Kate Harris: Areia

Kate Harris

I am a Masters Graduate at the University of Johannesburg. (UJ) 

I am a born and bred South African and I hail from Alberton, a small town South of Johannesburg. 

I am interested in Geography, Mechanics, Performance, interactive landscapes and responsive Architecture.

I now work at Paragon Architects in Johannesburg and am broadening my technical knowledge-base. 

Areia: The Institute of Cape Verdean Geomorphology 

This thesis is an attempt to combine my interests in poetry, performance, language and history with one of the world’s most interesting geological landscapes, Cape Verde. The Institute occupies two dispersed sites: its main ‘wing’ being located slightly off-shore from the capital city, Praia on the abandoned leper island; Ilheu de Santa Maria. The second wing of the institute exists on Pico do Fogo, the last remaining active volcanic island of the Cape Verde Archipelago. At a programmatic level, the institute collects data, records the earth’s seismic movements, analyse shifts and anomalies in the behaviour of the surface of the earth with the use of giant probes which monitor the geological phenomena. Its spatial, material and techtonictectonic vocabulary will be drawn from its location, both in material and cultural terms. The building and its landscape sit in a delicate, rich relationship to each other; respectful, mutually dependent and creatively intertwined. The seismic shifts on Fogo become etched into the landscape and mechanics of the Institute becoming a morphing, live new surface.

The Institute of Geomorphology exists in-between wound and scar, scar and steel, steel and touch. It explores what might be described as the phantom pains of a landscape and culture in the era of mechanical control and rigor.