CHANGE BY DESIGN @Venice Biennale

CHANGE BY DESIGN @Venice Biennale shot by photographer Sudhir Ramchandran
CHANGE BY DESIGN @Venice BiennaleCHANGE BY DESIGN @Venice Biennale shot by photographer Sudhir Ramchandran

Warwick triangle is an area that many of my friends had warned me about being the most dangerous part of Durban. A former policeman who had been arresting people from this district continuously, as they kept breaking the law every next day, joined an architect and decide to start an NGO to tackle the problem from a different perspective.

The NGO called AE moved into the area and closed several gaps of unfinished infrastructure by building stairs and pedestal bridges across these gaps. Gradually as the development work continued the traffic in the area began to get reorganized in such a way that there were an almost peaceful coexistence of different levels of pedestrians and motorized vehicles.

Several unexpected outcomes developed. For example, an elevated street became a portico below and certain infrastructure served both as a public space and a commercial area. Though Warwick junction is in the edge of the formal (white city) this new structural and organizational change of architecture and people brought about a positive change of energy along with the richness of diversity.

Gradually, literally and metaphorically the Warwick space became a bridge between the western and the local world.

THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE BECAME THE LIVELIEST PART OF DURBAN. Connections grew and with it isolations disappeared. Today violence and insecurities have been erased and a city of co-existence of diverse people in a safe, vital and cultural environment has emerged. For me its no wonder that this exposition at the Venice biennale has become one of the most significant talking points of the entire exhibition.

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