which it occupies. Architects dare not forget whom we serve in the act of crafting fine space and structure.  

Trust me... I’m an Architect!

 

Photo caption: Neill Kievit, President of SAIA Eastern Cape region