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Igniting the Heart(h) : Resuscitating the heritage of the Melville Koppies through earth and fire craft production

Igniting the Heart(h) engages with the conservation and resuscitation of the Melville Koppies site, celebrating its ancient, richly-layered heritage with the design of a living museum: an artisanal pottery-making and iron-forging production space; crafts that are both deeply embedded in the site’s untold history.

The Melville Koppies is islanded above a sea of suburbia. The rich heritage of this nature reserve has been forgotten, along with the embedded knowledge of iron forging and pottery making. Igniting the Heart(h) aims to resuscitate the production and the ritual of these crafts, and to bring creativity, and knowledge exchange back to the Koppies, by introducing light industry to Melville and economic opportunity through artisanal craftsmanship. The design considers the ecological preservation of the site and architecturally aims to imbue the vernacular traditions, while introducing a contemporary and technologically-sustainable artisanal complex that respects the site’s layered histories.





I grew up with an artist as a mother and an environmentalist as a father, shaping me to become an artist with a keen interest in the natural world. Architecture to me, was and is the most physical and creative outlet for change. Not only does architecture sculpturally define the space we occupy on this beautiful planet, but it provides people with real, tactile opportunities to adapt, grow and live.

why did you choose to study architecture?

Mia Pulles


University of the Witwatersrand

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