The thesis stemmed from an interrogation into sites of urban decay, the inhabitants off such sites and the relationship between these sites and institutes of power such as government, police and legal organisations. A tension exists between such abandoned sites, the seemingly forgotten citizens who appropriate such spaces and the institutions which are supposedly meant to serve these same citizens and work to regenerate protect and repair these abandoned sites.
Being forced to utilize unofficial channels to fulfil their needs and gradually appropriating lost and abandoned sites littered within the city, the invisible migrant citizen becomes the user of invisible space. They view public spaces and institutions which are meant to serve them as hostile and confusing environments, choosing instead to confine or nucleate their living spaces with other migrants and forming informal networks.
Criticism aimed at architects has pointed out that by only providing this group of people with temporary or emergency solutions we in fact send the hidden message that they are in fact expected to leave soon and thusly do not have any stake to a permanent cultural, social and political presence within the broader narrative of the city. The migrant is citizen is a nomad, caught in a constant state of flux and limbo. Systematically misrepresented by the media, habitually ignored (if not blatantly attacked) by institutions of power and the native citizens they encounter, they are forced to inhabit sites of urban decay, which much like the migrant citizen themselves are forgotten, considered burdensome, neglected and are too caught in a state of limbo-lacking a solid identity in the broader urban context.
The project attempts to subvert the above described forces which seek to forever silence and undermine the migrant citizens’ experience and narrative within the inner city. It will attempt to address migrant citizens need for a permanent social, cultural and political presence within the broader urban narrative. It will attempt to accomplish this by utilizing one of these sites of decay and to within it, deploy an appropriate architectural intervention which addresses the placelessness, weakness and lack of permanence of both the site and migrant citizen holistically.
Mini Dissertation (MArch (Prof))--University of Pretoria, 2019.