The Architectural Others
Thirty-four-year-old Papama Mnqandi, a Sacap-registered architectural technologist and arts innovator, strives to bring sustainable principles of building closer to ordinary people in the townships, peri-urban and rural areas, so everyone could have compliant and properly built homes they could be proud of for many years to come. After an internship at a green building practice in Cape Town, Mnqandi, a graduate of Nelson Mandela University, yearned to apply the principles of sustainable building practices in the Eastern Cape, his home province. So he moved back and first worked in the public sector, where he got to understand infrastructural and socio-economic challenges facing the province. He is now based in East London, where he runs a social enterprise called The Architectural Others (TAO) under mentorship and enterprise development at NN Architects, a much more established firm in the city. TAO adopts a social entrepreneurship outlook to service previously shunned communities. “Architecture is, in essence, an urban thing. I seek to give it a rural and peri-urban agenda through social entrepreneurship and to fight moisture damage in poorly planned houses which wastes people’s money,” he says. Overall, his social entrepreneurship outlook seeks to cleanse the stain of apartheid buildings.