Second exhibition for NMMU first-year architecture students

APRIL 7, 2016

Such is the calibre of work by Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s first-year architecture students that they will be participating in their second exhibition in a month.

Saturday (9 April) sees the launch of their latest exhibition, “An interpretation of invisible cities by Italo Calvino”, which runs at Port Elizabeth’s Alliance Francaise until May 6. It features a selection of hand-made collages, which bring to life the imaginary cities described by Italian writer Italo Calvino in his book “Invisible Cities”. 

This exhibition opens just weeks after another NMMU first-year exhibition “Palladio and the Modern”, which runs until April 28 at “The architect pop up gallery” at the Cape Institute for Architecture (Cifa) in Cape Town.

The Cape Town exhibition, which showcases 432 exhibition pieces – consisting of 288 drawings and 144 models from first-year students in 2013, 2014 and 2015 – includes reproductions of 36 villas by Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, who lived in the 1500s, and 36 houses by architects from the 20th and 21st centuries. The exhibition will move to Bloemfontein in June and then Johannesburg in August.

The collages in the Port Elizabeth exhibition were created by first-year students this year and in 2015, during the course of their lectures in design and architectural presentation technique, taught by lecturers Ernst Struwig and Dr Magda Minguzzi.

“Every hand-made collage is a personal interpretation of one of the imaginary cities described by Calvino in ‘Invisible Cities’, probably one of the most quoted books by architects and urban designers,” said Minguzzi.

“The exhibition will present to the public an incredible variety of expressions, richness of messages and reflections about the urban space which the young generation has been exposed to.”

Minguzzi said Alliance Francaise director Charlotte Jarnet, while attending an architectural department exhibition earlier this year, had been impressed by how “colourful and fresh” the first year collages were – and an invitation to exhibit had followed.

“Our first-year students are really great. Perhaps it’s because they arrive fresh from high school, but they are so enthusiastic and so engaged with the projects we give them. They are really serious about the discipline of architecture.”

Minguzzi said the exhibitions would not have been possible without the support of the School of Architecture’s Head of Department Boban Varghese and Director Nicola Darke. “They are always behind us and support the organisation of the events.”

She said second and third-year architecture students were also being given opportunities to showcase their skills: Second-year students will be creating a sculpture at this year’s AfrikaBurn Festival in the Karoo, starting April 25, while the third year students are participating in a number of student competitions.

“An interpretation of invisible cities by Italo Calvino” exhibition will be launched at 12pm on April 9 at Alliance Française, 17 Mackay Street, Richmond Hill.