Start main page content

From Small to Extra Large, architecture across scales  

- Wits University

Leading local and international architecture professionals will delve into the challenge of ‘scale’ at this year’s AZA16 conference.

The School of Architecture and Planning and the South African Institute of Architecture will co-host the AZA16 conference, one of the most exciting events on the architecture calendar.

In its sixth year, the AZA16 architecture and design conference and festival brings together leading local and international architecture professionals. This year the conference will showcase six international and 20 local speakers, creative activities, exhibitions and informal presentations.

Themed, SCALE, the 2016 conference, which will be held at the Oppenheimer Life Sciences Building, Braamfontein Campus East from 1-3 September 2016, reflects recent critical thinking on the role of architecture. The conference will include masterclasses, workshops and presentations to address all points of scale. Full Programme.

 “The AZA16 theme, ‘SCALE’, will explore ratio and proportion in design,” says Daniel van der Merwe, past President of the Gauteng Institute for Architecture (GIfA) and architect at PPC.

“The conference will examine how architects and other designers work with both ‘bigness’ and ‘smallness’ across disciplines. We will show how architects can work across all manners of different scales, incorporating both micro and macro scale into design. The Wits Johannesburg campus, as the venue, allows for a fantastic array of SCALE elements to be incorporated into the programme,” he adds.

According to Hannah le Roux, Director of the Architecture Programme at Wits, the concept of scale is not limited to planning, urban design or architecture, as it overcomes these borders

“In the last century of practice, different scales have increasingly fallen into different professional camps, but AZA16 proposes that architects critically contest those divisions in the global 21st century. We are now recognising the interdependence of scales, whether in terms of physics, ecology or transnational cultural manifestations. In reality, scale is collapsing, making the nano to the global, and beyond, more knowable to all,” says Le Roux.

Keynote speakers will include experts from both South Africa and abroad, such as Stanley Saitowitz, Emeritus Professor of Architecture at the University of California in Berkeley, Baerbel Mueller from the University of Applied Arts Vienna, Taffy Adler from Wits, Joachim Declerck from Architecture Workroom Brussels, Allan Schwarz from Mezimbite Forest Centre in Mozambique amongst many other speakers.

Le Roux, says that Wits is proud to be hosting the AZA16 Conference.

“We are very glad to host this most important event in the calendar of the architects’ community on our campus: in the neo-Classical, modern and contemporary spaces that frame our studies, our relationships and our events. These are spaces with nooks and galleries, with thresholds to the city and with links to global networks. Wits is proud to have taught aspirant architects this simple and profound skill for the last 95 years. Over the AZA16 conference we hope to use these spaces in the best possible ways to learn from other architects and spatial practitioners.”

The First Year Student Traveling Exhibition of the School of Architecture of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University , titled PALLADIO AND THE MODERN, which is also part of the conference opens tonight, Wednesday 31 August 2016 at 18:00 in the foyer of the John Moffat Building, Braamfontein  Campus East.

For more information visit For bookings visit