Sustainability, one design at a time

26 July 2018 | People

With a knack for design and a goal of sustainable construction, architect Nina Maritz is inspired by the environment and culture.

“I have a fascination with space and the way people use it. Not just in buildings, but also outside. It is incredible how space can have a specific character depending on how it is put together, and how that can affect people's day-to-day lives as they use the space,” she says in an interview with Windhoek Express.

Although she only started thinking of architecture as a career in her last two years of school, she was exposed to the line of work from an early age, as both her parents were architects. “I discovered that I tend to think in 3D concepts of space, rather than in flat images, or formulas or personal relationships.”

She says that people's stories, their habits and social patterns, and then the landscape, geology, wildlife and vegetation of a site inspire her. “I like to create symbols that mirror some of the aspects of a place. Sometimes it is reflected in the form of a building, or how you move through it, or how it is constructed,” Nina says.

She recently gave a presentation at the Africa Union of Architects (AUA) Congress that was held in Mauritius. Here she spoke about the process of architectural design and how it interweaves with principles to lead to sustainable design.

“I focused on how important it is that we are aware of these sustainability principles and apply them, beyond just solar panels and alternative construction methods,” she says, adding that such principles include passive design. “This makes a building able to handle the climate without needing air-conditioning and heating, among other things.”

Maritz is known for her focus on sustainable construction. “We only have one planet that humans can live on. While we entertain ourselves in enormous shopping malls, desire status symbols like shiny offices and want to get the most fashionable bathrooms, we are actively assisting in planetary destruction through resource consumption and hastening climate change,” she explains.

According to her, research has shown that by 2030, mahango yields in north central Namibia, where people already battle not to starve, will have decreased by 50%. By the time this year's grade 1 children are in grade 12, she predicts we will have mass starvation in Namibia.

“So sustainability, not just in construction, should be a priority for everyone. As a lot of unsustainable consumption patterns and behaviour manifests itself in construction, it is a very necessary target.”

She recently finalised the Shipwreck Lodge and the photographs prove that this is a concept like no other.

She says the book Skeleton Coast by John H Marsh telling the story of the Dunedin Star shipwreck, is really haunting in how the harsh conditions affected the survivors on shore.

“The Skeleton Coast is an exceptionally beautiful environment but incredibly hostile to humans. The inspiration for the lodge was to evoke the feeling of being stranded in the desert and having to cope with the hot sun, the rasping sand and the relentless wind,” she explains her design.

Apart from the staggering distances to get to the building site, the wind was the biggest challenge, as it undermines structures all the time.

It is difficult for her to choose the design she is most proud of, “as each design is unique and has validity in its own context, but the buildings that put our work on the map are the Habitat Research and Development Centre in Windhoek and the Twyfelfontein visitor centre,” she says.

However there are many others she enjoyed creating and feels have made a great impact on the communities in which they are located and the people that use it.

“There are a few of which I am definitely not proud, but those will remain my secret,” she jokes.

Similar News

 

Staff changes at Nampol

3 weeks ago - 15 July 2020 | People

The Inspector General of the Namibian Police Force announced a number of changes of position in the force.• Deputy Commissioner Moritz Norres !Naruseb has been...

Poor countries fail to support learners at risk –...

1 month - 12 June 2020 | People

Fewer than 10% of countries have laws that help ensure full inclusion in education, according toUnesco’s 2020 Global Education Monitoring Report: Inclusion and education –...

Father, daughter moments on paper

4 months ago - 01 April 2020 | People

Windhoek • [email protected] simple these words seem, yet how deep they are! How easy it is to type something on a piece of paper for...

A lifetime for Delta

5 months ago - 21 February 2020 | People

Windhoek’s Delta Primary School (DSW) is 50 years old today. To see what happens behind the scenes at, Evelyn Rosar of the Allgemeine Zeitung accompanied...

Japie hardloop vir bejaardes

5 months ago - 17 February 2020 | People

Yolanda Nel - Fiksheidsinstrukteur Japie Greyvenstein is besig om geld vir die bejaardes van Senior Park in te samel en maak só deur aan die...

‘Nou begin die lewe eers!’

5 months ago - 11 February 2020 | People

Evelyn Rosar - Dis 08:30 en koffie en tee word by die Oude Rust-oord in Windhoek bedien. Oupa Harry gaan sit saam met die ander...

Big smiles from Godfried

8 months ago - 19 November 2019 | People

Two years have passed since Godfried Siwombe arrived at the Hollard office with hope in his eyes. He was only 7 years old when he...

Nie net sommer ‘airbrushing’ nie

8 months ago - 14 November 2019 | People

Yolanda NelEzville Husselman van Rehoboth kom uit ’n kunstige familie en nou het sy stokperdjie ’n volwaardige besigheid geword.Ezville is op Rehoboth bekend vir sy...

Bederf ’n boervrou

9 months ago - 16 October 2019 | People

Yolanda NelMiljoene dollar is reeds ingesamel om boere regoor die land by te staan gedurende die droogte wat honderde moedeloos laat. En nou is dit...

Die verhaal van Mamma Afrikaner

9 months ago - 14 October 2019 | People

Yolanda Nel Die eens kleurvolle gebou in Dolam, Katutura, kort dalk bietjie aandag maar binne skyn die harte van die mense helder. Moria Grace is...

Latest News

Nakale fun run a success

10th of August 08:22 | Sports

The seventh event in the annual Tangeni Nakale Athletics Kids Fun Run was hailed a success on Saturday morning after more than 85 kids participated.The...

‘Keep kids off the streets’...

2 days ago - 07 August 2020 | Accidents

The Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA) has urged parents and guardians to encourage their children to stay at home and off the streets while face-to-face...

Two new classroom blocks for...

2 days ago - 07 August 2020 | Education

The A.I Steenkamp Primary School in the capital received two classroom blocks worth N$1.1 million consisting of five new pre-primary classrooms and a storeroom from...

Lazarus Jacobs heads up NBC...

2 days ago - 07 August 2020 | Business

The minister of information and communication technology Peya Mushelenga announced that Cabinet endorsed the appointment of businessman Lazarus Jacobs (pictured), as the new board chair...

Virtual relay a running success

3 days ago - 06 August 2020 | Sports

A total of 348 participants, comprising 87 teams of four, took part in Bank Windhoek’s Virtual Relay last weekend.A first for Namibia, the charity-based event,...

Create your ultimate home theatre

3 days ago - 06 August 2020 | Life Style

Lockdown has caused the re-emergence of drive-in cinemas and increased the demand for at-home theatres.According to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of...

Emvula to head Ninety One

3 days ago - 06 August 2020 | Business

Ninety One (previously Investec Asset Management) announced the appointment of Eino Emvula as Managing Director for Namibia & Africa ex-SA.Emvula will join Ninety One from...

Chill with Windhoek Express

3 days ago - 06 August 2020 | Art and Entertainment

Recurring events• 08:00 The Village Farmer's Market in Liliencron Street takes place every Saturday until 12:00. Buy fresh, locally produced goods and engage in healthy...

HIV patients resume treatment ...

3 days ago - 06 August 2020 | Health

More than 4 000 Namibian HIV patients who stopped taking their antiretroviral medication have resumed treatment thanks to the United States’ food assistance program. ...

Load More