James Brillon, third-year M.Arch student at Columbia GSAPP, speaks with South African architect Jo Noero on the occasion of his lecture at the school on October 16, 2017.
They discuss the relationship between democracy and architecture and how this is expressed in Noero’s Table House project: stacking structures that provide shack dwellers with a framework to both improve their homes and acquire skilled labor. They also consider what an architect gains from teaching, and Noero shares his advice for students:
“Go where the work is. Leave America. Leave Western Europe: they’re finished. … Africa’s population is going to double in forty years time. It’s going to be the continent of the future. That’s where you should go.”
Source by Columbia GSAPP
Heinrich Wolff from Noero Wolff Architects interviewed by Hans Ulrich Obrist at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2010. Produced by the Institute of the 21st Century with support from ForYourArt, The Kayne Foundation, Brenda R. Potter, Catharine and Jeffrey Soros
Recorded: October 1, 2010
In this recording of his lecture, Jo Noero, of the South African firm Noero Wolff Architects, presents the office’s long history of design work in the once segregated townships of South Africa, most notably the competition and multiple-award winning design for the Red Location Museum and Master Plan in New Brighton township outside Port Elizabeth. Noero discusses a series of projects that demonstrate the “commitment to making an architecture that straddles the everyday world of people in South Africa and the radical possibilities that this world of the everyday offers.” The Red Location Museum was included in The Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement, which ran from October 3 2010 to January 3, 2011.
Jo Noero founded Jo Noero Architects in Johannesburg in 1984 and has been in practice as Noero Wolff Architects (with Heinrich Wolff) since 1999 in Cape Town. The firm’s work ranges from residential houses to institutional work including law courts, churches, sport facilities, hospitals, and schools. The office’s recent projects includes the work in Red Location, which includes not only the museum, but housing, a gallery, and market; House Noero; Alfred Street Commercial Redevelopment; the Attridgeville Magistrates Court; and the Inkwenkwezi Secondary School and St. Cyprian’s School both in Cape Town.
The Architectural League’s Current Work series presents the work of significant international figures, who powerfully influence contemporary architectural practice and shape the future of the built environment.
Jo Noero formed Noero Architects in Johannesburg in 1984. The practice has offices in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Noero is outspoken on maintaining local expertise and using good design to empower individuals in their environment. He has been the recipient of local and international awards, including the Lubetkin Prize from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2006, the Ralph Erskine Prize from the Nordic Association of Architects in 1993, and the Gold Medal for Architecture from the South African Institute of Architects in 2010. Noero’s work has been exhibited at MoMA, the Venice Biennale, the Sao Paolo Biennale, the Singapore Biennale and the National Gallery of Art in Cape Town.
Noero has designed and built over 200 projects and has combined a professional career with an academic one, lecturing both locally and internationally. Noero was the Director of the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Cape Town from 2000 to 2005. He has been a tenured professor at that institution from 2000 to 2015. He has also held the Pietro Belluschi Visiting Professorship of Design at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon, and the Ruth and Norman Moore Professorship of Architecture and Director of Graduate Studies at Washington University, St Louis. He is an International Fellow of RIBA, a Fellow of the Academy of Science of South Africa and is an Alumnus of the Salzburg Seminar.
Organized by Columbia GSAPP.