Durban, South Africa

Proud Heritage Clothing Campus

The incestuous relationship between fashion, music and architecture in the form of pop music videos, forms the cultural context for the Proud Heritage Clothing Campus, situated in Briardene, Durban, a landscape of otherwise neglected industrial character.

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In a world where "hip-hop", "surf" and "alternative" are well understood lifestyle genres regardless of geography, the omnipotence of media such as MTV dispense a constant reinforcement of the aesthetics of youth culture, but with subtle pilfering of ideas here and there.

This reinforcement of what constitutes the new and cool, is largely supported by the virtual architecture of music videos, a fertile area of investigation into form, fabric and fashion.

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Site Plan showing people versus goods circulation movements

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As in many countries, South Africa’s apparel industry has suffered an upheaval recently as a result of the rise of China as a more competitive supplier of textiles and manufactured goods. It is within this context, that the main tenant of the Proud Heritage Campus, has secured supply contracts from the major chains via a new model of supply. Design is done locally, but apparel is manufactured in China, then shipped to Durban, repackaged and dispatched to the national retail chains.

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While the manufacture is currently happening off shore, a reversal of fortunes in the currency could easily precipitate the need for local manufacture again, thus the building had to be more flexible than a mere warehouse. It had to be a well ventilated, well-lit, humane and inspiring place of work, with the possibility of sub-division should the client need to scale down.

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The arrival experience is celebrated with a pedestrian ramp under a diaphanous portico

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The canteen is both a general meeting space and place for workers to refuel

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Natural light abounds in this creative workspace.

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Seniorn Designer carioles within the Homewares Design Department

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A subtle level change in the design studio floor-plate creates interest and hierarchy

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The Homewares Department Balcony overlooks the visitor arrival area

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The Babapapa Wall encloses the reception area and visitor toilets while the roof oversails at a higher level giving natural daylight to the reception below.

Photography:

David Southwood

Angela Buckland

Sean Lorens

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