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Don’t Get Knocked Out of the Ring: Reinvent Yourself and Your Community

Bob van Bebber is a Director at Boogertman + Partners Architects and overall winner of the 2019 SA Professional Services Awards. We explore his background; challenges and solutions for businesses, the built environment and cities; legislation he would change if he had a magic wand; his definition of a ‘Smart City’; how to make cities more inclusive; his hope for future cities and words of encouragement.

Key Takeaways

Bob’s background and projects

  • MTN head offices & Soccer City revamp.
  • Office blocks in Sandon for EY, Werkmans, Discovery’s new Head Office.
  • Bob explains more.

Challenges for built environment and ways to overcome them

  • Built environment has very little work out there.
  • Will you continue to work as before, doing the same things?
  • One must look for other opportunities where one can find work.
  • Use your design-thinking skills to solve problems and find solutions that might not be traditional architecture or interior design.
  • Bob explains opportunities that Boogertman + Partners are looking at to stay innovative relevant such as FuturePart.

Challenges for cities and ways to overcome them

  • Bob hopes that cities will change and not go back to how things were before.
  • There are opportunities to apply pressure to change legislation.
  • More focus on local than international, focusing on one’s own neighborhood.
  • Densification will continue, putting more and more pressure on city services.
  • Infrastructure is under pressure and access to sewerage, water, power, etc. that cities will battle with.
  • Concerned about health and how we create better cities.
  • More inclusive and connected cities.
  • Let’s close some streets and force cars out. Only allow public transport and make it accessible to people?
  • Bob mentions an example in Kigali, Rwanda.
  • We must find ways for the taxi industry to thrive.
  • Let’s clean our cities on a regular basis! We might have fewer health issues and more pride in our cities.
  • We won’t solve all our city problems from having a health crisis.

Legislation Bob would change if he had a magic wand

  • On the issue of sustainability and green building. It leads to many issues like fresh air, access to green spaces, natural light, less reliance on fossil fuels using solar energy, natural ventilation.
  • Need to go back to existing building stock and fix the issues they have.

Will rapid urbanisation carry on at the same pace?

  • Rate will probably continue as people search for better opportunities for work and education.
  • Our offices may need to be de-densified in the immediate and near future.
  • Many business are going under due to lack of access, Bob explains why.
  • Part of our cities can fall apart because there is no trade.
  • The ‘best of both’ situations have consequences both ways.
  • Bob explains opportunities to reinvent suburbs to be more “local”
  • Bob share’s his thoughts on the future of retail?

Bob’s definition of a ‘Smart City’

  • Bob explains how a Smart City is inclusive, connected and accessible with good public transport and good & safe green spaces.
  • Let’s go back to community centers?
  • How do we bring services to the communities without them having to travel forever?

How to make cities more inclusive

  • Cities must be connected, then it can be inclusive.
  • Stop building roads!
  • Put investment into good public transport.
  • Bob shares some of his experiences.
  • Bob is not a fan of BRT.
  • Need legislation from an inclusivity point of view.
  • Affordable & social housing to be integrated into wealthier areas.

Bob’s hopes and vision for cities in 2040

  • Everyone will be more tech-savvy.
  • Bob explains how tech will be more integrated in our lives.
  • Bob hopes to see fewer cars, more public transport (free), access to good & safe green spaces.
  • Our road agencies became mobility agencies.
  • All driving electric cars with electricity produced by solar and renewable sources.
  • Hope all our buildings have rooftop gardens.
  • Fewer roads.
  • Rural areas are reinvented.
  • Train infrastructure is rolled out to include more community transport integration.

Words of encouragement

  • Keep fighting and don’t get knocked out of the ring.
  • Stay in touch with peers, keep reading, and keep drawing.
  • Inspiration exists, it just needs to find us working.
  • Find the little solution for the problem on your street.
  • Collaborate.
  • Keep investing in yourself.


About Bob van Bebber

PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENTS:
2019: SA Professional Services Awards (SAPSA): Overall Winner
2019: SA Professional Services Awards (SAPSA): Winner - Best Architect
2018: Judge: WAF: Amsterdam; Category: Future Projects; Leisure Led Developments
2017: Judge: WAF: Berlin; Category: Completed Buildings: Hotel/Leisure
2017: Speaker: GSA B+P International Lecture Series
2015: Speaker: WAF: Singapore; Johannesburg City Upgrade
2015: Judge: WAF: Singapore; INSIDE Category: Creative Re-Use
2012: Judge: WAF: Singapore; Category: Sports & Leisure
2011: Keynote Speaker: Mauritius Green Building Conference
2011: India Sustainability Design Tour
2010: India Hall of Fame Inductee
2010: Nominee: Visi Designer of the Year

PROJECT AWARDS:
WANGARI MUTA MAATHAI HOUSE, KENYA
2016: Winner: WAF; Berlin; Category: Future Cultural Buildings

BMW H/O, SOUTH AFRICA:
2016: Commendation: SAIA Corobrik Awards
2015: Merit Award: GIFA Award
2015: Winner: Refurbishments: SAPOA Award

EY H/O
2015: Shortlisted: WAF: Singapore; Category: Office Completed Building

SOCCER CITY STADIUM, SOUTH AFRICA
2012: Merit Award: SAIA
2011: Winner: Major Outdoor Grounds: International Olympics Committee
2010: Winner: Professional Services: Construction World Awards
2010: Winner: WAF: Barcelona; Category: Stadia
2010: Grand Prix Winner: Loerie Awards; Category: Communication Design & 3D Environmental Design Architecture
2010: Presidential Award: SA Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors
2010: Overall Winner: Most outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement – SAICE
2010: Overall Winner: LEAF Awards London
2010: Category Winner: Public Buildings: LEAF Awards London
2010: Category Winner: Stadia: Award for innovative excellence in Property Development
2010: Category Winner: Stadia: SAPOA
2009: Best Building Project Concrete in Architecture: Fulton Awards
2009: Commendation for Unique Design Aspects: Fulton Awards
2009: Category Winner: Sports Stadia: SA Institute for Steel Construction Awards

Source: LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/in/bob-van-bebber-930815148

About Boogertman + Partners

Boogertman + Partners is a locally and internationally acclaimed studio for architecture, interior design, urban design, and graphic design. Established in 1982, Boogertman + Partners has grown to become Africa’s largest architecture firm with offices in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Durban, and Kenya, and projects throughout Africa and the Middle East. Boogertman + Partners is led by a dynamic team of directors who share a vision for innovative and contextually responsible design. They work closely with urban designers, landscape architects, interior designers, architects, and technicians in a collaborative creative process that seeks to find holistic solutions to each individual brief. As gold founder members of the Green Building Council of South Africa, Boogertman + Partners fully support the environmentally sustainable transformation of the built environment.

Source: https://www.boogertmanandpartners.com

About FuturePart
FuturePart is a collective agency for rigorous research and experimental design thinking. With a strong focus on process and digital technology, we find meaning in the making.

Source: https://www.futurepart.co.za

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