Architecture-Students-Design-Canopy-Structures
First year Architecture students with canopy structures they built.

First year Architecture students recently designed and built canopy structures to accommodate three people – a task that was part of their first building project for the year.

The students were divided into seven teams with each team tasked to construct a canopy.

Materials used included masonite board, electrical trunking, glue, a waterproof membrane, nylon rope and fixings.

The students were required to build the structures on the Howard College campus lawns where they were tested for durability against weather conditions during a 24-hour period.

Architecture lecturer Mrs Bridget Horner said: ‘Through this process, the students learn about the nature of materials and what they can and cannot do. They worked individually to develop ideas, first with a 1:10 model and later co-designed a shelter and built it 1:1.

‘This is a build on from their previous project on creating an overnight stay in a termite mound or baobab tree. All the projects thus far have dealt with body proportions and designing for people with a survivalist twist!’

Student Ms Samukelisiwe Shezi said: ‘I was in a team of eight which at times was challenging because there were conflicting ideas on how to build the structure. But we managed to work together and the project really clarified how important it is to design and build correctly, especially since the canopy had to withstand the elements.’

Said student Mr Siyabonga Sibisi: ‘It took us two weeks to conceptualise the project and three hours to assemble the canopy on site. It was a great learning experience for all of us because we developed new skills.’

Interim Dean for the School of Built Environment and Development Studies Professor Ernest Khalema was impressed with the design of the canopy structures. ‘Each of these designs shows the hard work put into it by the students. They should consider linking with other Disciplines within the School to create collaborative projects.’

President of the KwaZulu-Natal Institute for Architecture (KZNIA) Mr Kevin Bingham also attended the canopy structure showcase. He commended the students on their designs and their choice of architecture as a career.

Advising the students, Bingham said: ‘It’s a long hard journey to become an architect but it is rewarding. The best architects come from UKZN because they are equipped with the necessary skills to conceptualise and design structures. Your limits will be tested but remember to keep that passion alive.’

Melissa Mungroo