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The Archive of Silences: Redistributing Archival Power through Phygital Spaces in Pretoria

Using Marabastad as a tester site, the Archive of Silence(s) looks to decentralize and redistribute archival power from the biased National Archives of South Africa to South African communities, allowing them to record their silenced histories.
Following the state’s attempts to rid Pretoria of townships in 2023, the frequent demolitions and the subsequent soil erosion have seen Marabastad develop into a dust wasteland stripped of its heritage by the year 2045.
The remaining residents begin to build the Archive of SIlence(s) using a robotic arm, cotton canvas, steel and artifact-embedded concrete-methylcellulose panels in a process that subverts the discriminatory archival system practiced at the National Archives.
The archive is built to describe chosen community narratives using artifacts of memory and is designed to decay and be rebuilt after every twenty years to grant future generations the opportunity to spatially reconstruct history as a manifesto for their future.





My selection of architecture as a career choice was deeply influenced by my father who was a contractor and exposed me to the profession. Since then I have always been fascinated by how creative ideas materialized into physical spaces and how these spaces frame and remember experiences while also sustaining cultures, traditions and identities. This fascination then developed into a passion for storytelling through space making. A passion which I continue to nurture by implementing spatial narratives and meaning-making into my work. It has also propelled me to explore the contact zones between architecture and disciplines such as digital art, film-making and fourth industrial revolution advancements.

why did you choose to study architecture?

Titus Shitaatala


University of Johannesburg

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