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12 September 2018 Photo iFlaire
Architectural excellence celebrated at recent Sophia Gray lecture
Prof ‘Ora Joubert, a leading architect and academic, delivered the 30th Sophia Gray Memorial Lecture at the UFS.

A jolly kink, creative, aesthetically sensible, a dream house, welcoming, true colours, bright lights – these are some of the terms one can use to describe the work of Prof ‘Ora Joubert, leading architect, academic and former head of the UFS Department of Architecture.

A journey through time and space

She is also the 30th laureate to deliver the recent Sophia Gray Memorial Lecture on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS). The lecture was titled: La Promenade Architecturale – A journey through time and space. “The title refers to the revelatory experience of an observer who wanders on a pathway in and through architectural spaces,” said Jan Ras, lecturer in the Department of Architecture and organiser of the event. 
“As the observer tours the architectural configuration, a sequence of composed images, themes and ordering systems are revealed. This gradually unfolds as the observer moves through the spaces,” Ras said.

The lecture, which coincided with an exhibition at the Oliewenhuis Art Museum, is a highlight of the South African architectural community and celebrates outstanding practitioners and academics in architecture.

Besides the numerous design awards she received as practitioner, Prof Joubert’s work has also received critical acclaim internationally in publications from Australia, to Russia and the UK. In 2001 she was cited as one of the most esteemed architects under the age of 40 and her work was included in the 2004 Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary Architecture. She is also a well-respected academic with 34 articles published in a variety of publications.

Recognising the intelligence and ingenuity of design

Prior to the lecture, the department also presented a mini-congress, introducing the new PhD with Design programme. This programme recognises the intelligence and ingenuity of design and is aimed at, among others, younger MArch graduates who wish to explore creative research. The department envisaged that the PhD study might be practice-based for architects who wish to document and research their own work and or design-led for candidates who wish to explore a new creative project. 

Forming part of this week filled with architectural creativity was a fundraising breakfast, with contributions going to the Sophia Gray Bursary Fund. The fund is part of a greater call to alumni and friends to be actively involved in the department’s continuous development and future endeavours towards imagination, care and excellence. 

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