Category Archives: researchSPACE



With a clean-up action in the community and the set-up of a screen in partnership with Ithuba School Mzamba and the local Tavern, Shop and meeting place we created a public viewing space with neighbours.

Young, Old, South, North, Men and Women came together to enjoy amazing nights with South African movies and reflect on diverse project documentations from the past years.


photos: Hadrien Clair, Marlene Wagner


mapping the neighbourhood


Together with students and local construction team of neighbours and parents we did a collective mapping exercise around Mzamba and Port Edward. In discussion about typologies, use, built form and construction methods we investigated the area on the map and by walks and interviews.

We filtered near-by points of interest like shops, taverns, churches, rental-space and other income strategies as well as mapping homes of teachers, team and families. Amongst other things we discussed traditional materials, technical infrastructure, seating by sex in the round hut, the role of ancestors, land ownership and the so called new-style. Further we tried to sense our own experience crossing between these two neighbouring towns.

Special Thanks to Abraham Ngeleka, students from Slovenia, Bosnia, Hungary, Germany and Austria














photos: Hadrien Clair, Nina Savic, Marlene Wagner

blanca calvo_DSC_3411

parking(day) JHB 2014

Second round of park(ing)Day in Johannesburg. This years theme was about reaching out and creating a network in-between the city and modes of connecting different parts of Johannesburg.

find out more information on idea, team and participants on


The idea of the installation “Love your neighbour!” was to activate a temporary space for positive engagement. A place to celebrate diversity, love and fun – feeling light like a balloon no matter who you are, where you from and what challenges life might offer.

Park(ing) Day triggers the understanding of citizens being active designers instead of passive consumers.

By collectively shaping public space the potential of – each individual, a shared experience and a positive landmark is created for those using and making public space unconsciously and those perceiving there is no public space in Johannesburg.

The love letters to an unknown fellow citizen had an email-address to find out who received it – by now we got 8 msgs out of 146 mainly from Braamfontein but also from Parktown and one was caught it in CBD.

Team: Marlene, Delphina, Steffen, Thato, Oratile, Bronwyn











empty plates


– a solidarity and awareness campaign for all inhabitants of Johannesburg

We all want a save and clean environment but not at the cost of humanity and respect for our fellow inhabitants, neighbours, sisters, brothers, friends and family.
The idea of the EMPTY PLATE derives from the evicted traders of the streets of Johannesburg as a sign of solidarity and the demand for an inclusive city.

As a common object for the presentation of goods in the streets – mainly fruits and vegetables neatly sorted into packages, the EMPTY PLATE symbolizes
– the absents of traders in public as well as
– the empty plates at homes as a result of lost income generation and affordable food.
Only a fraction of (formalized) traders are able to go back to business thanks to the Constitutional Court Order.

The EMTPY PLATE further stands against the brutality and despotism of the executive arm during the campaign and for a respectful cooperation and togetherness – no matter of origin, social background or financial means.
The awareness campaign is driven by the demand for a more inclusive and holistic approach for positive change in Johannesburg.
For the acceptance and appreciation of different livelihoods, lifeworlds and diversity.

Join the campaign by showing your solidarity for street traders and support the demand for an inclusive city and governance.

Paste an EMPTY PLATE in public!
Hang it from your window, place it in your shop-window or business, put it in your car, fix it on a pole, hang it on your fence… – show everybody that you do care!
Support your fellow inhabitants by buying an EMPTY PLATE for 50 ZAR from us!

This campaign by concerned citizens and individuals is collaborating with the HEI Café in Braamfontein, which is supporting the Hillbrow Entrepreneurship Initiative that helps homeless people pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

Through this partnership people of different backgrounds will be involved and benefit, from the first step of creating awareness and spreading the message.
The next steps will include further support for a sustainable initiatives through crowd-funding and creative workshops.



park(ing)Day Johannesburg

Park(ing) Day – Johannesburg 2013 was the first approach to provide temporary public open space and to join the global debate from a “World Class African City” – perspective.

Creative Team : Blanca Calvo, Io Makandal, Sumayya Vally, Marlene  Wagner

supported by :, 1:1 – Agency of Engagement

To see all participants and activities CHECK OUT:




 The collective creation of space – in the form of benches and chairs to give people a reason to pause, linger and loiter !

In a DIY approach the public space is transformed into a workshop space and the active participation at the same time a gift to everyone ! The collective action creates a different space and exchange between participants not necessarily through talking as communication. Further aspect is the sustainability of these event-like intervention – to leave something behind, a layer of memory and time.



In groups participants choose out of a huge catalogue of activites and produce their own stencil. While cutting informal discussion about activities in public encourage exchange. In the next step they choose an actual location in public space. The most wanted public activity at diverse spots around corner Juta/De Beer: public braai(ing) ! (local for BBQ)

Other chosen activities: public playgrounds, public hiking, public massage, public trading, public hairsalon, public sex, public music


Which activities gernerate which audience? Who is participating in which activities? What objects in public are percieved in what way and by whom? For example the set up of a “give-away” vegetable market immediately created discussion with and participation of a different usergroup. It referred to other spaces in the city and enforced debates around the topic of streed trade.


photcredit: Blanca Calvo, Io Makandal Schiess

colors of my season installation


The spatial configuration for the Street Omens performance in public generates itself not through defined Architecture but as a carrier or medium for the program. A modular, temporary space, using natural materials evolves, grows and adapts in situ.

This process of assembling is understood as a responsive action according to program, site, symbolic production and participants.
In reminiscence to the overall topic of Land – perceived as blank and only accessible via cultivation, active development of different utilization and disclosure of time.

A Landscape or Landmark (understood as in marking or zoning) – its origin unclear (invited or invented), a scene to pause and listen, to join and define – a performed catalyst.
The generated spatial patterns and modules of cultivation and history will neither be left of destroyed but rather passed on to a defined community after the performance.


research nairobi

Typologies in transition

Readings of recurring signs and recognition value of typologies despite legal, or formal status.

Exploration of different typologies (compared to south African informal settlements) like the public viewing/play – stations scattered all over the settlements or carpenters, coffin makers and furniture production clustered along main road.


Tyres and car spares:


The word house translated into a place of living no matter if it is a freestanding house on a plot or a flat in a multistory building. The acceptance of living in a flat buildings defines urban environment.

Mathare and Kibera

social housing from the 60´s and new self build multistorey-buildings