Meet an Emerging South African Creative Known for His Bold Blend of Art and Architecture

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By Design Indaba / Published by Dwell
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Cape Town–based architect Jaun van Wyk wants to restore architecture to an art form.

Jaun van Wyk, a young architect based in Cape Town, transcends the normal duties of an architect by exploring and evolving art, architecture, and creativity.

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According to his website, Jaun van Wyk "aims not to alter architecture as such, but to reinstate his role as the creative individual by undermining and exploding tedious positions and notions in the creative field of architecture."

For van Wyk, architecture is a rigorous process filled with old school methodology. "Architecture today," he notes, "merely mimics the formulas of textbook design." He believes this archaic attitude toward the construction of buildings and spaces that fill our daily movements inhibits progress.

See Design Indaba's full collection of featured South African creatives here.

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Regent Road Parklet, Cape Town, South Africa, 2015

Van Wyk's view of architecture as an art form relies heavily on the perspective that it "must acknowledge notions of history and theory, criticism of architecture, and urbanism."

He wants to restore the architect as an artist, and prevent the field from crystalizing into the "monotonous standardized industry it is transforming into.”

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"Violence: A Retrospective," Installation and exhibition, Gallery on Leviseur, Bloemfontein, South Africa, 2015

Establishing oneself as an authoritative voice on creativity, especially at such a young age, comes through dedication. Van Wyk has produced valued work in photography, visual art, and design.

He has collaborated with practices across the world, including Studio Odile Decq and Gallery Polaris in France, and the Southern California Institute of Architecture, which helped shape his global view. Van Wyk was also instrumental in the development and transformation of the very popular Maboneng Precinct in Johannesburg.

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Van Wyk has held numerous exhibitions to showcase his art and design, encompassing his architectural work, photography, industrial design, and even light installations. These include a unique spatial experience installation at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and a conceptual photographic exhibition called “The Aesthetics of Violence," which expressed the violent realities faced in South Africa.

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Center for violence prevention and reconciliation, Cape Town, South Africa, 2014

His Javelot series, a two-part concept, is a light source for interiors and exteriors. It was designed for MACRO (Rome’s Museum of Contemporary Art) and created by Studio ODBC in Paris.

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His research goes beyond a visual aesthetic. Van Wyk has established himself as a creative writer within the field of architecture. He has published various pieces, including a collaborative piece with Russian architect Inara Nevskaya, titled, "Reconfiguring and Reconstructing Lost Urban Spaces by Means of Extrapolation," published in the architectural magazine Volume.