Location

Arlington, Virginia

Session Start Date

8-11-2008

Session End Date

8-16-2008

Abstract

In its accreditation of degrees, the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) requires the inclusion, in any curriculum, of 10% of total credits of what are termed complementary studies that encompass reflections upon environmental impact, legal matters, cultural heritage and design philosophies as they pertain to the engineering profession. By stipulating this inclusion ECSA acknowledges that engineering can no longer be regarded as a neutral, apolitical endeavour. This paper responds to the latter position and sets out to offer a broadening of the current scope of scholarly dialogue between a logical science and the human community which it serves. In order to do so, the authors examine the case histories of the foundations of two important radio towers in Johannesburg, South Africa, constructed during the period 1959 to 1972. The paper describes the differing geotechnical profiles of the foundations of these structures but expands upon their physical characteristics by positing the existence of shifting ideological arguments inherent in the design processes and material conditions of the buildings. The study draws on key principles of nationalism to suggest a rich and layered signification for these impressive but nonetheless quotidian outcomes of civil engineering practice.

Department(s)

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Appears In

International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering

Meeting Name

Sixth Conference

Publisher

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

8-11-2008

Document Version

Final Version

Rights

© 2008 Missouri University of Science and Technology, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

File Type

text

Language

English

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Foundations of the Nation: The Hillbrow and Brixton Towers as Figurations of National Identity in South Africa

Arlington, Virginia

In its accreditation of degrees, the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) requires the inclusion, in any curriculum, of 10% of total credits of what are termed complementary studies that encompass reflections upon environmental impact, legal matters, cultural heritage and design philosophies as they pertain to the engineering profession. By stipulating this inclusion ECSA acknowledges that engineering can no longer be regarded as a neutral, apolitical endeavour. This paper responds to the latter position and sets out to offer a broadening of the current scope of scholarly dialogue between a logical science and the human community which it serves. In order to do so, the authors examine the case histories of the foundations of two important radio towers in Johannesburg, South Africa, constructed during the period 1959 to 1972. The paper describes the differing geotechnical profiles of the foundations of these structures but expands upon their physical characteristics by positing the existence of shifting ideological arguments inherent in the design processes and material conditions of the buildings. The study draws on key principles of nationalism to suggest a rich and layered signification for these impressive but nonetheless quotidian outcomes of civil engineering practice.