BArch 1963 (Witwatersrand); DipTP 1972 (Witwatersrand)
Prof Julian Cooke receives the SAIA Gold Medal Award for architecture.
Julian Cooke has made an immeasurable contribution to South African Architecture over the last fifty years. The contribution has spanned the full spectrum of the disciplinary knowledge – this has ranged from being an outstanding teacher to an acute critic, from an accomplished practitioner to a committed editor of Architecture SA.
What binds these contributions together, however, is an unalloyed sense of decency and commitment to architecture as an honorable profession which is of utmost importance in giving shape to the best aspirations of our society. It is this dedication to the art and science of architecture that has distinguished Julian’s professional life as an architect, teacher, writer and critic.
In each of these endeavors he has reached the highest levels of excellence.
As a teacher he not only made a mark as an exemplary teacher but also as an astute administrator and leader - he was head of the School of Architecture at UCT from 1990 to 1994. Also at the same time he was director of the same institution from 1991 to 1993. He retired from the University of Cape Town as an Emeritus Professor in 2000.
He was Editor of Architecture SA in the 1980s and was re-appointed Editor of the journal in 2003 to date. During these two periods he gave shape to architectural discourse in the country through incisive and thoughtful editorials which have given inspiration to generations of architects young and old. As Editor he also published important articles which covered both issues of theory as well as critical commentaries and reviews of outstanding work in the country.
In addition to these accomplishments Julian also distinguished himself as a practitioner and has been the recipient of many awards and the winner of several open architectural competitions in the country. Probably his most significant work was the Hostels upgrade program which comprised approx. 3000 units in Nyanga, Guguletu and Langa.
Although only a small portion of the project was realised at the time it is anticipated that the balance of the work will be completed shortly. This project offers a real contribution to the housing crisis in our country and has shown that in the most unforgiving and harsh environments it is possible, through good design and clear thinking, to offer people an idea of what a dignified urban living environment could be.
Congratulations on winning this prestigious award.
(SAIA facebook page)