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SEA and the Painted Shadow
Nicholas Coetzer
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This paper explains the ambitions of Africa’s first independent nonprofit school of architecture—the School of Explorative Architecture—in light of the decoloniality ideas that were galvanized by the Rhodes Must Fall protests at the University of Cape Town in 2015. The paper describes the School’s three modes of teaching and learning architecture, namely the thing (professional competencies of designing a building), the shadow of the thing (theorized and critical thinking around buildings and architecture), and the painted shadow of the thing (creative acts engaging architecture in ideas and critical thinking). The paper explains the nuances of teaching and learning architecture in the South African context and the importance of teaching professional competencies while surfacing ‘other’ conditions through the painted shadow. The paper ends by asking if a radical spatial alterity—the folding of the thing, the shadow, and the painted shadow into each other—is possible.

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