Thank you to the members of the PIA for entrusting me with this new role as President of the PIA.
I regard this as an honor but also as a privilege to serve the members.
I also trust that the Covid-19 pandemic will be controlled in the coming year and that we can at least return to perhaps a new normal.
I have served as vice-president for the past two years and worked closely with the outgoing President, Isia Ortner. I got to know her well during this time and she always represented the members with the highest of professional conduct.
Her personality is quiet and reserved but she considers the challenges posed and always came up with a well thought out answer or response.
As Past-President she will continue to serve on the PIA Executive as Treasurer and her valuable insights, comments and directions will continue to be not only an invaluable contribution to the PIA but also to myself.
The new Executive also sees Gerd Bolt leaving and he has served as Treasurer / Past-President during this time. Gerd is a university colleague of mine and we completed our studies together in 1983 at University of Pretoria – his dry sense of humor and sharp wit has always remained. We often reminisce about our student days, reflecting on Boukunde, Prof. Alewyn, Swannie’s watercolours and how long is a piece of string? Nonetheless Gerd will continue serving on the Committee and we won’t lose his insights, deliberations and experience.
The Executive also consists of our CEO, Mauneen van Wyk who has the momentous task of keeping us properly informed and coordinated. She tirelessly works to serve the PIA members and remains a library archive of PIA matters. She leaves no stone unturned and continues to do so – thank you Mauneen. We also recognize your staff who work tirelessly i.e. Ishara, Marlize and Evelyn.
My congratulations to the incoming Vice-President, Claire McCusker who will also be joining us on the executive committee. Claire has a clear and present mind for precise outcomes, is patient and supplements this with good understanding of the topic and then undertakes to resolve challenges – welcome!
The committee welcomes various new members and all are most welcome to offer their undivided attention and time discussing matters which if left untouched will have a negative impact on our profession and members. At times I have become exasperated at the topics, politics and emotions but these must all be addressed in a professional format with positive outcomes. Rest assured you will not be rested for long…….. Welcome to the new committee members, Dewar van Antwerpen, Karlien Thomashoff and Marinda Bolt.
The committee also consists of highly regarded members of long standing and who continuously provide professional inputs way past the requirements to serve the members. These members are champions of the profession and serve us all without compensation or reward and we are indebted to them without knowing it. All protocol reserved thank you to Colin Scott and Faan Nel. A special “au reviour” to Faan who has unselfishly contributed to the profession over the past ± 12 years, all of which has been at a very high standard.
Our committee consists of sub-committees with various responsibilities and they are required to attend meetings, preparing reports / minutes, making decisions and advising the committee on a variety of matters. Sterling work is also recognized by Heleen, Arthur, Dries, Len, Camilo, Adriaan, Mostert, Maryke and Erna who last but not least represents us at the NDPW.
As an example of unrelenting but crucial service to our profession the late Ronald Remmers set the parameters and documentation in place for our professional indemnity policies. This was done over many years during the 1990’s and early 2000’s. This is the type of dedication with a no name work ethic that the committee members are required to do to serve the profession.
Often we are asked what does the PIA do for its members and the answers are mostly of administrative content and seemingly uninteresting but without the dedication to resolve matters as a group we won’t be able to serve ourselves better as individuals. Our functions and events with CPD courses are our highlights which are well received and attended. Nonetheless the additional highlight in the coming year will be our bi-annual merit awards programme which traditionally provides high excitement and interest. We look forward to receiving high quality projects which are meaningful, resourceful and sustainable besides being beautiful. The entries will be exhibited at Boukunde and possibly at other public facilities to maximize exposure for our entrants. Furthermore our Practical Practice Programme courses are of the highest standard and will continue to be so with excellent programmes lined up by Mauneen and her team in the new year.
We also trust that other functions in the coming year will be possible again and look forward to the President’s breakfast’s, IDEA: Design Conference, speakers forums where prominent architects can highlight their latest work and visits to particular buildings, districts or towns of architectural interest. These would include bus tours, JAM sessions and wine evenings. We are also investigating architectural movie evenings.
We also continue to liaise with the City Council regarding the administration of SDP’s, building plans and rezoning. The success of these deliberations lies in the unrelentless positioning of our case for better and efficient service from Council and we continue to work for a proper electronic submission and tracking system with more architects at Council to deal with our complicated issues. Nonetheless the past year has been the most challenging yet as their offices were closed for a long time due to the lock down. The PIA represents our members at the Tshwane Public Development Forum where we use the opportunity to state your case regarding building plans, SDP’s and all issues of Council dissatisfaction. One of our present challenges is to comment on the new Green Building local legislation.
We have had many heritage challenges during the past years and sadly we see the steady demise of historic suburbs such as Brooklyn, Arcadia, Clydesdale, Hatfield, west of the CBD and Marabastad. Shanty towns are springing up at will along old Church Street west and also between Mamelodi and Rietvlei Dam. The PIA has voiced concerns regarding the Council’s approach to heritage or lack of it which has led to many buildings demolished for no good reason and replaced with high rise flats. The historic suburbs seem to take the brunt of new aggressive rezoning and in the long term we are all the poorer for it. Nonetheless we have a heritage committee who has set a course to provide electronic documentation and a database of buildings in Tshwane considered to be of value. This is an undertaking in cooperation with the University of Pretoria and the City Council.
We have sub-committees responsible for considering and / or liaising regarding transformation, practice matters, members benefits, education (TUKS and TUT), events and marketing. These committees put in sterling work and long hours to arrange, plan, execute and then start all over again. Too much to say and not enough time…..
One of the duties of the President is to liaise with SACAP and SAIA. The PIA President is a board member of SAIA and also deliberates the massive challenges the profession faces seeking solutions and finance. We have a good working relationship with SACAP and trust this will continue in the new year with various challenges regarding a new MOU. We are concerned though with a proposed new code of conduct from SACAP and have forwarded our concerns to them awaiting reply.
Our Website will be undergoing changes and we look forward to a fresh new look and easy access in the new year.
The PIA undertakes to address all professional matters of our members in the best and most suitable manor given the context and possible outcomes. Don’t hesitate to correspond with our secretariat on any matter you may deem to be of importance and mutual benefit. We can’t resolve all matters but surely will try our best. We also urge you to grow the PIA by firstly paying subscription fees and encouraging other architects to join our membership circle.
I trust that the coming year will be less stressful and that our members’ contribution to architecture in Tshwane will be of the highest standard to which we have become accustomed. Noting that the origins of the PIA was conceived with the foresight and leadership of Norman Eaton who also laid the foundations of a modern style in Southern Africa and which is also referred to as Pretoria Regionalism as part of the Third Vernacular Style.
I sincerely trust that the PIA will continue in the proud footsteps of many excellent and celebrated architects who have preceded us.
The PIA is the members and the members is the PIA.
I therefore accept the nomination as President of the PIA.