HOW URBA CAME ABOUT
The name URBA was adopted in 2013 after the rebranding of Comrie Wilkinson (Cape) Architects and Urban Designers, established in Cape Town in 2006.
WORK ACROSS SCALES
Our urban design influences our more localised architecture and our localised architecture in turn supports our wider urban ideas. We have also benefitted from working at intermediary scales, notably on university campuses or mixed-use precincts supported by higher density housing where building and precinct merge seamlessly within a shorter space of time. We take great joy from these processes of working at multiple scales, which often engages players from outside our narrow professional domain who contribute in necessary and fresh ways. The design flux that these players provide influences outcomes and makes our work more relevant and specific to context.
Such players range from those concerned with important short term/hard issues such as cost and time constraints, to players more concerned with equally important longer term/softer issues such as the quality of shared spaces between buildings or the impact of development on unique cultural or natural landscapes.
DESIGN AS A NEGOTIATING TOOL
We have learnt that the secret towards delivering a proud urban design product often lies in a healthy level of creative compromise that negotiates between quantity and quality, between what we build now and what we leave behind. It is an engaging and mitigating process of building trust by patiently considering diverse views and then purposefully using our design and communication skills (both visual and verbal) to reconcile visions and inspire outcomes that hold wider support but isn’t dry and unimaginative.
A SEARCH FOR TIMELESS QUALITIES IN ARCHITECTURE
The reductive mode of urban design and its search for timeless qualities in the making of urban spaces has rubbed off on our architecture. Our architecture is now consistently recognised for its unpretentious application of craft using humble materials within simple, reductive envelopes and generous internal spaces infused with carefully modulated natural light.