2610 South Architects


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WHO WE ARE

26’10 south Architects (say twenty-six ten) was named after the latitude of Johannesburg by founders Anne Graupner and Thorsten Deckler. Back in 2004 this was a clear commitment to one of the most dynamic and challenging cities in the world. Shaped by a succession of repressive regimes, we wanted to play a part in its transformation into a more democratic and humane city. Seventeen years on and 26’10 has built key infrastructure and institutional projects, over 2000 subsidized houses and has initiated a number of events, exhibitions and publications on current themes in architecture and urbanism.

 

WHAT WE DO

WHY WE DO IT

Because we know that design can make a difference. We believe that, even in the most limiting conditions, architecture can offer something magical, unexpected and generous.

HOW WE DO IT

We work at the intersection of architecture, urbanism and property. Through knowledge management in the form of research, exhibitions, teaching and training we explore the complex themes encountered through our work.

A multitude of factors determine how the spaces we create can serve people. This requires working at the detail and overall scale of projects and responding astutely to the socio-economic realities of people’s lives. Buildings are not isolated objects. Even a house in an open landscape is part of bigger systems. Sun, views, wind and topography affect and shape it. Materials, where they come from, how they age and how they are put together determine what a project costs and how it is experienced. We consider day and night and how buildings can grow and change to suit the needs of their occupants. When we design we enter into dialogue with local culture, people’s dreams and aspirations. As a society what we build reflects who we are and who we aspire to be in this world.

CORE VALUES

Make design work hard
Every design decision has to fulfill more than one thing, adding up to a clear concept that guides the making of a building. This helps us generate buy-in from all parties involved.

Suspend judgement
In order to find the most cost-effective and pragmatic solutions we go through a process of exploration in which we suspend judgement of what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. In this way we generate multiple options, allowing us to choose the best combination.

Connect people
We all need privacy and refuge, but we also have a deep need to bond with others, to form networks of support, interaction and exchange. The spaces we create inside and in-between buildings can either isolate or connect us. For each situation there is a fine balance to achieve that allows people to partake, be seen or simply observe.

Recognize the extraordinary
We are surrounded by everyday beauty. It is our greatest ambition to recognize and harness this through simple and practical means, creating moments that elevate the human experience.

Create Moments
Design can create special moments of delight, like capturing a view or a winter sunbeam. We can create a relaxed atmosphere to share a meal with friends and family or a private moment for a bath under the stars.

 

WHAT PEOPLE SAY

“26’10 is a small practice with big ideas. A small professional team with a massive desire to meet the client’s need. An architectural firm with a universal future.”
Charles Davis, director of Lufhereng Project Office

I saw 26’10 offering a fresh and innovative approach to housing and city-making. Their methodology and work is underpinned by rigorous analysis, enthusiasm and common sense and I foresee that this practice, given the opportunity, will chart new territory in the realm of affordable housing in South Africa.
Anton Golub, director BSC Projects

“I am truly proud of the work you are doing for South Africa.”
Zahira Asmal, Managing Director, THE CITY Research & Media Agency

“It is a relief for me to know that there are many other inspired and inspiring people around the globe that are identifying practical ways to change our reality. Talking and writing is easy, but doing is what promotes real change.”
Anaclaudia Rossbach, Diretoria Presidente, Interracao, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Your work is about a sustained conversation with people on the ground, you are deeply invested in the outcome of your work and deeply invested in educating professionals who will be suitably trained for this environment. This is what sets you apart from the high flying ‘parachute urbanism,’…”
Lindsay Bremner - Director of Architectural Research, University of Westminster, London

 

BIO’s

Anne Graupner (Mag.Arch UAA, Vienna Studio Zaha Hadid) is a qualified architect experienced in urban design, research and curatorial practice. She has curated several exhibitions on Johannesburg for the Sao Paulo Bienale (2003, 2005), the Architecture Centre in Vienna (2005) and most recently a travelling exhibition on the Informal Studio: Marlboro South exhibited in several African cities. With a background in restoration, Anne has produced highly detailed, low-tech façade systems for key projects built by the practice. She is the recipient of the Schütte Lühotzky Stipend for the Sans Souci Cinema Project, which won the Bauwelt Special Prize (Berlin) in 2010.

Thorsten Deckler (B.Arch Wits, Jhb) spent part of his childhood in Namibia surrounded by nature and people who could make stuff. Working on a construction site after high school inspired him to study architecture, building his first house while still at university. He spent a year as an intern at OMA in the Netherlands on projects in Europe and Asia before returning to South Africa to complete his studies. After graduating Thorsten worked as site architect on rural development projects for Peter Rich Architects, starting his own practice in 2001 and going on to found 26’10 with Anne Graupner in 2004. Thorsten is involved in concept and business development and is a popular speaker at academic, industry and public events.